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August 19, 2020


Photography by Oleg Kolimbet
Interview by Melanie Meggs

For many, a camera is a tool that captures a moment in time. For Oleg Kolimbet, it is much more than that. A passionate photographer based in St. Petersburg, Russia, Oleg has been photographing since his father gave him a Soviet Smena camera during his school years. While his passion for photography has grown and faded over time, it has become more of an undying passion for Oleg as he approaches his mature age.

Recently, Oleg has been shooting more and more on monolens, a lens that he says allows the viewer to go beyond the frame and explore the world in a way that was originally intended by the founders of pictorial photography. Oleg's photographs move away from traditional documentary styles, instead looking at the world in a more pictorial sense, bridging the gap between yesterday and today. Join us as we explore the life and work of Oleg Kolimbet, a photographer who looks beyond the frame and brings us back to our imagination.

“My father, a frontier guard officer, had a Soviet 'Zenit' film camera, on which he shot our family, and from an early age he attracted me to film development and printing. I didn't know yet how to photograph, but the printing process itself, when an image suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, fascinated me and seemed like a miracle. When I was in high school, my father gave me a 'Smena-8M' camera, and I started shooting on my own.”


THE PICTORIAL LIST: Oleg, where do you find your inspiration to photograph?

OLEG KOLIMBET: I'm not looking for inspiration, it finds me itself. The main thing is to remain open to all the amazing things that are around, and also not to be locked in yourself and on yourself: read books, watch films, attend exhibitions, go outdoors. The world is multifaceted and beautiful, but in order to understand and see it, you need to be open.

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

OK: This is probably the most difficult question. My list of favorite photographers is very large - since recently it has been hanging on my wall and is constantly updated. I can name those I included in this list as one of the first: Josef Koudelka, Mario Giacomelli, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Sebastião Salgado, Peter Lindbergh, Georgy Kolosov, and Mary Ellen Mark.

And as far as significance is concerned, it is never direct, you just absorb everything you see and how it will later affect your work - only God knows. But generally speaking, I think that the work of any photographer is greatly influenced by cinema, painting, music and literature. Stop any of the Michelangelo Antonioni or Andrei Tarkovsky movies at any minute - and you will see an exquisite photo. Listen to Bach or Rachmaninov - and dozens of beautiful paintings will appear in your mind.

TPL: Where is your favourite place(s) to photograph?

OK: Where I live - St. Petersburg and its surrounds. I am lucky to live in a very beautiful city. I also love Greece, and also dream someday to shoot in the place where I was born - in Kamchatka. But in general, the place for me does not matter much - scenes for filming can be found everywhere, wherever you are.

TPL: Has your style of photographing changed since you first started?

OK: Photography has become for me more than just a hobby only in recent years, so it can be said that my style is only being formed. I try not to think about it and shoot with an 'empty head'.

The artist's task is to show the invisible by means of the visible. - Georgy Soshalsky

TPL: Have you ever been involved in the arts before photography?

OK: In the field of visual arts - never. But I have always been a very attentive and receptive viewer - is this considered?

TPL: What do you think of Instagram as a tool to show your work? Any positives or negatives that you have personally come across?

OK: Instagram is certainly a very good tool for getting feedback and a great place to exchange experiences with other photographers. I have two Instagram accounts - one for street photography, and the second in which I do not limit myself to any genres and styles. Thanks to Instagram, I have made many friends around the world who are as passionate about photography as I am. This is its positive side - it connects people. And I have not yet encountered anything negative that could be spoken about.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on?

OK: In the near future I plan to publish on my website* and maybe somewhere else a couple of documentary stories that have not been published anywhere before and I am collecting material for a new one. Now I am more and more interested in the combination of documentary and art photography, so most likely my future projects will be in this area. We will see, I myself wonder what kind of projects they will be.

*Editor's Note: Oleg's website is now published. Please see his profile below for link.

TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)...

OK: I would strum a guitar or continue to do what I did in my younger years - to write poetry and prose. Once it worked out pretty well for me, something was even printed in some magazines. Perhaps this is where my attitude to photography comes from - for me it is a concentrated form of poetry."

Through his photography, Oleg Kolimbet brings us back to our imagination. His passion for photography and his unique approach to monolens captures allow viewers to explore the world in a way that was originally intended. His work bridges the gap between yesterday and today, creating an incredible journey of exploration. We invite you to take part in this journey and explore Oleg's work by using the links below. His photography will help you to appreciate the beauty of the world and it's endless possibilities.

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