Saturday Night Conversations : Dmitry Pahomov
When you first look at his portraits, you immediately recognize the man’s talent to bring the character in focus with his subjects. But you only realize the full potential of his pictures when they continue to linger in your mind long after you have left them behind, haunting your dreams. Tonight I present to you, the fantastic portrait photographer, Dmitry Pahomov.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. About myself. I’m 24 years old russian, born in Saint Petersburg, but lived for most of my life in Latvia. Recently I moved to London and right now I’m trying to get a bit of experience and publicity on my work.
Q. How did you start with photography?
A. I have started to get interested in photography when I was in my 18-19. To be honest I was mostly interested in taking pictures of beautiful girls, but years later I got bored with it and wanted to try something different, as trying to put some theatrical feeling to my subjects. And that’s how I moved to portraiture.
Q. Your images have a classic nature to them, almost out of another time. What inspires you / drives you towards that style?
A. I’m always trying to put my models in some specific time or feeling of a moment, so that time would flow out of them, not around them. Before I realized that I really tried to avoid enclosed spaces of the studios, but now I understand that plain background is just perfect to show exactly what I want to reveal to my viewers.
Q. Why Black and White? And specially, why film?
A. I’m not strictly Black and White photographer. Color is just another tool for photographer and I don’t hesitate to use it, when I fell that my work will benefit from color. As for film vs. digital I don’t really care. I love my medium format camera and it’s standard lens, so that’s my instrument for now. Only real advantage of film is possibility to use polaroid cameras and get instant print in just a minute after taking a picture.
Q. Your portraits with female models are just spectacular. In-fact those are the ones which caught my eye first time I saw your work.There is a sense of fragility and delicate sensuality in them. When you’re photographing these women, what goes on in your mind?
A. Oh, that’s kind of intimate question you have there. Since the characters of the models are mostly inspired by myself and when I fell that I’m getting what I want to get I just fall in love with them. Seriously and deeply. I would say that it’s kind of scary and fascinating at the same time.
Q. Do you feel that you need to be emotionally connected to a individual before photographing them?
A. I’m always trying to get a little bit more info about the person I’m willing to shoot before the actual shoot, but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. If the one before my lens isn’t a professional model it doesn’t matter how good I know him or her. So the real emotional connection is going on when I have my camera in my hands and we are trying to “give birth” to the character. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s just doesn’t work.
Q. Are you currently working on any projects?
A. Right now I’m putting together my last work from Venice carnival. That was something new for me, since I really dislike to do reportage, but somehow I managed to put a tad bits of my own impressions and sensations about this event. And after that I’ll get back to portraits.
Q. One tip for young photographers out there?
A. That’s a difficult one. I’m far from being accomplished master who sees the whole picture, but constant hunger for beautiful(films, pictures, life around us, faces etc.) and life experience should get one somewhere a bit closer to understanding of his desires.
And there’s no secrets. Just watch a lot of good old movies (Tarkovsky, Godard, Almodavar, Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman) and read a lot of books (there’s to much to make even a short list, but Dostoevsky and Tolstoy can give you a really good idea how one might feel about describing personality and feelings of a person). The rest of it is just your own fantasies.