Valentin Zhmodikov is a portrait and fine-art photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Valentin describes his portraits as psychological and emotional and I get it – you can’t help but look that little bit deeper in to his portraits…
Why do you photograph? What was it that first got you interested in photography?
I have a really common story; when I was around 14 years old, my father gave me a simple film camera. During my summer holidays, I wasted four rolls of film shooting my friends, mostly gypsies and 15-25 years old girls. Me and all my ‘models’ were pretty happy with the result but, at that time, I didn’t enjoy shooting that much. Five years later, during my second year at uni, I realised when going to rave parties that I didn’t want to dance or just foolishly have fun – I clearly knew that I wanted to photograph all these people around me. And still it goes.
Yeah, let’s call it psycho-emo portrait – sounds funny!
How would you define your style and what do you want your images to say to the viewer?
I would call it psychological-emotional portrait with a bit of lifestyle and fashion. When you look at my work, you can see not only the beauty of the person but their character, their uniqueness, their thoughts and feelings. Yeah, let’s call it psycho-emo portrait – sounds funny!
Which single image are you most proud of and why?
Single… my preference changes from time to time but, if I need to pick only one, it would be ‘Anastasia, The Hussar Girl’. This is the portrait of a beautiful young girl with a painted moustache. The photo is from my first ever meaningful and deliberate portrait photoshoot that I’m surprisingly still proud of.
You are a big fan of black and white photography; what is it about this style that appeals to you over colour photography?
Getting deeper into photography, l found several really inspiring masters: Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon and Sally Mann – all of them were mostly shooting black and white. Initially it was a kind of imitation then it transferred into philosophy. If you want to say something short, say it short, and shoot in black and white. The viewer won’t be distracted by the unnecessary details such as the colour of the dress. If you want to tell more or you are thrilled with the details, shoot in colour. If you don’t know what to say, don’t shoot.
What is next for you? Are you working on any projects that you can tell us about?
To shoot more, better and diversely. Projects – yes, there are a couple of them I’m working on at the moment but I’m the kind of person who believes that talking about plans and projects is not the right thing. It’s much better to put the energy and effort in to doing the projects rather than talking about them. The only things I can tell – they won’t be only black and white, and they are about people. I would prefer to keep other details secret for a while!
You can see more of Valentin’s work at:
All images copyright Valentin Zhmodikov.