“Reality can be manipulated in many ways; my current weapon of choice is light. I use an off-camera flash to transform moments into photographic fiction; it is my judgment on the scene and subject.”
Dina Litovsky. Born in 1979 in the Ukraine, Dina Litovsky is an emerging photographer who examines social performances and group interactions in both public and private spaces. She moved to New York in 1991. After receiving her bachelor degree in Psychology from NYU, Dina Litovsky turned to photography and has earned her MFA graduate degree in “Photography, Video & Related Media” from the School of Visual Arts, NY in 2010.
Dina Litovsky’s work has been published by a number of printed and online publications including the New York Times Style Magazine, New York Magazine, Ojo De Pez, FotoMagazin, and LPV Magazine. Honors and awards include: NPPA Best of Photojournalism Awards (2012, 1st Place, Art Of Entertainment), PX3 (2012, 2nd Place/Silver Medal), and International Photography Awards (2011, 1st Place, Culture).
“Bachelorette” – Ongoing project by Dina Litovsky
“In the last decade, the bachelorette party has become a ubiquitous rite of passage for a bride. Through this ritual, the bride-to-be is initiated into a role of a wife by her friends in a fascinating twist on traditional gender roles. The women celebrate their friend’s commitment by engaging in outwardly ‘masculine’ behavior, signifying that a woman has as much sexual freedom to lose as her partner. A ritual attempting to reinforce relationships among women is performed in a conventionally atypical female way through a night of sexual games and indulgent drinking.”
Interview with Dina Litovsky
Dina, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
After graduating with pre-med and psychology degree from NYU, I decided that med school is not for me after all and spent a couple of years doing absolutely nothing. Fortunately, my parents gave me a digital camera for my birthday and I started taking photos. A few years later I ended up in the MFA Photography program at the School of Visual Arts.
Why did you become a photographer?
It seemed natural. A happy surprise was that I could explore my interests in psychology and sociology through images.
What does photography mean to you?
It is my vehicle to ask questions, explore my immediate surroundings. It both involves and removes me from the subject; I understand things much better after I photograph them.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
Quite a few do. Bruce Gilden for the unabashed honesty of his method, Weegee for his brilliant observation of the spectacle, Richard Kalvar for his wry humor, Saul Leiter for his visual poetry, Jeff Wall for “Dead Soldier Talk”, Garry Winogrand for, well, just being Gary. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“To me, pictures are like blintzes – ya gotta get ’em while they’re hot.”
What’s your favorite photography quote?
“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
How would you describe your photographic language?
I love color and dramatic lighting; the subjects of my photographs are mostly women.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
Creating a style is going step by step towards a place where the visual form becomes a personally satisfying vehicle for ideas. For now, my style fits my content and I am happy with it. But I have no qualms about re-stylizing if and when my interests change.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work?
Reality can be manipulated in many ways; my current weapon of choice is light. I use an off-camera flash to transform moments into photographic fiction; it is my judgment on the scene and subject.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
It has to surprise me.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
I am an information glutton. To stay inspired I have to constantly feed myself with new, shiny tidbits, going to museums, looking at photography, reading everything from science magazines to cookbooks to Oscar Wilde, following the news and never missing Jon Stewart. Without that I get stuck.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
Nikon D3s, and a 24-70 2.8 lens.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
What photography book would you recommend?
Michael Fried’s “Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before”.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Have patience and stay inspired.