Exclusive Licensing Contributor Sergey Vinogradov is a Russian fashion and portraiture photographer who gravitates toward capturing the emotional man, humanizing him, and creating a narrative where masculinity and emotion can be synonymous. Browse his Licensing collection here.
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in photography?
A. My name is Sergey Vinogradov and I live in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. I find that it is always difficult to [talk] about myself, more specifically, about how I started in photography and how photography has become a part of my life. For me, photography is not just about the photo, but also a way for me to express my pain and my joy. I have been working with these subjects, and within photography, for about 10 years.
Q. When did you begin Licensing your content?
A. With the support of the Licensing team, I began to License my photos in the fall of last year (2018). Before this point, I did not consider my work to be appealing to commercial buyers. I took the images for myself and for the guys I photograph.
Q. How do you come up with your creative concepts and are there places you consistently turn to for inspiration?
A. All my ideas are spontaneous. When I go into a photo session, I only have a vague idea, but never fully know how it will turn out.
The energy of a person is important to me. His inner world is important. From this, I can start to invent a photo. My friends tell me that my photographs not only reflect the model, but elements of myself within the model.
For inspiration, I love [other] photographers [that are] working in the style of surrealism, as well as working in the style of “surrealistic glamor” such as David LaChapelle and Oleg Oprisco.
Q. A lot of your content features male models and emotional expression, why do you gravitate toward shooting this type of content?
A. I choose to photograph men because it is easier for me to work with them and develop a connection. I find they can be more emotional and expressive, making it easier to create unusual shots.
In Russia, there are always a lot of images of girls, but very few images of men.
Q. How do you feel social media feeds into the representation of what it means to be a man?
A. I think it is important to not draw inspiration from social networks as there is less and less humanity in social networks.
Q. Have you faced any challenges by focusing on these types of themes?
A. I live in a country where any manifestation of non-standard thinking causes a negative reaction. I try to reflect these issues and trouble in my work.
There can be trouble with any kind of art.
Q. Your images feature a raw quality to them, drawing on a nostalgic film aesthetic. What draws you to these types of edits?
A. Photography should focus on technique, not photoshop. Tarkovsky, a great Russian director who shot films such as Solaris, has a very strong influence on my shots — maybe that’s why I’m choosing this style of presentation and processing.
Q. You shoot a lot of portraiture. Do you have a favorite lens you prefer to shoot this with?
A. My collection of lenses is not huge. I only have two: my 50mm f1.4 and 24-70mm f2.8. It doesn’t matter what you shoot, it’s important how.
Q. What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?
A. I love all of my shoots in their own way and cannot single out any one shoot. Every one of them is important to me.
I have not photographed my best shot yet. As soon as I do, I will stop doing photography.
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