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Pavel Kosenko

Author's blog about photography

MISTAKES photobook


You can find me and my first photobook “MISTAKES” at UNSEEN 2015, Amsterdam start from today, 17 september.

“This book tells about mistakes. It says that creative work is impossible without experimenting. It focuses on being open to unexpected outcomes and being able to spot new opportunities there. The book conveys how difficult it is to let yourself make mistakes, and how it gets even more difficult with years. It deals with my own wish to be someone who is still not afraid of making mistakes, i.e. experimenting and creating new things.” /Pavel Kosenko

Self-published, September 2015
A5+, 52 varied pages. 13 b&w photographs, 17 color superpositions
Languages: Russian, English
Total limited edition of only 250 copies, signed and numbered

(c) Photo, text, design — Pavel Kosenko, Moscow, 2015
(c) Curating, page-proofs — SREDA Creative Lab, Moscow, 2015
(c) Translating — Pavel Gafarov, Moscow 2015
(c) Printing, hand-assembly — Nemakulatura, Moscow, 2015
(c) Information support — Treemedia Content Oy, Helsinki, 2015

What is good color?


When discussing color, different people have different reactions to the same pictures, be they photos or paintings. Where some enthuse „such great color!”, others won’t acknowledge color at all.

What determines color perception? Where is the borderline between objective psychophysiology and subjective preference? What distinguishes perception and attitude to the thing perceived? How does perception change with age and visual experience? How to develop good taste in color – and just what is good color, to begin with?

I’ll try to answer these and other questions in what follows. Let me preface it by saying that everything in this article is my personal opinion based on my studies and experiments with color as well as scientific research in the fields of psychophysiology, color theory and aesthetics, analysis of works of art, museum exhibits and films, conversations I’ve had with painters and photographers world-famous for color mastery and observations of how color perception changes in people as their creative powers develop. You have every right to disagree with me, but I hope you’ll find these thoughts useful or at least curious.


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A few words about professional photography


The term “amateur photo” ought to mean compositions with excellent technique, real works of art, because an amateur driven by love rather than a need to make money or restrictions of employment has no excuses for mediocre work.

“Soviet Photo” magazine, 1926

***

When I was just getting into photography I wanted to become a professional. It seemed like a dream job – take pictures and get paid for it. But eventually I began to notice that my envy of professional photographers was petering out and that I was myself avoiding paid work. And why was that?

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Armenia on my Fujifilm


I have written lately about “Armenia on my iPhone”, and now I’d like to show you photos shot on my other favorite camera – Fujifilm X-T1. Even if this time I’ve been using it less than usual, taking most of the pictures on iPhone, I still (or maybe thanks to that) have few good pictures, which I would like to show you.

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Traveling light. Hand luggage


For a long time now I’ve been meaning to explain how I manage to limit my luggage to just hand bags without leaving anything essential behind. This morning I’m going to Armenia, and I’ve just packed my bags, so this is a good time to deliver on that old promise and take exhaustive pictures of my traveling gear.

I used to travel with huge backpacks stuffed with everything necessary, and a lot of what was unnecessary, for living. Photo equipment took up a separate backpack. Check out documentary proof here, and here. Those days feel like a bad dream now.

Eventually I realized that I bring along all sorts of bulky and useless things, which is particularly inconvenient with a backpack – to take out something buried in the middle, you have to excavate at least half of the stuff. Suitcases are much easier in this regard: snap it open and choose what you need without disturbing the rest. I don’t carry luggage on my person anyway – it always either lies at the hotel or a shuttle/car/sleigh carries it, and so on. And even on wilderness trips there’s a porter or a sherpa shouldering the stuff. At any rate, the suitcase is my bag of choice – or, very occasionally, on Arctic expeditions where you really need to take a lot of equipment and clothes, a large knapsack. But that’s a whole other story. For 99% of the traveling I do, including photo trips, I can’t imagine anything more convenient than a suitcase small enough to pass as hand luggage.

With experience I’ve learned to fit everything necessary for a month’s worth of travel in hand luggage – without omitting anything really needful or breaking air travel rules.

You shouldn’t think I bring only bare necessities either. Most people would say that I bring plenty of excessive stuff: a projector, running clothes and shoes, hard drives, ironed shirts, a hair trimmer, a heart rate monitor, an anorak and more. How does it all fit? Very simply. Here is the inventory of the stuff, and below you can see the same on the pictures.

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ORWOCHROM and other Soviet-era slides


As Iwas preparing for the “Retro Color. Technologies and art” lecture, I stumbled across a remarkable branch where people put up scans of old color film from home archives. Some pictures are so heart-warming, I couldn’t resist getting a selection to wax nostalgic about. Unfortunately, I don’t have old color film of my own, although even back then I took, developed and even printed images in color. Here you get mostly ORWO from the German Democratic Republic, incredibly popular in the USSr in the 70s and 80s. There was actually very little alternative for color, except SVEMA and sometimes KODAK, if you could get it. Here I was more interested in color than mementos, but it’s still an impressive selection.

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The Photographer’s Day


I’m not sure if it’s celebrated anywhere else, but we in Russia do have that holiday – on the 12th of July. The editor-in-chief of “Russian Photo” came up with the idea in 2009, promoted it and registered a trade mark for it. To be honest, that’s not the most authoritative source for me. However! I like the 12th of July day because on that glorious day in 1854 the Father of photography, the founder of Kodak George Eastman was born. And that’s worth celebrating. So on this day I congratulate all my friends and colleagues — in Russia and in the West. I’m blessed with an abundance of them. See for yourself!


Frameway club in the Magnum Photos London office with Steve McCurry, Mark Power and Grigiry Yaroshenko. April 2015

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Armenia on my iPhone


If someone told me 5 years ago that a mobile phone can deliver pictures like that, and with no post-processing applied, I would have never believed it. Just press the button, and get the result. All the pictures below are taken on iPhone 6 with Degradr. Armenia, July 2015.

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Industrial


Some industrial pictures from Moscow. Took with iPhone and Degradr only.

The best of #degradr in Instagram and Flickr


Degradr is now on Flickr and Instagram! Every day, we publish the best pictures shot by Degradr. If you want your photograph to be featured in one of the selections, use the #degradr tag on your Instagram account. And don’t forget to take a look at today’s featured images: they are really something! What a fantastic demonstration of a great creative tool in use!

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