Interview: Photographer Alex Veledzimovich

POSI+TIVE speaks with Alex Veledzimovich, a photographer living and working in Vitebsk, Belarus.

edited by Jenna E. Garrett ( )

photos by Alex Veledzimovich

Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from.

I was born a small city in a small country of Vitebsk, Belarus. Usually people do not know where Belarus is, but most people know the famous painter Marc Chagall who was also from Vitebsk.  Here I live and work as a freelance photographer.

When did you first become interested in photography?

Ten years ago my good friend  give me Zenit camera with a 135 mm lens. I looked inside the camera and fell in love. I also saw the film “American Beauty” and liked the idea of collecting seconds. When I visited the United States I bought my first digital camera, a Canon EOS 300d.

Are most of your portraits of strangers or friends? 

Usually my portraits are of people I have acquaintance with. We meet and spend a few hours together, speak, drink tea, and I press a button. But I have worked with strangers in the street before. My project On Early Days is a collection of straight portraits of young people I encountered various places.

Taking some one’s portrait can often feel invasive and uncomfortable. How do you connect with your subjects while you photograph them?

I try to find a moment of silence when I can be “invisible” and the person feels alone with the camera. This moment happens when all my attention is on my subject in front of me. I do not think – I just seek and find. I wait. I kill my ego. If this happens I become “invisible”. When you are alone who can be invader?

You shoot your personal work on film. Why?

Film makes me slow. I must to wait and consider each frame. I also enjoy the reality of film. If I press the button I create something in the material world. With digital you have just “1-0-0-1-0-1” until you print.

What do you think film photography has to offer in the world of iPhones and Instagram?

Careful selection. Shooting is not enough. You are not immediately free. You must to develop film, scan, remove dust, and all these technical things make you responsible to finish the photographs. There is more process and therefore more effort.

Do you feel your photography says something about where you live?

I do not think so. My photography says something about my own world.  I “create” photos instead of finding them. I think that I am very subjective. But in another way I use reality around me to make my photos and I live in a society with stereotypes about “beauty”. So it is difficult to say.

Which photographers inspire you?

Oleg Videnin and Evgeny Mokhorev have been heavily influential for me in the last four years. However, as I have grown I have also drawn inspiration from Alec Soth (particularly Sleeping by the Mississippi), Maxim Shumilin, Katarina Smuraga, Arja Hyytiäinen, Martina Hoogland Ivanow, and Kawauchi Rinko.

Tell us of a secret talent you have, besides photography.

In the spring I tried to paint Japanese hieroglyphs.

See Alex’s Website, Flickr & Facebook

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