“I catch glimpses of things and free them from their everydayness by making them abstract. All I really want to say with my photographs is: ‘this is beautiful’.”
Stanislavs Olehno (born in 1990 in Riga, Latvia) is now based in Glasgow (Scotland). He’s currently studying Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art.
“I’ve been always trying to free my photography from the burden of flash. And I am indeed very proud of this clever pun.”
Interview with Stanislavs Olehno
Stanislavs, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
Provided everything is in its right place, that moment should be full of bliss and so cannot be recorded by my memory.
Why did you become a photographer?
I never really chose photography, just as I never chose to speak Latvian. The choice of language was all external factors, truly mine was only the urge to speak.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?
It is a way of making sense of the chaos in motion that surrounds me. I catch glimpses of things and free them from their everydayness by making them abstract. All I really want to say with my photographs is: ‘this is beautiful’.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
In this respect I don’t divide artist into photographers and others, just as I don’t divide people into artist and non-artist. My nan and all the drunks I’ve spoken to inspire me just as much as Josef Sudek and Fra Angelico do. All to me are examples of how others deal with the ‘misery of human condition’ and I learn as much as I can.
What’s your favorite photography quote?
Photography contains an interesting paradox, an eternity of a moment. You capture this moment, and provided it is the true one, the eternity shines through it. Andrejs Grants
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?
It is inseparable from my whole life, which I cannot describe just now for I am living in.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
I think it is much more important to actually have something to say. Then you just say it over and over again, and the voice should come along with that.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
I am seeking some kind of freedom from this medium, since photography is essentially mechanical and I rather prefer to think of art as being transcendental; and this kind of freedom can only be achieved by mastering your medium, so I’d say – confusion?
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
Same as a good human being needs, and they usually take a whole lifetime to figure out.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes? Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.
I keep coming back to Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. It’s so simple, and captivating in such an entertaining way while actually dealing with serious stuff.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
This year my main sources were Gothic cathedrals and Josquin des Pres. I’m thinking Palestrina next year.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
Apart from occasionally using 5×4, its been the same 35mm camera, same film, developer, enlarger etc. for a long while now. I don’t want to name it though, as most people I am slightly superstitious about these things.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I rarely search arty things online, as I am very lucky to have access to an amazing library. But I don’t mind killing time on tumblr, its like a junk-shop: most of it is useless but you do stumble upon something interesting every once in a while.
What photography book would you recommend?
Actually the last time I held a photography book was a year ago and that was My Own Reflection, a book I took part in making. Apart from that, my favourite book is Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
Listen to your heart.