Finally, Ukraine has just made the news for something other than its turbulent political situation. Thanks to its brilliant Lviv-based photographer Oleg Oprisco, Ukraine is now mentioned in relation to stunning surreal art. We wholeheartedly welcome the change, as maybe, just maybe, more beauty will somehow make the world a better and more peaceful place. (Don’t we all cling to similar hopes, deep down, as corny as it may sound?) Besides the welcome change in how Ukraine is introduced in the day’s headlines, it’s also nice that Oleg adds to the still small number of Eastern European artists known abroad.
But what sets this artist apart from all others lies in the strange equipment he uses (strange for these days, at least): an old $50 worth film camera, the Kiev 6C model (and sometimes also a Kiev 88). Oleg Oprisco even mentioned that he sometimes holds photography workshops. He finds it very funny to stand there in front of his students, who are all holding $2000-$3000 cameras on their desks, while he sits there with his old fashioned thing. And yet, just look at how breathtaking and surreal his photos look with his older equipment! A first look would make us all think that the images are not only highly processed, but also initially shot with a fancy expensive camera. I guess there was really some truth after all in that old saying that a true artist is not defined by his instruments, just like Oleg Oprisco proved.
Incredibly, there’s not a great amount of processing happening. The authors says that while post-production may take several hours, he firmly believes that no amount of photoshop can turn a bad picture into a good one. All he does is re-touch the color a bit where needed and remove any dust effects. That’s it. Looking at how stunningly beautiful his images are, it’s pretty unbelievable, right?
Though the camera models used by Oleg Oprisco are pretty ancient for the tastes of most contemporary photographers, that doesn’t mean he’s against technology and knowing your machine the best you can. He uses a medium-format film for his two cameras, but a variety of lenses according to the picture he plans to take. Speaking of planning, he’s definitely not a spontaneous shooter. Every photo he takes is carefully planned to the utmost detail. Before even dreaming of preparing the required props, he first envisions the concept, and imagines it all in a single main color palette. Then, when proceeding to prepare the clothes, props, location and so on, he makes sure that everything plays within a single color range. If you look carefully at his photos presented here you’ll probably catch a whiff of his favorite color themes (and a hint that he likes the way redheads look).
As to the subject of each photo, Oleg Oprisco says they are all inspired from his life or at least from real life in general. Even though his final images could be best described as surreal, he’s not much into abstract art as well. He likes to keep things grounded, which is precisely why he uses little post-photo manipulation and takes his inspiration directly from what he claims to be his life and his feelings. I’d say that’s a pretty interesting life and some beautiful feelings, right there! (I hope everyone can detect the envy here.)
As for advice to aspiring photographers, Oleg only has one thing to say. “If you really feel this is your calling, go for it to the extreme. Drop your job and everything and just shoot; the rest will follow.”
Mighty bold words, but somehow, when you look at his photos, you can’t help but sense the truth in them.
Source of the photos and information: here.