I cover all aspects of daily life in Siberia.
My father took pictures of our family, friends and the natural world from the very day I was born. I have a picture of myself with a camera hanging around my neck taken by my father in 1963, when I was just one and a half years old.
When I was 10 years old my parents gave me my first camera as a reward for doing well at an exam at music school, and ever since then I have taken photos continuously. My father was my first teacher. Back then, I was especially captivated by the seemingly magical production of photos in the dark room.
I continued learning how to take pictures through independent study, perfecting my theory and practice as a photographer. At one stage in my career, I asked acquaintances to bring back specialised photo-magazines in English from abroad: Practical Photography, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Petersen’s PHOTOgraphic and others. I also studied the style of master photographers at Reuters very attentively and tried to follow the best examples of their work. I like the classical style of Reuters press photos.
I started working for Russian newspapers as a writer, but I also shot the photo illustrations for my text myself, rather than using a staff photographer. I was ready to take pictures professionally from my first day as a journalist.
Covering the disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam, the biggest hydroelectric power station in Russia, left a big mark on me. It was an unexpected industrial accident and 75 people, employees at the station, lost their lives. I was the first of all the journalists who worked there over the following five days to arrive at the scene, and I saw enourmous destruction, both to the economy and the environment. I went to the funeral ceremonies for some of the victims, and saw the grief of their relatives. I made a personal exhibition of 75 photos in memory of the 75 dead.
I like shooting stories about people who belong to the “one in a million” category – unusual people doing unusual things. They can be amateur artists, builders, extreme sportsmen, winter swimmers, or people who live in difficult conditions in the modern world and manage to survive.
I take pictures for people all around the globe. I am one of the few journalists living in the vast territory of Siberia who have the chance to show life here to the whole world – something I have been doing for almost 20 years.
I respect my parents, because they offer a great example of honesty, diligence, creativity and intellectual judgement.