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July 5, 2024


Photography by Tatyana Mazok
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Emerging from the vibrant urban fabric of Minsk in Belarus, photographer Tatyana Mazok captures the essence of existence through her lens. With a rich academic background at Belarusian State Economic University, Tatyana tempered her mind with discipline, later infusing her artistic work with precision and passion. It was through photography that she discovered her authentic voice, a confluence of her diverse interests and her intrinsic identity.

In 2019, under the illuminating mentorship of Elena Sukhoveyeva and Viktor Khmel, Tatyana’s creative flame was kindled, propelling her on a journey of exploration through the author’s school. Subsequent years saw her delve deeper into the nuances of the craft, navigating the realms of visual history at the Fojo: Media Institute Linnaus University and honing her cinematic eye at the esteemed ‘Marusina Masterskaya.’

Tatyana transcends mere technical skill. Her photography embodies the ability to capture the ephemeral, immortalizing the beauty of life’s transient moments. In her own words, “I shoot what I love and what interests me at a particular moment. And I get satisfaction from capturing the moment.”

In her series “Connections,” Tatyana presents an introspective journey, using evocative diptychs to explore the complex web of relationships that shape our existence. Her lens thoughtfully transforms everyday moments into timeless reflections of beauty and self-discovery.

Authenticity and emotional resonance are the cornerstones of Tatyana’s photographic philosophy. Her intuitive approach fosters a depth of immediacy and honesty, drawing viewers into her experiential narrative.

Throughout the series, Tatyana deftly captures the ceaseless flux of the world around her. From the ever-shifting landscape of her urban surroundings to the subtle nuances of human interaction, each image serves as a testament to the ephemeral nature of existence. Yet, amidst the perpetual tide of change, Tatyana finds solace in the unchanging beauty of the natural world. As she eloquently observes, “The photos remain unchanged: family, nature, city and myself.”

Central to the thematic fabric of “Connections” is Tatyana’s exploration of the myriad connections that bind us to one another and to the world at large. Tatyana skillfully reveals the hidden patterns of interdependence, sparking contemplation of our profound interconnectedness. Whether capturing the delicate symmetry of a family unit or the symbiotic relationship between humanity and the environment, Tatyana’s images serve as poignant reminders of our shared humanity.

Beyond the visual allure, Tatyana’s work invites philosophical contemplation on memory and perception. She captures not just the world around her but also her personal experience within it, offering a unique perspective on the narrative flow of life and the resonance of visual storytelling.

Join us in delving into Tatyana Mazok’s heartfelt photographic vision — a vision that extends beyond mere documentation, embodying the profound impact of photography as a conduit for introspection and discovery.

“CONNECTIONS is a polysemantic name. On the one hand, there is an external visual connection between the photographs in each diptych: through color, compositional technique, and similarity. On the other hand, it is about the connection between human and nature, human and the city. And, how much they have in common. It’s also about my internal connection with each element in the photograph, because it’s all familiar to me: my beloved children, Belarusian nature, familiar roads and courtyards.”


THE PICTORIAL LIST: Welcome to The Pictorial List Tatyana. What drew you to pursue photography as a form of artistic expression?

TATYANA: At the very beginning of my journey, the technical part of photography was very difficult and took a long time for me. I slowed down and didn’t think about artistic language at all. I wanted to reveal all the technical secrets and, by pressing the camera button, produce beautiful masterpieces, filming everything. It was a great practical experience that led me to understand that photography can speak without words, speak for me, broadcast my inner feelings of the world around me.

TPL: What role do diptychs play in conveying the interconnectedness of life in your work? How do you approach the composition and presentation of your diptychs to convey the connections you seek to highlight?

TATYANA: Life and creativity are inseparable for me.

In the diptychs there is an intensification of life. Moments from it. Let's just say, life twice: here it is life from frequent traces of birds on fresh snow and here is how the first rays of the sun covered a young face with freckles. They seem to be static objects, but they are a recording of what is happening in my life.

The process of creating diptychs is always a unique event. It happens that one of the parts waits for its other half for two or three years. I don't deliberately shoot a frame in tandem with an existing one. I just take a photo of something, and then I scroll through it in my head and remember that once upon a time I already took a photo that would look incredibly good with it. Sometimes I make mistakes, but most of the time this exercise is successful. Can you imagine how great it is to bring together different years and different places? Of course, I pay attention to the composition of both parts. To enhance the effect, sometimes you have to crop the original frame.

TPL: How do you incorporate elements of emotion and storytelling into your photographs to evoke a deeper connection with viewers? What emotions or messages do you hope viewers experience or take away from your photographs?

TATYANA: I achieve contact with the viewer by close framing and large details. It turns out to be a kind of presence effect.

The project is not difficult to perceive, visually calm in color, and it seems to me that every viewer will find in it something from their everyday life, memories from yesterday or today. I would also like the project to remind everyone of the beauty of every moment, of the value of our everyday life.

TPL: How do you select the subjects or scenes that you capture in your photographs? What role does personal reflection play in your photography process, particularly in relation to your own connection to the subjects you photograph?

TATYANA: Most often, my attention is attracted by lines, geometry, a fallen shadow, or my internal problem. I can walk and notice a fallen leaf, and now it’s already in the frame. I haven't photographed everything for a long time. And at different periods of my life my focus of attention changes. This gives food for thought - what is most important to me now. My inner experiences are transferred into photography. This changes the topic of research, working through a photograph of one’s feelings. This also affects the choice of color combinations in the frame.

TPL: Can you share a memorable experience or moment that significantly influenced your approach to your photography in general?

TATYANA: I had the experience of taking an amazing “Film Frame” course, where students watched films of one famous director every week, for example, “Kurosawa.” We analyzed the director’s visual language, his distinctive techniques, for what purposes and emotions they are applicable. And then they filmed their shoot using that language. Afterwards, I always thought about what I wanted to say with my shot, and what color, light, and compositional technique would help me with this. I also began to look at photographs of other authors, analyzing the author’s language.

My photography serves as a documentation of my life.

TPL: In what ways does your photography serve as a form of documentation or storytelling of your life and experiences?

TATYANA: In general, all my photography is a document of my life. Whether I shoot self-portraits or my surroundings, this is all my little story. I show up in my photographs. You could say it's a photo diary. And, if they look back, this woman’s diary will talk about her mood, outlook on life, favorite color, some internal conflicts, joyful moments. And sometimes this diary has blank pages.

TPL: Can you share any insights or lessons you've learned about yourself or the world through the process of creating “CONNECTIONS”?

TATYANA: In the process of selecting photographs for the “Connections” project, I once again reminded myself of my inspiration and my content. Reviewing several years of archives, I have determined that my eye and my camera focus on what I love. I am filled with my family, the city I live in, trips to nature and myself.

TPL: What drew you to study under Elena Sukhoveyeva and Viktor Khmel at the author’s school, and how did that experience influence your photography? And, how has completing courses such as ‘Photo History’ at Fojo: Media Institute Linnaus University shaped your understanding and approach to photography?

TATYANA: At a certain point, I felt limited in my knowledge of photography. And how funny it is for me now, it seemed to me that I already knew so much. But I didn't know where to move next. In the direction. I was drawn to art, but there seemed to be a gap between us. I understood that I couldn’t handle self-education on my own; I needed a guide. In my search for a teacher, in reading reviews, in correspondence with graduates of Elena and Victor, I realized that this was what I needed. But I didn’t know that this would be the most difficult training, full of information, lectures, and deep immersion in project photography. A new, different world opened up for me, new names in the world of photography. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, I was never able to complete my graduation project at this school. The knowledge gained here was structured in my head and rethought over the next three years. We can say that they were the basis for my design thinking and are still sprouting.

The “Photo History” course, on the contrary, turned out to be easy for me to understand, but also deep in knowledge. A lot of material was filmed. I learned to speak through a series of photographs. My personnel selection process has changed, my view of topics that are of interest to society and other people, but not previously relevant to me, has expanded. But the main takeaway is to always choose what is important to you.

Then working on history will be a pleasure.

TPL: What other photographers or artists have influenced you, and how? What impact have they made in the way you approach and create your work in photography?

TATYANA: I am firmly convinced that everything I saw and heard earlier in one way or another influenced me as a photographer. Something is filtered, something is analyzed and leaves an imprint. But I cannot pinpoint the authors who shaped my approach. I can name who I'm currently inspired by. Among the photographers are Jaume Llorens with poetic images of nature, Saul Leiter with his irregular framing, negative space, amazing color, Ilina Vicktoria - her portraits fascinate with light, contrast and deep emotion. I also really love the visual techniques of director Paolo Sorrentino.

TPL: What do you hope to achieve with your photography in terms of personal growth?

TATYANA: Great question! And of course I will be honest. I dream that my photograph will become part of the collection of MOMA, the Hermitage, and the European House of Photography in Paris. I dream of becoming one of the hundred most famous female photographers in the world. Loud, but that's how it is!

TPL: When you are not creating your art through your photography, what else could we find Tatyana doing?

TATYANA: I try to find time for everything that is dear to me. I used to sew a lot, embroider, and make jewelry. Now I read more, go to theaters, museums and of course spend time with my large family.

As we reach the culmination of our exploration into the work of Tatyana Mazok, it becomes evident that her photography is not just an art form, but a vibrant tapestry interwoven with threads of life itself. With each photograph, Tatyana invites us into her world, offering a glimpse into the raw and unfiltered essence of being that defines her subject matter. Tatyana’s unique talent lies in her ability to transform life’s chaos into moments of serene clarity.

Through “Connections,” Tatyana has not only shared her vision but also challenged us to see life through a different lens — one that recognizes the intertwining narratives and shared experiences that unite us. Her work is a compelling reminder of the beauty and complexity of the world we inhabit, and the endless possibilities that lie in the simple act of pressing a shutter.

In closing, Tatyana Mazok's artistic journey is a testament to the enduring power of photography to move, to provoke, and to inspire. Her images remain etched in our minds, echoing the timeless dance of light and shadow, and inviting us to pause, reflect, and connect with the world in profound ways. Let us carry forward the message embodied in her work — that in the fleeting moments of life, there is a depth of connection and beauty waiting to be discovered.

Thank you, Tatyana, for opening our eyes to the enduring connections that bind us all.

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