An Interview with Alexsander Petrosyan

Summer 2017; Hoping that Alexsander manages to find time for some questions

Dear Alexander,
Here are a few questions, please feel free to answer the ones you feel comfortable with or that you like best!

1. You were apparently “accused” of overusing Photoshop or collage (like it’s a crime!) on facebook, does that mean you dislike photography that is overly edited? Many people forget, I believe, that editing and ‘touching up’ a photo has been with photography since its inception – is it really such a bad thing, Alexander? In what situations do you think it is appropriate and when is it not?

2. I read that when walking around SPB it’s better to leave the map at home and just ‘”follow your eyes” (which I like to do here in southern Italy). What about you? Almost all of your shots seem spontaneous and candid. Do you ever pre-plan or stage any scenes? Have you done any tableaux photography?

3. Regarding your (amazing) POLICE series, there seems to be a lightheartedness, a funny side (and ironic) to these shots. Was that intentional?

4. I read that you prefer the ‘beautiful’ or the ‘grotesque’ (the grotesquely beautiful/beautifully grotesque?); bearing in mind how subjective those two terms can be, what exactly do you mean when you say grotesque/beautiful?

5. Once again with the COMEDY series (some truly wonderful captures!), there seems to be a lot of humour, was that all intentional or just a lucky find? Do we have to be in the right place at the right time? Surely there must be a lot of skill to even “see” a possible future shot and predict that moment and THEN be in the right place to capture it? Probably a long way from lucky…

6. It seems to me that you use wide-angle lenses a lot for your street photography (24mm? 28mm?), why is that? Is it – as Kertész did – to add context and situation to the subject? Do you find them more dynamic as opposed to standard primes or zooms?

7. What type of messages or stories (or thoughts) do you want the observer to have when they look at your work? Should a photo be accompanied by TEXT or a TITLE (or a DISPLAY effect) to contextualise the image? How much do you think that the viewer should be allowed to interpret the image on their own (as if that could be stopped!)?

8. Saint Petersburg seems like a city full of charming superstitions (Tonya the Hippo; Chizhik-Pyzhik; The Atlantes of the Hermitage; the Lions on the stone walls of the Strelka etc.). Can a photographer capture that superstitious feeling or mystique of a city? How?

Ok, Alexander, I hope that is ok (for now), and that you manage to find time to reply. Remember, NO STRESS, when and IF you get time.
Thanks in advance and happy snapping to you!
All the best


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