This month we are interviewing Russian photographer Dmitry Ryzhkov
TPA - Tell us a little about yourself.
How is your relationship with photography began, and how it has evolved over the years?
- My name is Dmitry Ryzhkov. I am from Russia and currently based in Moscow. I have about 30 years of experience in photography. When I was schoolboy I first become interested in photography. My father gave me his camera and I taught myself basic photography. Then I went out to take photos. My subject matter varied from nature, macro, landscape, etc, but eventually swayed towards people and capturing candid moments and this is how I began. About 8 years streetphoto still my main passion in photography.
TPA - Which photographers influenced you?
- I'm self-taught photographer. When I became interested in photography I did not know anyone from the leading street photographers of the world, I was attracted Russian artists-realists and old masters of painting. As a child I wanted to become an artist. Now I can say that Garry Winogrand, Steve McCurry, Henri Cartier-Bresson - my most favorite photographers. Over the years the list of favorite photographers has expanded. Some of these have included; Saul Leiter, Vivian Maier, W. Eugene Smith, Fan Ho, Josef Koudelka, Fred Herzog, Ernst Haas, Helen Levitt. Many of the modern day contemporaries are also very inspiring.
TPA - What do you enjoy photographing most?
- I like shot scenes with multiple visual elements that grab my attention, best shots make you stop and start it carefully considered. Best street shots usually visually clever, it can be story telling, make you wonder, happy, sad or move you in some other way. I am interested in expressions and inner world of people. I am not a big fan of geometry, excessive contrast, play of light and shadow. I just go and look, this is my method.
TPA - What is your favorite time of the day photographing in the streets?
- I don't pay much attention to the time of day. Of course, it is good when we have sunny day with play of light and shadows, but Moscow is northern city and we haven't too many sunny days. But I like to shoot at night, in bad weather. Rainstorm or snowfall, strong wind etc. are events when nature itself helps the photographer to shot interesting picture, but I not worried about time of day.
TPA -I visited Russia few times and found extremely difficult doing Street Photography there.
Do you often face same challenges in your city doing photography?
- Sometimes I have problems too. In Russia most of people in streets don't like street photographers. But Moscow is open international city, many foreign and Russian tourists with cameras walking in the streets. So Moscow people calmly see to my work. True, there are aggressive men and women which are scolding to me. But I don't worry. I have never has ever gotten any serious injuries from shooting strangers in the street. In my experiences I have had only four or five rare occurrences of people getting physical with me. None of those have been serious. In the general case have to be on the alert, shoot fast and invisible to others. Smile and joke, sometimes quick feet are best weapon against aggressive people.
TPA - Imagine you have a day off and you decide to go shooting. Describe it.
- I take a backpack with cameras and lenses and go out on the street. Pull out the camera, and hang it on my chest. Here it will be a few hours until I get tired and begin to lose concentration. In a way I have few hours, from time to time to stop, for holiday or check the results of the photography, go slowly and gently, so that I can take a photo at any time. Look around, find interesting people and events. I fully concentrate on pictures at this time, my vision and reaction are exacerbated, I'm all attention. Listen to and watch, go to the noise and screams, I am looking for a crowd. This is my photography style.
TPA - What are the most essential qualities of a photographer?
- Keep shooting. See your own eyes. Believe in yourself and your sense. Do not be afraid to provoke the general trend. Street photographer's main tool are his eyes, not the camera. The eyes are related to brain, so a good education and high cultural level of the human are good help for photographer. Need right use of your equipment, you must keep training your eyes, you need to learn fast to response on events, because street events going very quickly and never repeated. Missing good shots are always disappointing.
TPA - Choose three of your photos and explain why they are special to you.
- It’s difficult to choose, because as mother or father like all their children, as I like all my pics. My photos belong to my past. I rarely think about what photo better than other ones. I go forward in my photography, I would like to take better shots today than yesterday, and better ones tomorrow than today.
Here are three photos that I have chosen, it is difficult to explain why.
TPA - In a few words what is photography for you?
- Photography is my passion, my style of life and I can not live differently. dmitryzhkov.deviantart.com/