© Copyright


This section will include the albums from the two different periods of my past as a photographer.

First period dates back to the late 70s. Here you will find the earliest and, most probably, my first photos when I was in the summer camp and was learning to take, develop and even print pictures. I am happy that my Fortune did not let me lose a box with small rolls of tightly rolled films which was always with me in the times when I was moving from one stage of my life to another, in the times of ups and downs… a precious box which treasured the silver shades of the long gone times from the life of pioneers and schoolmates.

Second period relates to the time when I was again captivated by the film photography, the time when my Hasselblad camera was my inseparable companion and I was carrying it on the streets tirelessly changing the lenses to the surprise of people passing by.

pioneer summer

Here you will find my first photographs which were taken a long time ago when I was a schoolboy, at the times when apples were sweeter and the grass greener… These pictures will take you back in time to a country, which is so different from what we see now, a country with so many different people: children and adults, boys and girls, they were sad and happy, naïve but sincere, they were not so free as we are now but very open and happy in their own way… so different from the people we see nowadays.

For me it was a period when childish games were replaced by the first humble joys and regrets of an adult life: first kisses and first losses, awkward love confessions, gentle feelings and stupid childish offences… transformation of a naïve childish friendship into a mature friendship between real men which implies responsibility. That is the reason why this album is so precious to me – not because of any great achievements in photography but because of the feeling of nostalgia for my childhood and my youth, when I was so shy to take pictures of people but after felt proud and happy to give ready pictures to my “models”.

I sincerely hope that, looking at the pictures from this album, the traveler will remember his own childhood, let it be absolutely different from mine, spent in other places with other friends. Nowadays, when we are always in a hurry and when our mind is continuously trying to control everything and not to miss anything, it is especially wonderful to indulge yourself to rest for a while, to sit back and relax, and to remember your childhood, to linger in these memories at least for a few minutes and feel some magic warmth inside which was almost forgotten but now has come back…

I would like to express my special gratitude to everyone who contributed in creation of this album: to my dad who bought me my first camera “Smena 8M” and who, after having seen my first printed pictures, bought me “Zenit E”, quite serious camera at that time; to Vladimir, a  semiprofessional photographer, who taught me different technical tricks of the manual photography, which are still helpful; to all my models who posed for me or who just got into the shot accidentally, some of them were nice and friendly and some of them weren’t; and, finally, to that wonderful time which is now gone forever but will always be alive in my first photographs as a child.

life of class 8A

My grade 8A … The last grade in school No 537 which I attended from grade 1. 1st of September – my first day at school. I remember… It was a bit gloomy but wonderful and mysterious morning. I was wearing a neat grey wool school suit. I was carrying a bouquet of fresh raspberry-red and purple asters carefully grown by my mum on our balcony. I remember the school bell ringing and us being led to different classrooms. There were no lessons that day, we just sat at the school desks for a while listening to the promises about how interesting school life is going to be and after were sent home. I remember I was even slightly upset that we did not have any lessons so I did not have a chance to get acquainted with a real school life and had to wait till tomorrow which was so far-away!

School No 537 was an ordinary district primary and secondary school where an immature boy turned into an experienced, self-reliant young man. Later I would attend another elite well-known mathematical school which also changed me a lot and prepared me to enter the next stage of my life, a school where I met other people and classmates who were so different from my former school friends. But now it’s still grade 8A with its reckless games, sincere, open-hearted and trusting classmates together with whom I was growing up and learning to see the Life around me.

I did not want this album to have too many pictures (but I’ll add some photos as soon as I have some free time). I wish these photos could evoke your own memories about the school times, first adventures and first love, joys and sorrows, obstacles and achievements.

Let your pleasant and unexpected memories come to life: it can be the taste of ink from a ball pen in your mouth during a boring lesson or a feeling of a rough chalk in your hand when you are writing on the blackboard… May these or other images of the school year come bringing nostalgia and a feeling of confidence in the future victories and achievements giving you hope for inevitable happiness.

1st Hasselblad adventures

Square. That was the time when I discovered a square which represented for me a perfect form of a frame and composition. I can admit that rectangular-shaped photographs and paintings have their own advantages. However, there is a certain magic about the square, especially if it is not simply black like an inadvertently light exposed frame or like… you know whose square I am talking about…

Choice. However, before I discovered the square thanks to Hassel (and later thanks to Rollei Rolleiflex TLR)), I had been put to many tests and had to overcome many obstacles. Hassel is a nickname for Hasselblad which, by the way, has to be earned through close friendship and I’d like to tell you in brief about this friendship. When I realized that my digital super professional Nikon would not give me what I really needed, I started to look around in search of the next step forward and, finally, choosing between Leica and Hassel, I chose the latter due to its absolutely impressive picture in the viewfinder with Zeiss glass Sonnar 180/4 CFE (which is still my favourite). A friend of mine, who had both cameras, told me I should come to his place and compare the two cameras, which will help me to make a final choice. I followed his advice. I was looking at my friend, his head and shoulders, with colourful backs of the books piled up from floor to ceiling at the background, and for the first time in my life I realized that looking at a picture through the camera could be more beautiful than looking at it with your own eyes – the picture was not just flawless and three dimensional, it was multidimensional. There was a certain magic, mesmerizing and magnetic. Thus, perfect but rangefinder Leica camera (that is a special camera structure when, unlike reflex cameras like Nikon or Hassel, you need to look through a separate “half-blind” window  regulating double images to obtain the necessary sharpness) did not have a chance. May be, my choice was also guided by the Hassel’s square frame, but I did not realize this at that time.

Heartbeat. I wasted no time to buy a brand new camera equipped with quite “boring” Planar 80/2.8 CFE (compared to the best Zeiss lenses made for Hassel) and, of course, my cherished Sonnar. I had to go to Moscow to buy the stuff as Saint-Petersburg was not technically ready for my advanced ambitions and could offer nothing but old, second-hand stuff. Before leaving Moscow, I found one more lens for Hassel – Distagon 40/4 IF CFE which impressed me. This wide-angle lens was able to include so much of a scene, which looked so natural. Thus, all my wildest dreams about having a wide-angle lens were more than fulfilled. I could feel my racing heartbeat when I was packing my staff in the shop. If only a humble boy knew that he would have possessed such a camera and what horizons would have opened for him!

Happiness. Here it is, in these simple grey cardboard boxes with blue stripes (original packaging of all V series Hassel equipment). Happiness seemed so close, I just had to to take everything from the boxes and assemble. However, as we all know, aristocratic people, high-bred animals and top notch things usually, at least in the beginning of your friendship, would demonstrate all traits of its character, especially bad ones. And only later, if you manage to become their friend and tame them, only then you can make use of all the great opportunities which they offer. I was not the exception. My new friend was aware of its worth and made me spend more than a year trying to understand its functioning. How many times Hassel confused and perplexed me! The first few films were ruined due to a wrong loading of the cassettes (I just could not load a cassette without first reading the operational manual) or due to expose to light (I don’t know why but I would forget to rewind the used film); the prism would constantly break down the diopter adjustment control settings; the lens would not go in or out. My enormous 2 months struggle with this highly advanced device was completely lost and I had to admit that I do not yet deserve this awesome camera.

Patience. In the Gospel of St. Matthew there are such words: “How hardly shall they enter into the Kingdom of God”. It’s about my case. So I decided to put Hassel aside for the time being and acquire more experience working with Nikon camera. For a year or two I had been shooting the city, people, different objects using Nikon. For the first time I bought the lamps and heads to work in the studio trying to make portraits; I used filters when taking pictures of the landscapes; I learnt to use Adobe Photoshop for colour/light corrections and a slight retouching; I was printing pictures on my Epson R1800 and  giving them as gifts. My patience and persistence produced the result – a feeling of being defeated by Hassel was replaced by creative and technical searches and discoveries, and, it won’t be an exaggeration, to say that my creative juices were overflowing. I felt myself being a professional photographer in the field of small format (the size of light-sensitive receptor (digital matrix or film) was 24x36 mm for all the cameras) who was not fond of collages or other Photoshop tricks.

Friend. Probably I should feel embarrassed as I don’t even remember when I started to work with Hassel again. I just can’t remember! I have a feeling that I never stopped taking pictures with Hassel (however, my own memories, described above, prove the contrary), that I did it even when I was a schoolboy. I feel that it is my true friend who never let me down and won’t ever do it and who sometimes knows better than me when it is time to press (or do not press, which is even more important) the shutter release button. The magic aura of this camera surrounds me and helps me, helping me so much that sometimes I don’t even feel the camera in my hands… as if Hassel and me are one single entity.

Being an aristocratic creature, Hassel might be a bit jealous towards Sinar P2 and Ebony – modern large-format cameras (constructed in the same way as cameras of the end of XIXth century) which are, to a certain extent, the highest level of photography. However, I feel so comfortable taking pictures with Hassel that I am in no hurry to explore the more advanced and larger format cameras. What is jealousy?  If it is a true friend, you can forgive much more than that!