Sergey Kharlamov/ Ukraine
When/Where were you born?
In 1971 in the city of Donetsk in Ukraine.
Where did you spend your childhood?
All my childhood has passed in Donetsk where I absorbed in myself
spirit of " industrial romanticism " Donbass - the main industrial
region of Ukraine.
Where did you study?
After the termination of high school and training to drawing at art
school, has acted in Donetsk maximum art school.
Did any experience in your childhood make you decide to take
First time has taken in hands the camera in ten
years - it was interesting to me to study mysterious process of
shooting and a press of the facsimile. But it was only hobby - I was
involved more with the fine arts.
Does any vision from childhood persist in your
I sometimes consider, what exactly of that pure,
not noted by adult problems, the children's sensation of the world,
often does not suffice me now. In the childhood I was the dreamer, and
now became the philosopher. This same is possible …
You’ve had quite a unique life, you passed
through many adventures and many crafts… Tell me more about it. How
did this help you in becoming what you are?
All our life - one big adventure... Each new day
brings interesting opening. And crafts in which I had to be engaged in
a life, a part of such opening. With each new craft, it seemed to me,
that the life during this moment has the greatest importance … So was
both with a sculpture, and with jeweller art, and with moulding
bronze, and with development of ceramics. Well and such craft as the
engraving on a stone, remains with me for my whole life.
How did you start being a photograph?
For more than 10 years I was not engaged in
creative activities. Heavy times for the country after disintegration
of Soviet Union … it was necessary to work much somehow to survive … I
began to feel a painful feeling of lack as something that could give
me harmony in a life … Any material benefits were unable fill this
emptiness. As time to be engaged in creativity still was not enough, I
bought a camera.
I took my great interest in photo seriously and I
realized - my life without creativity is inconceivable. Cheering up,
there came a turning-point in my destiny! Though I also do not
consider myself a photographer - the photo has inhaled in me missing
How do you describe your artistic evolution?
I think, my artistic development began in the womb
of my mother. Certainly, children's fantastic imagination had a
crucial importance. Still, I have a senior brother, who drew a
lot in his childhood and I repeated everything after him. Then I
attended an art school.
Was it simple, linear?
With the childhood simplicity has left behind...
And linearity in creativity does not happen, in
general! All occurs on the verge of deep reassessments, emotional
splashes and fading. My creativity is impulsive. The only thing, I try
to encourage myself: in the shower I always speak to myself - you
Did you discover your own style immediately?
The problem of a the personal style never
interested me … I am more excited by themes: the style, probably,
appears as consequence.
How would you define your style?
The style is defined by critics … I never thought
of it, moreover, I consider that the artist doomed on submission to
the certain style - is deprived in his development. The search of new
forms of realization of ideas, innovative spirit is more important
than the style, that should be seen as an ideological substrate of the
majority of an artist's works.
Do you have a personal vision in photography?
It is impossible to create something absolutely
new. The only thing that I wish to tell - inside of me there are two
components that live in a competition - yesterday's self and today's
Is creativity more important to you than
Creative potential - it is unequivocal! Formation -
a necessary stage in becoming an artist, but only at a
technological level. True creativity can "doze" in the most distant
corners of our soul and to wake up together with the ripened person,
the spirituality and the ability to estimate beauty. The artist ripens
when he feels the urge to express ideas, attitudes and to share them
with the others.
During the Middle Ages, scholars believed that
creativity was “divine inspiration”. In the 19th century, they
believed it was a cognitive process. What do you think?
I think that people from of the Middle Ages were
closer to the truth …
What means to you to be creative?
For myself in creativity I accept only sincerity.
The true artist is capable to use the force of his talent and
find harmony in his soul. All rest - work on the public demanding
shows and as a rule, is not true art. Unfortunately, very few people
are able to save themselves from this temptation, including myself …
Did you ever try to paint?
From my childhood.
Are your photographs a sort of painting?
Yes, I consider my works as painting! I work in
Photoshop 7.0, I use all accessible tools, filters I do not use,
preferring all to create itself. Photographing I spend under concrete
idea and ready sketches. There is a laborious work in Photoshop
Further. Perhaps, creativity comes to an end during that moment when I
draw last sketch, fixing idea on a paper … the Moment from the
beginning of formation of idea and before its registration on a paper
- can consist of one - two days, and final work in a computer, often
lasts some months …
In general, for me there is no differentiation
between painting, photo art or computer painting - for me there is a
concept self-realization and creativity. And when some artists start
to argue on the priority of genres in art - they are in deep error!
This my opinion.
Tell me about the esoteric components of your
photography. Why do you try to transform reality?
It is difficult to answer your question … I think I
search for harmony.
What is reality to you?
What reality for me … Is fair? … Severe. For all
time of existence of a life for the Earth, its invaluable inhabitants
exercise the wit the friend before the friend in cruelty, each time
finding justifications to the acts and naming them with " regulation
of natural balance "… Certainly, is much and light around - the life
in itself is fine! The difficulties it tempers, gives to wisdom to
people, only all here depends on everyone. Everyone, coming to this
Earth, has equal odds, and here leaves - who with what …
The dream-like images are very important to you.
What do you prefer, black-and-white photos, or
colored photos? What means color to you?
It is more interesting to me to express the ideas
in colour …
What are your favorite themes?
Life, people and their uneasy relations.
What is the human body for you?
As I am born on this planet, I do not know anything
more perfect than the human body.
What do you discover in it?
How do you choose your models?
I never work with agencies, I try to work with
Describe the process that gives birth to your
My works are not photos in the pure state. A photo
I use as necessary " a building material " for realization of the
ideas. The basic work occurs on a paper, as sketches and in a
computer, using Photoshop. In the beginning I create sketches, having
chosen the best, I transfer it to a computer. Then I spend shooting
and the scanned photos I use under the sketch, creating the final
What does it mean to you to use digital
Now, all that is connected with postprocessing
photos in a computer and a press in digital laboratory, it is accepted
to name digital methods. Though in case of with me, this a little bit
incorrect definition as I film exclusively and I can not while to
accept quality of digital cameras …
What does the modern techniques mean to you?
Modern methods for me is all that is connected with
a computer. The computer for me as to the artist, has replaced both an
easel, a canvas …
What camera do you use?
I use an average and wide format (6х6cm., 4x5inch)
as I consider that it's giving the highest quality of the image. My
chambers: KIEV-60TTL (6х6cm); FATIF (4x5inch).
What lens do you use?
I use different types depending on the subject, but
more often I prefer to give a lung with a wide corner to an objective.
What Photoshop do you use?
Photoshop 7.0, in other programs I do not work, did
Is there a Russian component of your
photography? Maybe the mysticism?
Russian component is in my soul, so and in my
How do you explain your apocalyptic vision on
the world? Is it a kind of escaping the reality?
I do not consider, that I have an apocalyptic
vision on the world. I it name differently … the World is doomed to
eternal struggle of good against evil. People all over the world with
absolutely different social foundations, loose spirituality - the main
thing for the sake of what we come on this ground and as reasonable
race we are obliged to keep and transfer to our descendants. By my
works I try to tell to people - look at yourself, look at your acts
and their fatal consequences. It is not necessary to argue about it…
History of mankind, itself speaks for itself.
In Romania, it is quite difficult to be a
photographer (and an artist, in general). What is the situation in
It was always possible to earn one's living from
photography. The only difference is that some people, by virtue of
their business abilities, succeed more than others…
But to earn your living in Ukraine as an artist
having a non-standard perspective on art, it is practically
impossible. You have to organize promotions, exhibitions, search for
sponsors, which is very much distractive and leads to exhaustion an
inconsistency. Here you are recognized as an artist only after the
recognized abroad, but as they say, the train has left from a long
time ago… So a situation not consolatory, but personally it does not
upset me, as such position was at all times and I knew on what I go …
What artists do you admire?
I am afraid I cannot give names. For me the works
are more talented than the names of their authors … Sometimes work of
the unknown beginning artist can be very important, very inspirational
… I look a lot on the site Deviantart, I communicate with some
authors - there are many talented people all over the world and that
What was your biggest success until now?
As the main success for myself personally, I
consider those creative successes to which has come during creative
growth and reasonings on meaning of the life. That means, I have
knowingly lived these years!
For official records: the main success for today -
a victory in the international photocompetition "Trierenberg Super
Circuit 2005" and a nomination " Digital World".
What future plans do you have?
The future plans one million!!! But the main
things, one - to continue to create, for the good of living.
THANK YOU !
Thanks you for your interesting questions!
Interview by Alina Savin