Today we are bringing you a whimsical world of Oleg Oprisco‘s fine art photography. The depth of Oleg’s work and the idea behind each, thoughtful shot prompted me to share his creations with you. I reached out to him with multiple questions and he gladly agreed to share his knowledge with the readers of Photography Life. Oleg teaches multiple workshops every year and is a great educator. He promised to appear in Photography Life more to share tips about his line of photography and if you have any questions for Oleg, leave them in the comment section below.
Tell me a little about yourself, your childhood, where you live and how you started in the craft of photography?
Hi there! Everything started when I was sixteen and got a job at a photolab in a little city called Lvov, located in western Ukraine. During my three years of working at the lab, I mastered all the stages of printing film and digital photography, and all the peculiarities of working with color.
As a lab operator, I got a chance to view and adjust the color of several thousand images a day. I can’t even count the number of weddings, house warming parties, birthdays and other holidays I have visited through sorting those images. Respectively, I started to gain an understanding of which images and poses were most liked by customers. By and large, I still use this information as a reference in my work.
When I outgrew the photo lab, I moved to Kiev, where through some friends I tried my hand on commercial photography. I found that I quickly got tired of the routine. Luckily, right about that time I got my hands on a medium format film camera called Kiev 6C. Perhaps it was then, in 2009, I found a direction, in which I work to this day.
What type of photography do you do and where do you get the inspiration for your work?
I am a fine art photographer and each of my photos is a scene from real life. That is the perfect source of inspiration for me as there is so much beauty in our everyday life. Perhaps, what inspires me is what you see on your way to work. Observing the world around me inspires my next photograph. Of course there are my own changes that I add to the reality, such as characters, props, location, and light… However, I am constantly involved in a search for inspiration and ideas.
We hear the challenges of not being able to earn enough money while being photographers. Is it easy to be a photographer in Russia? What kind of obstacles do you run into?
No one really helps you grow (as an artist) in Russia, no one teaches you, but at the same time no one interferes with you work 🙂 The overall problem of artistic education of the populous exists, which makes it very hard to make a living as an artist. To my advantage, my main costumers are all abroad and I am not deeply effected by the above-mentioned constrain.
Although I believe that the situation is gradually improving. I’ve been witnessing that the bigger cities are attracting prominent authors/photographers with their workshops and those cities host the best musicians of the planet for the enjoyment of its citizens.
Right now though, I am more comfortable living in Odessa (Ukraine). I like this place, because it is warm and close to water. But regular trips to Russia are becoming the trend for me.
Do you think talent for photography is something a person is born with?
Innate talent is just a 5% of someone’s success rate. 95% of it is hard work. The main enemy of any photographer is laziness. Everyone finds a thousand excuses why things around them are not right, photos are not great, no customers, and if there are customers – they are very bad. It is very important to analyze everything all that has been done; note the successful moments, eliminate errors and shoot, shoot, shoot. Ongoing analysis, clear creative plans and regular practice will help one feel his/her strengths and gradually progress.
As soon as the feeling of progressing and belief in success develops, your mind will instantly sparkle with a unique recipe of how to make a complex and interesting frame.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing what you do?
In my line of work, it is often challenging to find something new. Be it new stories or new experiences. The viewer is very demanding and constantly wants to be surprised. In photography, this discovering process is the most difficult and at the same time the most interesting part of the craft.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Each frame has distractions like dust and scratches and each frame may need color correction and toning. But no amount of post-production will correct a failed idea, ridiculous posture, ugly style and a host of other errors. I am always surprised that instead of analyzing and re-shooting (attempting to correct) the failed shot, many photographers torture themselves, the frame and the viewer by trying to fix it in post-processing.
What type of gear do you shoot with and which one is your most favorite one?
I use Kiev 6C and Kiev 88 cameras with 90mm f/2.8, 180mm f/2.8, and 300mm f/4.0 lenses. My favorite lens of all time is 300mm f/4.0 by Meyer Optik Orestegor.
If you were to given an opportunity to warn your readers of potential pitfalls of photography, what would they be?
Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. What else to say? Drop what you are doing and pick up your camera to shoot some more… if you feel that’s what you want, of course. Freedom, happiness, money… all will come, after you let go and just shoot.