“I believe you simply need to develop pictures whose aesthetics meet your sense of beauty and attach it to your personality, like your sense of humor or intellect, or compassion, or anxiety, or perversions, or whatever eats you up inside the most.”
Kir Esadov. Born in 1988, Kir Esadov is a contemporary photographer from Russia, currently based in Moscow. He studied photography at Rodchenko Art School in the Russian capital. Kir Esadov is represented by “Meglinskya Gallery” and Fotodepartment.
Kir Esadov grew up in a circus family in Moscow, surrounded by people who perceived magic as something ordinary. Over time, his photography developed into one construction of the intimate and the exposed. Indiscriminately mixing together documentary and play-like photography, Kir Esadov recreates his deeply personal microcosm, a very brutal place, sore, but still magical.
Interview with Kir Esadov
Kir, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
I was 14 years old, and three of my classmates asked me to take a shoot of them and gave me some cheap film camera. I placed them in the center of the viewfinder and pressed the button. After printing it appeared that somehow I had cut their heads off and half a man on the left. I was thinking then: Luckily I don’t want to become a photographer and will never be one.
Why did you become a photographer anyway then?
Many things led me to photography and it would be too dull to mention them all. But you know how some people say that you can become a photographer if you can’t draw; seems like I became a photographer because I have no perseverance to write. Plus I didn’t want to become a twenty year old bored alcoholic.
What does photography mean to you?
I don’t know. Media? Popular answer. It’s just a thing I did yesterday and am doing today, and I still have an interest in keep doing it.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Six years ago, I happened to be at a Mario Giacomelli exhibition and it touched me so much. Things about nothing in particular and, at the same time, about everything. Dancing priests, branches of trees, old women’s heads on a pillow – they just exist on a wall and despite of your origin and life experience they look deep inside of you, they know you, they are you. And I’ve wanted to create things, too, that make you cry in a plain sight by their force.
“Photography is not difficult – as long as you have something to say.”
What’s your favorite photography quote?
Sarah Moon said that color is pathology in photography. I remember that phrase every time magazine editors look at me as if I was a stupid animal and ask me if it was so hard to do a color feature-story.
How would you describe your photographic language?
I feel like I’m stuck in teenage age. At that point you dye you hair in pink or start to smoke ’cause your dad smokes as well, trying to discover who you really are and what your place in the world is. From time to time I read how people discuss what I am: a goth, a romantic, a dissident, a drug-addict, a magician. I still don’t know what’s true, therefore I don’t really know my visual language. Usually it seems like a young girl’s weaping, but it turns out pretty interesting – ’cause I’m a man.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
I believe you simply need to develop pictures whose aesthetics meet your sense of beauty and attach it to your personality, like your sense of humor or intellect, or compassion, or anxiety, or perversions, or whatever eats you up inside the most. As for me, during the art school time, every week my teacher used to yell at me that my aesthetics was ok, but why – why?! – did I use such pathetic visual symbols and with every notation she beat the crap out of me. I still have a little left, but I’m working on it.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work?
I waste too much time correcting tones and density of black. It isn’t noticeable through digital format, but it is important to be “right” when it comes to print the image. My few good singles were made unconsciously, while I was thinking about something else. Conceptually, at the end of my days I want to put together a series called “Dear Diary,…” with a hundred really strong singles.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
I think there is no universal path to success. You can be a douchebag with perfect sense of today’s importance or almost a saint with no understanding of composition. We’ve all seen different amazing photographers with different backgrounds, characters and knowledge. The only important thing to drive like a tank if you think your work is important. And if you are a good photographer or a mediocre one will become clear in an art history book a few generations later: It’s like lottery.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
Don’t remember who said that, but there is a good phrase that everything seeks to become music. I have many conflicting things in me, that force me to shoot this and that, then I turn on some good tune and it helps me to put together pictures.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
Nikon D80, Horseman press, hunter’s flashlights, joy and a touch of conformism.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
Shame on me, but I have none.
What photography book would you recommend?
The only book about photography I ever read was a Russian book about photographic composition five years ago. And I don’t think it would make any sense to mention it here to an international audience.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Just my basic advice: You won’t achieve anything while keep writing “fuck” at the beginning of a line. And always remember that in our job fornication, lechery and sodomy are our true friends, and avarice and conceit are our only assistants.