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Interview: Photographer Sergey Propiyalo (Ukraine)

Can you tell us a little about you?

Greetings, My name is Sergey, I am 29 years old, I was born in the Crimea and all my life I live in Ukraine, changing cities from time to time. In addition to photography, I am interested in jurisprudence and urbanism, as well as keeping a small blog on social and political topics on my Facebook page. I have a family.

How and when did you get into photography? The first attempts to record the world around us were back in 2007–2008 with the appearance of the first digital camera in the family. More seriously and consciously I began photographing in 2009, when at my brother's wedding I met a photographer Igor Shcherbina, who fascinated me with this process and later taught the basics of this business, I am very grateful for this.

What does photography mean to you?

Photography is the way to leave something behind in this world. A trace in the history, by your leave. To draw people's attention to the beauty that surrounds them every day. That is why most of the girls in my photos are not professional models, but ordinary girls, that everyone saw on the street, but simply did not pay attention to them. Many times I heard from people the question "Where do you get such beautiful models?", But all you need to look more closely at others. Also, I rarely use the services of makeup artists and practically do not shoot in the studios - I want to see as little artificial in the frame as possible.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

It is difficult to describe your own creativity. I would formulate my style as 'minor eroticism': muted colors, little light, bright accents on a general dark background, sensual emotions of models and nakedness.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

As to portraiture and erotic shooting I would call myself an amateur who is sometimes paid for his work. There are also formats where I conduct only commercial filming - catalog filming, reportage, family and wedding filming.

Where do you get inspiration from? Probably my answer will sound banal, but everything can be a source of inspiration - movies and music, pictures and photographs of other authors, cities and people. You might see a generally accepted masterpiece and do not feel anything, but having a chance meeting or a conversation with an interesting person you get a charge of inspiration a year in advance. It is in the air, you just need to be open and attentive.

Think you in advance what you want in the picture?

Of course there is a certain picture that you think about and which you are guided by, but most times a photo session is an improvisation in which the photographer's vision, location, light and a model are mixed. I like to shoot this way more than think through all the nuances of shooting in advance. Often, I let the model go in a creative flight and just fix everything that she does.

Studio, on location or both?

I do not like studios. At the very beginning of my journey I shot only in the studio and it became boring to me. At some point, I discovered the magic of natural light and since then we have friendship. Speaking about locations I prefer apartments or hotel rooms, although sometimes there is a mood for street shooting. The main requirement is the absence of strangers who greatly interfere with the process.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

I remember almost all my shootings. There are not so many of them like other photographers may have. Many of photographers take photos in a month more than I do in a year. In addition, there is usually nothing extraordinary at the shoot. However, I can probably single out one of the filming in 2015, which I had in Kiev. In 2011, at one of the photo sites, I saw a model Roxana Konyuk and my little photographic dream was to take pictures of her. And in 2015, she wrote to me and offered to work together, and I, of course, gladly agreed. This case became for me a kind of indicator of my own development, as well as joint work in the same period of time with such models as Lee Tattar and Lada Brik.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

At the moment I use a Canon 6D camera and a Tamron 24-70 lens. This is a universal kit and I feel comfortable with it. But I remain an adherent of Nikon technology, and my favorite lens is 85 mm 1.4.

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

At the moment I am not a successful commercial photographer, so I probably won't be able to give advice on photo business. But for beginners, I have a tip - find your direction and delve into it, becoming the best in your genre. It is better to be a master in one genre than a medium in a dozen areas.

What do you think of our new magazine?

New magazines with interviews of photographers are always good. Many of us do not particularly like to talk about ourselves and rarely do this, although being interesting personalities.

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