Interview with Philipp Samsonov
I’m 28 and I live in Moscow. I started working in a photo studio to earn some pocket money when I was 16. I was quite shy and basically afraid of people around so this studio with no windows and people was an ideal place for me at that time. Having worked there for a year I gained experience in applied photography, so I was able to make a proper postcard using a slide. I bought digital cameras as everyone did and some other photographic devices you have to carry in a huge backpack.
Once I came to the studio and my boss told me ‘Why the fuck have you come here? The weather is awesome, you’d better go and shoot outside’. I was disappointed to hear that because I needed money then and didn’t want to attract attention by taking pictures of people in the streets. I went back home and never returned to the studio. Now I often go back to that moment and realize it was the best advice given to me. Soon after that I got my first and main compact film camera and went outside.
I once ran into a photographer in the street who said: ‘I’ve just returned from that street, there is nothing interesting. Don’t go there’. Really, has the interesting got an address? I believe, you can walk around the city, stand still in the town, ride in the mountains with friends and still make a series of photos. But what some photographers do is they stalk their favorite places hoping to make an ideal shot. Certainly I tried this method and was lucky sometimes to take a nice picture. But I prefer to move and change the setting. To do the so called ‘walk photography’, not ‘stalk photography’.
To my mind, any weather conditions create their own unique visual atmosphere and you can’t ignore them. If the question is when to push the button or drain the developer, I guess everyone knows that.
Certainly the key object is people and their attendance in the aggressive system of a city. It’s crucial for me to leave the situation untouched, so I have made up a few tricks to remain unnoticed for passers-by. Gradually my extreme self-consciousness has grown into secrecy, curiosity and voyeurism.
I am not interested in the events as they are, it is a job of reporters with heavy backpacks and loads of devices. You can’t outrun media stream of pictures and it’s actually useless as photography lost the copyright for reality long time ago. It’s a chaotic era of endless digital pictures for fast scrolling without any reflection on what people see.
To reflect on what’s going on around. There are no random shots except for the black image a.k.a. the shot made in the pocket of your coat.