Bohdan, can you share with us a bit about your background as a photographer? How did you first get interested in photography, and what path led you to specialize in editorial and fashion photography?
I was born and raised in a really small mining town in Ukraine, in an ordinary family with below-average income. Our main focus was simply to put food on the table and have enough clothing. Art and fashion were never a part of our lives. We could only catch glimpses of that world on TV, and even then, it was in a simplified way.
As for photography, it sort of happened by chance when I was 13. I was a kid who faced bullying from other children because I was different from the typical boys. I was sensitive, and I wasn't into "manly" things like playing football or getting into fights. I didn't have friends, and I tried to avoid going outside for safety reasons. Then, one day, I saw a news report on TV about artists working with "freezlight" technique, and it really impressed me. That's when I picked up a camera for the first time and started roaming the empty streets at night, surprisingly finding more safety in that nocturnal world, experimenting with light drawings.
Photography became my passionate pursuit, rapidly evolving and giving me a breath of fresh air. Soon, I shifted to taking photos of people, and this hobby earned me some respect among my peers, especially with the rise of social media where kids wanted me to take their pictures for their avatars.
When it was time to graduate from school and choose a career path, I knew photography was my calling. I couldn't see myself doing anything else, so I enrolled in the Academy of Culture and Arts, majoring in "artistic photography." During my first year there, I got to know people who ran a local fashion magazine, and they offered me a job as their photographer. That's when I got my first taste of fashion photography. It was during the time when Lady Gaga's "ARTPOP" album was released, and if you recall the prevailing aesthetics back then, you'll see how much it influenced my contemporary work.
However, on the day of my 18th birthday, war came to my city. I had to leave my hometown, the academy, and my home, embarking on a thousand-kilometer journey into adulthood, where photography became my main and only source of income.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Tense, Ethereal, Mysterious, Surreal.
Who or what inspires you?
It's hard for me to pinpoint a specific source that gives me inspiration because it's beyond my control. I guess I can say that my main source of inspiration is myself, or more accurately, all the things happening in my mind, how I react to the world around me, and the meanings I attach to people, events, and everything in my surroundings. I always want to capture this in my photography, just to find someone who sees and feels the same way I do, and not feel alone. I think I'm doing a good job at it.
With the rise of artificial intelligence and computational photography, we've seen an increasing integration of automated features and post-processing capabilities in cameras and editing software. How do you see this trend evolving, and what are your thoughts on the balance between utilizing AI for efficiency and maintaining the artistic vision and human touch in photography?
I would love to give a profound and serious answer to this question, based on my in-depth research on the topic. But to be honest, in my current life, there is no room for deep contemplation about technology. My entire experience in photography has been built on forcefully detaching myself from cultivating technology and keeping my focus solely on my emotions and experiences.
Undoubtedly, technology enables me to bring my fleeting emotions and feelings to life, but I view it merely as a tool. I can utilize neural networks for technical, mundane tasks such as text editing or creating visual references that I cannot explain in words - but that's about it.
For me, it's the perfect way of progress, allowing me to maintain a strong focus on what truly matters without getting caught up in cultivating or attempting to devalue or replace the unique human perspective, which is based on invaluable life experience.
Looking ahead, what excites you about the future of fashion photography? Are there any emerging technologies or trends that you believe will have a significant impact on the industry, and how do you plan to adapt and innovate within this evolving landscape?
Two years ago, I was really concerned that I didn't fit into the world of fashion photography at all. I thought most fashion shoots and campaigns were just trying to please the masses with their basic consumer mindset, simply showing products in a glossy light. It felt like being a photographer was becoming more about a craft rather than true creativity, in my opinion.
But now, with the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence and CGI, showcasing products has become easier, faster, and cheaper. The traditional skills of a photographer have lost some value. And thanks to this swift tech progress, I see a resurgence in the need for a unique artistic perspective, a desire to create those one-of-a-kind worlds of visual experiences. Fashion photography, to me, is once again about the creator behind it all.
I believe this trend will only grow stronger over time. Human personal experience is becoming more valuable than ever, and I plan to keep my focus solely on that.
Congratulations on the successful shoot and editorial we recently collaborated on! I'm curious to hear about your experience. What were some of the highlights or memorable moments from our project that stood out to you?
At work, I'm pretty demanding of myself and the people around me. I rarely feel satisfied with the work process and always find something that could be done better. I often have to fight for my unique vision and literally plead with people to agree with me as an artist.
Our collaborative project stood out to me because from start to finish, I could be true to myself, and I felt immense respect from every team member and editor. It's incredibly important to feel that you can be yourself, just the way you are, and that people want you for who you are, not who they think you should be. Moments like these are rare, and I value them the most.
After the shoot, when I got home, I realized that the work organization, creative process, and team communication completely matched my own standards, despite meeting everyone on the set for the first time. But somehow, we managed to be on the same wavelength. Thank you all for that!
What advice would you give to young creative talents who want to enter this world of photography and innovation?
The one and only advice I give to all aspiring artists is to be attentive to themselves, eager to explore the world around them, and sensitive to their own experiences in life. That's your authenticity, which the world desperately needs. Give yourself to it.
Interview by @giorgia_imbrenda
Photographer : @bohdanovbo
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