What is the Tumblr “Silent Conversation” with Olga Perevalova about?
I had a conversation with Olga for three years; at first she was a stranger whom I had chosen on Flickr. The conversation consisted of only pictures: no email, Skype, phone calls or even postcards. On the first day I send her a picture, she replied on the second and we went from there, until day 365. We used a Tumblr blog to communicate. In the end I met her in St. Petersburg in October 2013.
How did it come into being? What did you like most about it?
I was reading a book about a French poet who had lost his legs during WWI; he used to have real conversations but with strangers. I wanted to try the same thing, but with photography. My favourite part about the project was that I was thinking about it everyday. Also I very much enjoyed discovering the world of a stranger through pictures. It's a bit voyeuristic, yes.
And can you tell me more about the exhibition “Collection of Escaped Minds”? Why escaped? From/to where/who?
It's a collection of portraits I have been putting together since I started to engage in fashion photography. It's a long personal project that I started when I realized that I like to stand in front of a person who forgets the presence of the photographer - and wanted to create a visual memory of it. It seems like they escape the moment, situation or place, they are daydreaming, and I am catching that moment ... maybe I'd like to be a ghost. Thirty pictures of the collection where presented at the Art Paris Art Fair 2015 at the Grand Palais, Paris, and in association with Oksana Salamatina, my gallerist.
Are you or will you be working on a new photographic project? What is it about?
Yes, I am working on two new projects. But it's a long work process in both cases, and I can't talk about either yet.
You worked as a dark room teacher for a period. What was the most important thing you told your students?
That they need to close their eyes when they have problems developing films or images.
You are an architect as well. Do you feel that working in both of these areas - photography and architecture - helps you to develop yourself as an artist? Are there ideas you transferred from one field to the other?
I need both areas as ways to experiment with my thoughts and feelings. Architecture is a slow and complex process including a lot, maybe too many, people. Photography is quicker and is about the relationship between the photographer and the model. I chose theses two media to build a personal aesthetic, to do social research and to define my own reality.
Which city or built structure(s) has impressed you?
The Therme Vals.
Are you a flâneur or rather a ‘determined' walker?
Is there a movie you liked especially for the imagery in it?