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Interview: Photographer Eugene Reno (Ukraine)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I was born in one of the cities on the Black Sea shore. Thanks to my parents (mother – shop assistant at the bookstore, father – electrician and music lover), I grew up as a curious child interested in both science and art. That is why I chose to study biological sciences. I have a scientific degree and more than a dozen scientific articles on ecology and ethology (behavior science). Besides photography, I am also fond of a little bit uncommon sort of art such as taxidermy and making decorative masks. Quite often I combine these hobbies with photo.

How and when did you get into photography?

At age 14, my mother gave me an excellent book on a photo of Michael Langford. And my grandfather had an old film camera; the combination of these two events generated in me an interest to photography, which has not disappeared until now.

What does photography mean to you?

Photography for me is first of all a way of self-realization and materialization of idea, as in fact are all other types of art. Simply, someone chooses music for this, someone - painting, I chose a photo. I also support the idea of Oscar Wilde that art actually creates reality, and not vice versa. That is why very often models are surprised to see themselves in my photos not as they used to see themselves in life. They look different, often more beautiful, precisely because I see them that way, thereby creating a "new alternative reality."

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

Now after many years of searching for a “favorite genre” I singled out for myself art nude and “neomythology”. I put the aestheticism on the first place. Even in the nude genre eroticism is on the second place. As a rule for me nudity is not synonymous with sexuality; it is rather a natural state of the human body.

Where do you get inspiration from?

The main source of mu inspiration is music, which I consider to be a primary art. It gives birth to images and ways of presentation in my imagination. I think it has a reason that the word “music” has common root with the word “Muse”.

Think you in advance what you want in the picture?

As a rule, I think about the idea before shooting, often even more than one month, especially if I need certain conditions / location / props. But the funny thing is that most of my best works were done spontaneously, as if by a whim or sudden I was attended by the Muse :)

Studio, on location or both?

It depends on the purpose and objectives of the shooting. But I still prefer to avoid typical studios, shoot on location with natural light.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I am not an amateur, but my commercial work is very occasional. I don’t like this division at all, because two technically related but completely different concepts are mixed: craft and art. A person who takes a photo for documents all his life is a professional paid photographer. And at the same time, many of the greatest photographers of the past called themselves amateurs. The perfect balance is to shoot as you want, and that people are ready to pay any money for it :)

What has been your most memorable session and why?

It’s hard for me to single out one kind of photo session, since all my shootings are far from boring :) However, that the first thing that comes to my mind is when a wonderful cat came to us with a model in the yacht club and gladly took part in a photo shoot and became the highlight of the frame.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

Mamiya :) But seriously, I think this is just a matter of personal choice. When I bought my first digital camera, I chose Nikon, only because of the compatibility of some lenses from analog cameras. But I’m also happy to take pictures with Canon, if such an opportunity arises. I like to work with the simplest lens Nikkor 50 / 1.8. I made a significant part of my photos with analog cameras: Zenit, Agfa, Mamiya, Rolleiflex

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

I would like to repeat the idea expressed earlier: shoot as much as you like, but so that everyone wants to buy it for any money.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I am glad that similar publications appear. They popularize photography, and I think they will inspire more than one beginner photographer.

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Olya Ivanchenko


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