“To be fair – the technical side of my photography is not as important to me as the conceptual one. The axis of my conceptual side is just trying to be honest, to show real life.”
Oleg Koval (born 1989) is a young street photographer currently living in Lviv, Ukraine. He’s self-taught when it comes to photography.
“Street is like another dimension, another world like a big theatre of life.”
Interview with Oleg Koval
Oleg, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures out on the streets?
It was at flea market at Lodz (Poland), I had photographed deer horns and then I had some problems with its owner.
Why did you become a photographer? And why street photography?
Photography has been of great interest for me ever since I was very young. My grandfather had two soviet cameras and I liked to watch films, photos and wanted to shoot, too. I feel close to street photography because we are spending the most part of our lives out on the streets and street is like another dimension, another world like a big theatre of life. But life doesn’t end on the street, it continues in cafeterias, at work, in supermarkets etc. That’s why I’m shooting not only in the streets.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?
When you see a dream, you have no possibility to capture a moment, to take a photograph. You can only save in your memory. But you can forget this. In real life we have a nice tool to make some moments unforgettable, to share them with our friends. Any scene of our life is unique and photography allows us to show the real beauty or importance of each moment.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
William Eggleston. His point of view of everyday life and his feeling for color and form.
Valery Konevin. His ability to create own worlds, to discover things that are not visible for other people.
Stephen Shore. Great vision of things which are ordinary and boring for others.
The Documentary “The Colourful Mr. Eggleston” Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 is remarkable, as it gives a rare glimpse at William Eggleston as he is being followed by the camera while taking pictures:
Often people ask what I’m photographing, which is a hard question to answer. And the best what I’ve come up with is I just say: Life today.
What’s your favorite photography quote?
Art – you can love it and appreciate it, but you really can’t talk about it. Doesn’t make any sense.
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
I like to look closely at objects.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
Patience and not be interested only in photography, but in other art, too.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
To be fair – the technical side is not as important to me as the conceptual one. The axis of my conceptual side is just trying to be honest, to show real life.
What qualities and characteristics does a good street photographer need?
To be an invisible and communicative person at the same time.
What does a photo need to be a great street shot?
It should not humiliate anything or anyone. And you must like it without a doubt.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
It can be music, dreams, movies, or paintings.
What’s the biggest challenge shooting on the streets?
To catch the moment exactly how you see it.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
Contax G1 with 45mm lens and some point-to-shoot cameras like Yashica T, Minolta Riva etc.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I haven’t a particular favorite website. I enjoy randomly searching for articles about photography in the web.
What photography book would you recommend?
“William Eggleston’s Guide”. It can show the simplicity and beauty of ordinary things.
Have a look at the William Eggleston’s photography book “William Eggleston’s Guide”
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) street photographer?
At first, do it only for yourself. Don’t stop, when you hear people criticizing your work. I’d like to put it this way: You must be the biggest critic of yourself.