“There Was Simply the Need to Do Something Good”
A year ago, an unknown photographer appeared in the streets of Lviv. Everyday, equipped with a camera, he asked passersby if he could take a picture, and just a photo, free of charge. From that, the first portraits have come. People have personally received them and saw them on the social networks; the life of the “Good Pictures Lviv” project has started. More than ten thousand “good pictures” were collected during the year. While the final touches for the exhibition are being completed, DyvenSvit invited Serhiy Talochko for a talk. How these good pictures can change the world are presented below.
Читай українською: “ПРОСТО ТРЕБА БУЛО ЗРОБИТИ ЩОСЬ ДОБРЕ”: РОЗМОВА ІЗ АВТОРОМ ПРОЕКТУ “ДОБРІ ФОТО ЛЬВІВ” СЕРГІЄМ ТАЛОЧКОМ
Before the exhibition starts, as the result of your work done during the year, one wants to banally ask: how did it start? Why such a title? Why the “Good Pictures?”
Everything was started simply. We needed to do something good, something positive. There is not a lot of positivity in Ukraine now, as there is a so called imbalance between good and evil here. Therefore, it is simply a necessity to do something good for somebody. There are people who do that.
Have you appealed for help in order to implement this idea?
This is my personal initiative, and I have not received any help.
So, what about the financial aspect?
My money, few people who have given the credit with no interest, and a few friends. There were no major sponsors for this project.
You were born in Nikopol. Did you arrive at Lviv already having this idea, or did it appear afterwards?
I arrived at Lviv with the plan already conceived in my head. I have already been living here for two years.
Do you feel any differences between the people of your native eastern Nikopol and western Lviv?
Of course I do. The West, in my opinion, is not that open. It is more traditional. The East is more open toward changes. Having moved to Lviv, I, as an artist, have not felt any hostility yet, I have felt the huge difference between what it means to be a tourist in Lviv and what is to be an inhabitant of the city.
Regarding the project, what have you remembered the most? What are the most emotional moments which made an impact on you?
Such moments were everyday. In order to make ten thousand pictures, I had to meet half a million people. It changes people. Good pictures can change something. It has changed me because, when you do something good ten thousand times, it changes oneself.
Once, you mentioned, “If a person does not have a portrait, who will remember them?” This phrase is simply impressing.
Because it is true. If a person does not have any decent portrait while living, everybody will forget about the person, no matter how beautiful or how ugly they were alive.
How did photography come into your life? Why have you devoted yourself to it?
I have been into photography for a long time, since the Soviet Union period. There were many changes afterwards; nevertheless, I came back to photography when I was thirty, having tried everything else. This is my main activity.
The “Good Pictures” project is only a part of your activity, on a volunteer basis.
Well, it was a year of my life. There was simply a lack of time for everything else. Therefore, I almost do not have any income, only debts. (smiles.)
Has the project helped you understand God in a deeper way?
Photography is already a gift from God. What is a photo? It is a light and shadow created by the Creator. Only afterwards, my hands, given by Him, make a miracle. As I like to say, I have “the divine finger” (he is showing his thumb and smiling) and everything depends on it, not on the camera.
Do you feel like a co-creator when you take pictures?
I do not create, for I see the world in such a way. It is not even a feeling; it is the style of my life.
Did you notice any changes in the people you asked to make a portrait of? How did they react to that question?
People were very scared of such a question. “How?” “Why free of charge?” “What will I have as a result?” What I will have, as a result, is a historical project in a volume, the portraits of Ukrainians. 88 panels will be made; this is over one hundred photos. This exhibition can be reviewed many time by the same person, every time, in a different way. It will last forever.
Do you plan to take the exhibition of your pictures abroad?
Yes, I do. What is important here is to find sponsors. Unfortunately, we do not have a culture of philanthropy. The owners of the corporations, to whom I referred, do not realize the value of the art project, and that is why they do not support it.
What are your expectations or retrospective opinions at the eve of the exhibition?
Only two days left until the exhibition. The pictures have not been printed yet. Therefore, the most important thing is for the exhibition to take place. Due to the mayor, we have a place, and it is downtown. This is very good because a large amount of people will be able to visit it.
Do you feel the presence of God, in a special way, when you embody such projects?
What has happened during the year is impossible, according to a human way of thinking. We work while there is nothing impossible for God.
What advice would you give to novice photographers?
I would advise them to study, to develop themselves. There is no need for professional photography. There is no culture of consumption. Therefore, I do not recommend becoming a professional photographer, for it is one of the most difficult and most profitless professions.
What will you wish for DyvenSvit?
To believe. Everything happens, everything is possible! We only need to believe in good deeds and everything will become true.
We are reminding you that today, October 15, the opening of the Good Pictures Photo Project Exhibition is taking place.
By Tetyana Trachuk