#1 Please introduce yourself
My name is Andrey Belkov, I’m 43 years old. I was born and grew up in Russia. For the meantime I live and work in Moscow.
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
I took my first photograph when I was a child. At that time I didn’t know of course what fine art photography is. These were attempts to make photos of my family members, friends and just interesting moments of my life. Like an ordinary person I was holding a camera in my hands while travelling and going for a trip, taking pictures interesting places for a family album. Exactly at that time I learned how to develop a film and print photos in a darkroom. But in 2004, when specialized internet-resources dedicated to fine art photography started to appear, I started to be more and more absorbed by the subject. In 2005 I bought my first DSLR Canon 300D and started making test photos. With time passing, step by step that enthusiasm became a passion, taking a great part of my life.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
Unfortunately not. As my main profession I’m a specialist for corporate finance. I’m an autodidact, at the beginning I only visited a number of workshops for landscape shooting to learn how to use filters correctly, to calculate right exposure and obtain basic knowledge about composition.
#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
This list is endless. To get seriously involved in photography was caused by my acquaintance with creative work of Michael Kenna. Now in the present moment of my creative activity I’m deeply inspired by the following artists: Nadav Kander, Alexander Gronsky, Edgar Martins, Mark Power and Simon Roberts.
#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph? Are you planning every step or is it always spontaneous?
Usually there is no special preparation. Like many others, I use Google maps before to go somewhere to have a rough idea of what I will see when I arrive at the place. After everything is simple. I get into the car, fill it up with petrol, go out of town and start watching around. Any photograph, no matter what genre it is, is always spontaneous and unique. You can never plan everything beforehand. In a good photograph everything should be integrated and balanced, the light and its direction, the color, the subject etc. If I understand that I can shoot something interesting in some place, but one of the factors doesn’t let me do it at the present moment, I will keep coming back until I get those conditions, which would guarantee a totally satisfactory final result. Sometimes I should take away the garbage, “sink” in the snow, bitten by mosquitos, but it’s really worth it. To get such a photograph is a big luck, finally that aim for which you are occupied with your favorite activity.
#6 What fascinates you in places that you shoot?
Harmony. Order. Order in disorder and in chaos. Light. Color. Form. I don’t like “places”. I like what I see in them. And I’m fascinated to see something that at the end can become a photograph. No matter if it’s an open field or a city full of people and cars, the most important thing for me is to see and to capture.
#7 Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
During a several years I was doing black and white photos by Canon 5d and 5d mark2. I was completely happy with it. But when I started working with color, it suddenly became unsatisfying for me. Looking at the works by renowned photographers and understanding that they still make shoots with film camera, I also started to try this. I got it straight away why they were doing it. In its color the film was natural and alive, each film has its own «character» and I don’t know and don’t want to know how to do it in Photoshop. That is why it has been 2 years by now as I make shooting with a film Hasselblad 500CM, having on hand 3 lenses: 50, 80, 180 mm. Then I scan the film at home by Nikon 9000, but in case I need big sizes (more than 1 meter), I bring the film to a laboratory for scanning on a drum scanner. I have my works printed in the best laboratory of Moscow, only with inkjet printer, mostly Epson, on Hahnemuhle Barita paper.
#8 Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in photography?
To my mind there are only 2 possible ways: to love sincerely what you do and to aim constantly to perfection, giving a critical look at your own works. It’s difficult, but necessary.
#9 What do you do in your life besides photography?
My main activity is connected with corporate finance. I like traveling a lot, to find myself in new places, to study them.
#10 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I have only one thing in my plans – to make my best photograph J. To be serious, at present I have great interest in night shooting, in this connection I have started a new, to my mind very interesting, but technically difficult project, which totally occupies my head now.
Andrey Belkov portfolio: