One of the best ways to enjoy the life is to be able to seize the moment – “Capre diem”. When you feel that you live in the moment, you are alive, which is the greatest value. One of the best ways to capture this or that moment is to take pictures. And then you pick up the random photo and suddenly reflect back on the past and feelings it held. Being carried away you come to the understanding that your life is full of beautiful moments.
I already featured a story about Brad Masters – a talented surf-photographer who settled down on Bali with his beautiful family. Brad got us into specific way of capturing the reality – through his photo style, through waves, power of the ocean and surfers who learn how to dance on the water.
However, this story is about another hidden Russian talent – Alexander (*Sasha) Grebeshkov – “a social bioligist”, a photographer who is keen to show the reality as it is: with its ups and downs, unfair contradictions, social destruction and issues. However, the reality shown is also full of hope, faith and love. Sasha challenges himself to touch and display very sensitive social topics via photos that contain very strong call to action – not to be indifferent to those who might need our piece of love.
Won’t it be much easier to live a life as one of those photographers who take picture of pretty girls or glossy lifestyle only? Surely, yes. And Alexander Grebeshkov isn’t an exception, he does shoot them too and finds his own way to display beauty. However, he is driven to reveal more and achieve more in life. With every photo taken, he is keen to emphasize the scars, bleeding cuts of the society, seal and send them as a message for us. Yes, he wants to be heard, so let it be.
I can describe myself based on other person’s opinion.They say that I don’t like people, I am a cynical guy, but a pain in the neck. They say that I am an atheist who will repent of this. People think I am too picky when things come to girls. Recently they started to call me a hipster. No matter what they say I love this life as I think eventually it goes to its end. I don’t see any reason to think that something exciting is going to happen after.
My goal is to live a decent life full of various adventures and events. I want to achieve it worthy with no regrets but benefits for people around. I want to have a big family, dogs, a spacious house down by the sea or somewhere up in the mountains. I want to write a book about people’s life in the post apocalyptic world. Also it will be awesome to do something good and useful for disabled people, but unfortunately at this stage of my life I can’t see myself doing this yet because I don’t have a necessary set of organizational skills.
I like to think of what would happen with the world and how people would live in 15-20 years from now. What everyday life would be like, what values and principles would become a part of society. I wonder if those things – mostly pieces of junk – that people are keen to collect and in order to gain them they sacrifice time with families spending days and nights at work – would actually lose its value eventually. But most of all I hope that mankind would get rid of the vestiges of our past.
The main meaning of photography is to educate people, however this perspective isn’t socially demanded. If we take a look at the classical photographers we would be able to find that they were trying to do a similar thing. They were keen to seal a special, real, complete message for further generations to make people see what mistakes ancestors made. Gladly a piece of this message was somehow accepted by modern society but looking at the big picture you realise that this knowledge is insignificant in its scale. And you can’t blame photography or photographers saying that they didn’t do their work well. No, it’s not so. The society itself doesn’t want to notice and face the challenge.
Life is full of paradoxes and maybe you will be surprised but I feel inspired by the world’s imperfection.
“Art can exist only because the world is vehemently imperfect.” – Mr. Tarkovksiy used to say. As I live in Moscow with its ups and downs, contradictions and joy, it’s logical to assume that I perceive things in a certain way. The majority of people are not civilized. Take a look at how people relate to retarded or disabled human beings. Look how people behave towards children; I am not even talking about their relation to strangers or handicapped kids, but their own children. Have you noticed what the attitude is towards a woman that literally has become a market place object? I am affected by the unhealthy environment. You may say that I am being psychologically hurt by things that surround me. I can only guess what sort of stuff I would do if I was a kid of the future that Jan Fresco is telling us about. It is more likely that I wouldn’t do photography at all. And probably art in general would be accepted by the people of the future and would be seen as rock painting.
Doing my thing and being into creative and social photography actually doesn’t bring me big money but always leaves heaps of joy in my soul. However, this sort of art keeps pushing me through and be recognised by the photo community that I still can’t fully relate to and find my place in. So I can’t say that I have achieved an incredible commercial success either. Probably I haven’t found all the answers on how I can make money doing my thing yet.
I am more interested in shooting “ordinary” real girls that you can meet on the street, girls full of charisma and charm and who don’t try to act like a model. The creative process with these ladies is full of unpredictable cool moments, shots and it brings me an incredible joy. I don’t usually have certain plans about the way photo session will go, what role the model will be playing. We just agree beforehand what sort of clothes she will put on and go for a walk. Now I tend to follow the reporting way of the photo shooting. By saying this I mean that I try to capture a girl focusing on her natural beauty in the environment that surrounds her. On the one hand, it is easier as you don’t need additional attributes, but on the other hand, it’s always challenging to find a person with a rich inner charisma. The perfect outcome of the photo session is to have a shot of a girl that would make you fall in love with her. I always strive for achieving this. It’s quite similar to the feeling when you as a kid you fall in love with actresses, singers from TV screens or magazine covers.
There are no words to describe what beauty means to me. It’s a very subjective notion. some see beauty in one thing, others see it in another. Maybe we can try to define what it feels like to be attractive? Although I am not too clear about it as well. As for me beauty lies within personal charisma – in its core power and life experiences that has nothing to do with how a person looks like.
How do I define ugliness? I don’t think that it has anything to do with an anatomic pathology. I agree that some things or phenomenon can be shocking. But on the other hand, the ugliness we see with our eyes exist in people’s world, in a certain period of time and can be interpreted differently depending on the cluster or social class person belongs to. However, ugliness doesn’t exist in the animals’ world. Imagine a person crushed in a car accident, lost his leg or got burnt…Some people might say it looks ugly but pets won’t even notice a difference, they would share the same love and affection as they did before.
Loneliness is when you don’t have a love of your life or best friends around. Often people feel themselves lonely when their world or life perception differs from others. Or people just expect that their life views will be accepted by the society. However I don’t think that it’s worth a worry. If you expressed your opinion on this or that subject and others disagree with it – relax and take it easy, it’s not your problem anymore…it’s their problem. Referring to Tarkovskij again we see that he taught us to learn how to be in harmony with yourself on your own. However, it’s much easier and more pleasant to live having your soul mates by your side.
I feel like I am a social biologist, although it may sound ridiculous. I can hardly be disappointed when things go wrong, as I am sure if it didn’t work out for the first time, it’s going to work out next time. When I am shooting I am getting a high level of satisfaction and joy and I am emotionally addicted to this sort of feeling. I like watching people, their lives and behaviour.
There is not a big difference between film and digital photos in principle, especially nowadays when the quality of digital cameras is at such a high level. The opinion that those shots made with an old-school camera are of a greater quality and look more spiritual really doesn’t make sense to me. When you take a photo with your film visually it can truly give you an interesting photo experience and photos become more natural or unusual, while digital photos are able to capture the moment as it is.
Future plans… Yes, I have some. But nobody will know what they are until I make them happen. The main problem of mine is a lack of organisational skills; the main issue of modern society is a narrow ignorant outlook and stereotypical thinking which blocks from growth and progress. Unfortunately the society is paralysed with the syndrome of the office worker – you are sitting still in front of your computer the whole day and in fact you are seen to be a good hard-working person, who makes heaps of money but haven’t achieved much in real life.
My life motto goes as “Luck comes to a person who is working hard. The future is in YOUR hands only.”