The rawness and simplicity within the portraiture of Lomographer zlatex a.k.a. Cucheriava highlights the persons she captures on camera. A lover of natural light herself, Cucheriava does not shy from bringing out the bareness of her subjects, allowing their features and forms to dominate the composition, thus bringing out the sublimity in au naturel_. It's a rare feat to let the purity of the moment to take over in film and yet still remain so stylish. Get to know more about our Lomographer through this interview.
How's life lately as a photographer, Cucheriava?
Undoubtedly, life’s been crazy for the past few months for every one of us, and I as a photographer isn’t an exception. On the one hand, this whole pandemic situation is a great opportunity to become more attentive to your own body and try yourself at self-portraits. Additionally, you can spend some time figuring out what is photography for you and which projects you want to implement after the quarantine. On the other hand, as I’m a true extravert I really missed taking pics of my friends, especially while the first harsh months of isolation. Talking about these days, I take the risk and meet other people to satisfy my thirst for new photos of fresh faces. It’s hard to have an out-going and creative soul, but I’ve managed to cope with this feeling.
When and how did you start with film photography?
I’ll never forget the moment I loaded my first film into my camera – it was the last days of winter, 2020. I was so afraid of this process that I’d asked my best friend to be by my side while doing it. After I took just a few shots of the world around I realized that it was exactly what I needed to feel happy, and my spontaneous decision to buy a film camera became the best decision of my life.
We are so intrigued by the concept of your portraiture! May you expand to us what's the storytelling behind your portraiture if you have any?
I’m so glad to hear that! But I may a bit disappoint you – there’s no big story about the conception of portraits I take. That’s just how I feel at the moment I hold my camera and look at a person in front of me through a viewfinder. Somehow I’m sure that the photo I’m about to take will be more touching or eye-catching if I choose to focus on person’s face or particular body part, or to use an additional light to emphasize the atmosphere I want to show on my picture. I just do what my heart and my subconsciousness tell me to do!
What feelings are you trying to evoke from the audience when they see your images?
I try myself at different types of pics to show people the whole spectrum of emotions everyone of us have. That’s the main reason why I choose film photography, not digital one – I believe that grain and specific colors are more likable to make people dive into the picture and feel as a part of it. In addition, I want my photos to help people take the fact that we all look on our lives from different angles, and I want them to see that my retrospective of the world is a bit stranger and more arthouse than others’.
We love how your portraits utilize natural light and able to pop out the crisp colors. Any tips or tricks you can leave us with?
First of all, don’t be afraid of using a built-in flash of your camera! Sometimes you can end up with some great pics with contrasting colors. Secondly, explore all the functions of the camera and try them with different lighting. Buy a roll of film and spend it all on testing everything your camera can give you. The more you experiment, the better will be your results.
Who do you usually take portraits of?
It depends on where I am and what exactly do I want to create. In most cases I choose my friends as models for some of my brief projects, but sometimes people just text me on Instagram with suggestion to meet and take a few pics, and I just can’t say «no» to them! Such moments make me feel really excited, I think that sharing this magical process of taking shots on film with strangers is very important. In such way you expand the circle of people who are familiar with film photography, therefore you make this world a bit more authentic.
What inspires your analogue?
Anything can be an inspiration for me, but mostly I feel a boost of energy after watching some really good movies. I lay in my bed at night after and some fresh ideas just pop into my head! I’m talking not only about movies that every self-respected person knows – I like choosing something arthouse, scary, unusual, movies that not everyone can manage to watch till the end. In most cases, when I dare myself to watch something like The Holy Mountain (1973), I never regret it and end up with many creative thoughts.
What are you up to these days?
After a long break, I've gained a lot of emotional stability and a great desire to take my Nikon F50 with me everywhere and continue implementing my strength into creating some really good stuff which I lovingly call «art». I firmly believe that photography is something that will live forever, despite all the harsh moments that humanity is doomed to come through. It’s that magical kind of art that makes us a bit closer and more understanding to each other.