*A new interview series with a play on “20 questions,” where I try to mix it up. Some serious questions, some not so much. The series will also focus on some of the best street photographers from the cities I visit around the world during my 100 Cities project.
I visited Lviv, Ukraine early on during my 100 City project. Since then, Ukraine has become one of my favorite countries to visit, as there’s something special about this uniquely authentic country. While cities like Kiev and Odessa provide their own special Ukraine atmosphere, Lviv adds a more European feel with a lot of old world charm. Making Lviv even more special, it’s also home to the talented photographer Taras Bychko.
Taras’ work contains a lot of style and mood. By mixing creative ways of capturing light and shadow with the life of the city, he’s able to bring his own vision to his photos. While Taras isn’t the only one to play with the effects of light and shadow, his work brings a personal, creative and unique touch that makes it stand out. He also incorporates people, life, moments and color in with careful composition to play with his command of light, and add even more interest to his scenes. There’s a strong character to his work that has quickly been gaining more and more fans. And fortunately, for the blog and those fans, he’s agreed to play along in this edition of 20 Questions.
So now to learn more about him, it’s time for 20 Questions in Lviv, Ukraine with Taras Bychko…
20 Questions with Taras Bychko
Before we get to the 20 questions, please introduce yourself.
1. What is your earliest memory of photography?
2. What do you think drew you to your preferred subjects in photography?
It’s hard to answer this question. It seems to me that everything we look at, listen to, in general everything that we fill ourselves with, affects us. It very acutely manifests in the photo. I was fortunate because I discovered good examples of photography for myself at the beginning of my photographic way. The first book that came to me was “Magnum Magnum.” Thanks to this book, I discovered a lot of extraordinary photographers which have, in one way or another, influenced me. It was a real powerful impetus for me.
3. What advice would you have given yourself when first starting in photography?
4. What is your preferred set-up when hitting the streets for photography?
5. Describe how you approach Street Photography?
The approach is very simple: the camera is always with me and wherever I go I constantly watch for things that can become interesting, exciting.
Not So Serious Questions:
7. You get one superpower for photography, what would it be and why? (You can’t choose invisibility!)
8. You also get 3 photography related wishes, what are they?
- The opportunity to visit all the places I’d like to shoot
- Time for realizing all my plans
- Infinite film stock
2 Speed Rounds (Give the first answers that come to mind)
This or That:
9. Instincts or Planned?
15. Where do you like to photograph most in your city, Lviv, and why?
Most of my photos are made in sleepy areas. My house is located in one of the sleepy areas of Lviv, that’s why so many photos are made there. It’s much easier to photograph in the center because there is interesting architecture and shapes, narrow streets, more people, and most importantly – it’s easier to be invisible. However, the sleepy areas have their mood, they attract me by their different atmosphere.
16. A few years ago I visited Ukraine for the first time to see a good friend of mine. This trip had an impact on me, especially photographically, that I’ve returned every year since. There’s so much I like about this unique country, but as someone from here, what do you like about your country, from a photographer’s perspective?
I’m very fortune that I live in Lviv. Here it is very convenient to shoot: beautiful architecture, a diverse culture and many nationalities, a large number of contrasts. The great advantage of Ukraine is that it has little photographed and needs more detailed photo research.
17. While you don’t limit yourself to this style, you’ve become known for your use of shadow and light in much of your street photography work. What attracts you to shadow and what do you aim to capture in a photo through its use?
You are right: many of my photos were shot using this style. I can explain: every day, from November 1, 2015 to November 1, 2016, I went out on the streets of my native city searching for my best shot. I watched the rhythm of the city and its inhabitants every day. I did it in order to capture and document the everyday moments that convey the mood and character of the present day. I had to immerse myself in the city’s life, become part of it, dissolve in it for making a photo. It helped to get honest, true, unbridled pictures, which became the basis of my project “365 days of light and shadow”. The accent of this project was done on the game of light and shadow.
18. You also shoot some non-street/non-candid work with more of an artistic and edited approach? How does this photographic interest differ for you compared to your street work?
This is where I started my path in photography. I like surrealism in photography. It was interesting to create such works. I practically don’t shoot in this style now; I’m focusing on the street photography. But I think I’ll work in this direction.
Behind a photo:
19. Pick a photo of yours that you remember capturing and share any memories you have attached to it.
I chose this photo below because people often ask me how it was made. I saw this lady from a very distant distance. She immediately drew my attention because she was dressed in a white brilliant costume that was also the same color of her hair. I had to run after and up to her very quickly and make a photo before she sat in her car.
The Final Question:
20. You have only 3 photos left on your last roll of film.
- In the first direction, you see some children doing back-flips at the playground
- In the second direction, you see a group of nuns praying outside a church
- In the third direction, you see a colorful wall catching shadows from the people walking by
- And in the last direction, you see a colorful street market being set up
The light is perfect at all 4 locations. What do you do?
Another big thank you to Taras for the Interview, and for anyone who would like to see more of his work, check the links below!