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December 23, 2020


Photography by Ivan Domaratskiy
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Inspired by the Pictorialists and the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Russian photographer Ivan Domaratskiy captures scenes in black and white, smoky, blurry, and veiled, achieved with monocles and soft focus optics. He portrays the elusive heritage, nature and ancient architecture as something ghostly, contrasting with sharp and vivid photographs of reality.


TPL: Ivan please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?

ID: I’m a 20 year old self-taught amateur film photographer based in Dolgoprudny, a small town near Moscow. Now I work in laboratory of 2-dimensional materials at MIPT. Photography became my hobby in 2015 when I bought my first film camera. It was old Soviet Zenit. Initially I shot very little, experimenting with styles. Gradually, I purchased other cameras, chose a photography technique. My main hobby is pictorial photography, which I achieve with monocles, other soft-focus optics and non-standard photo processes.

TPL: Do you have a favourite quote, lyric or saying that especially resonates with you?

ID: It is not as easy a question as it seems to be. Many phrases are remembered and attached to a person.

Perhaps the best description of me is the statement of one of my friends - "Continue to do something incomprehensible, otherwise something comprehensible can be done by everyone!"

TPL: Where do you find your inspiration? And do you have a favourite place to shoot?

ID: I find inspiration in many things from the autumn landscapes in my region to films of Andrei Tarkovsky. My favourite place for shooting is one micro district of my town, situated on an island. I like its old embankment with a park and four-story houses.

TPL: What do you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?

ID: I try to portray the elusive heritage, nature and ancient architecture as something ghostly, contrasting with sharp and vivid photographs of reality. My shots are usually black and white, smoky, blurry, and veiled.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?

ID: My favourite artists are Josef Sudek and Sally Mann. Also I like modern photography and mixed-media artists, who work with unusual techniques like Michael Weitzman, Antonio Palmerini and Philomena Famulok. I believe that the greatest influence on my work were the works of my father and of Russian pictorial photographer Georgy Kolosov.

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

ID: My equipment really helps me! Without it, I would hardly have been able to receive such shots. At least it would be much more difficult. I have many film cameras, but mostly I use medium-format Mamiya RB67, full-frame Pentax SF7 and half-frame Agat 18K with soft-focus lens and hand-made monocles. I prefer expired or grainy black and white and color films. Also sometimes I use pinhole.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?

ID: I have participated in many photography contests, including international ones. In some of them I won prizes. Last year I took part in the international competition '35 photo awards' and got into the top 150 photographers in the nomination 'artistic photography'. Also I participated in several photo exhibitions in my institute and in Moscow.

In five years I hope to achieve great success in science, and photography as a hobby. Maybe I'll open my darkroom or photo studio. I will work hard in my current direction, participate in photo contests and exhibitions.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

ID: I have several small projects in photography and collage that I am doing together with my friends, but it is too early to say anything about them.

TPL: "When I am not out photographing...

ID: And if I have free time, I try to get inspiration from books, films and music.”