My youth shaped my journey, as it does for many. Born in the USSR, my childhood was filled with love, discovery and adventure. However, I felt like a foreigner in my native land. The culture was oppressive and I didn’t fit the traditional mold. Exacerbating the sense of the outsider were many serious health issues, which led my overprotective parents to ostracize me from ordinary activities. I compensated by acquiring a taste for isolation to fill the void. These circumstances nurtured my vivid imagination and a sense of rebellion against all of the restrictions.
Eventually, my family transplanted to America. The new land seemed to offer endless possibilities, but had a dystopian beginning. My parents divorced and my grandfather killed himself. I went from being the precious son in a bubble, to a neglected afterthought lost in the chaos of a broken family tree. I discovered freedom in this abandonment, but remained introverted and antisocial, making it difficult to connect with others and conform to social norms. The rejection fostered an identity of intruder and individualist. One made me empty while the latter made me strong. There were multiple personalities emerging designed to mask the weakness and emptiness. I perfected appeasing, placating, pretending, and charming people. Under the polished exterior, I hid the weaker version while my true-self disappeared. The act was suffocating and created an unquenched desire to be truly accepted without retribution or judgement. I felt envy and admiration for those who seemed to seamlessly succeed in this world. I grew enchanted with people‘s behaviors, mannerisms and archetypes. This fascination steered my destiny.
Third in a lineage of photographers, I embraced this art form under the tutelage of my strict uncle. The camera became an extended limb and a way to express a reflection of reality rather than risk candidly participating in it. In spite of his business oriented approach, my uncle’s photo lab planted a sacred seed of creativity. While being formally trained and amassing immeasurable experience as his apprentice, I fell in love with capturing candid moments. My fascination with freezing time and painting with light evolved into a desire to record the unfiltered purity of individual complexities. My voyeuristic nature and photography ripened to give me purpose, confidence and freedom.
Armed with years of experimenting and working with a myriad of clients, I embarked on the next phase of my journey. I started my own business, implementing photography and videography in innovative ways. It was in demand and proved very lucrative, yet there was a deep yearning to create work free from client demands and to push the boundaries of the ordinary. Many cameras and many thousands of frames later, I tuned a personal vision of authenticity that revealed unconventional beauty. Moments, poses, emotions, scenes that transcended space and time, animated my curiosity. Inspired by legends such as Jan Saudek and Dave Lachapelle, I wanted to travel beyond traditional photography and capture the juxtaposition of chaos and harmony in a single image. My lifelong search for acceptance led me to unambiguously accepting others, revere their imperfections and use my creations to emphasize unique dimensions that make a person irreplaceable. This process was a healing and powerful combination that galvanized me to re-envision the meaning of my photography paving the path to my current projects.
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