An Interview with Ukranian Photographer Alina Rudya

Whether it's with a classic camera or simply with her iPhone, Ukraine-born photographer creates proof of her incredible talent.

Last week we helped promote Alina Rudya's exhibit in Berlin. “Persons Unknown: Portraits of the Lost City”is still ongoing. If you know where Kleiner Salon is in Berlin and you’re within the area, better catch the exhibit before it concludes at the end of the month.

Alina studied photography at Lette-Verein School for Design and the University of Artsin Berlin. While she has been a Berlin resident for the past four years, the 28-year old photographer hails from Prypyat, Ukraine. Pripyat is now a ghost town, the ghost town where she was evacuated after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster that happened on April 26, 1986.

Despite being the talented artist that she is, Alina was kind enough to answer a few questions and hopefully inspire all of you.

Hi Alina. Could you please share with us how and when you got into photography?
My father was a nuclear physicist but also an enthusiastic amateur photographer. We had plenty of Kiev’s and Zenith’s in our apartment as well as a huge enlarger. I started taking pictures when I was around 13 – that is when I started traveling a lot. I seriously started considering photography as my passion at around 16.

Do you shoot only in film or do you also shoot digital? When do you use film, when do you shoot digital, and why?
I shoot both film and digital. I prefer film for its quality and also sense of surprise, when you develop a film. I don’t own a digital camera at the moment, but I am a passionate instagrammer. =) But when I work on assignments, I mostly work with digital camera, since film photography is quite an expensive pleasure nowadays.

What inspires you to shoot? What are your preferred subjects?
I wouldn’t be authentic, if I say that the world around me inspires me. I love traveling, and my visits to different countries, new people, places and stories always serve as a serious inspiration. I have quite a cinematic view, so old and new movies with beautiful cinematography also inspire me.

Any photographers you particularly admire?
I am fond of photographers, who are able to tell a story with a single shot. Documentary photographers like James Nachtway or Sebastião Salgado are good examples. Also I like photography which edges with painting. I really admire Sarah Moon for her dream-like polaroids and Sally Mann with her view-camera pictures – she is able to capture the whole essence of youth and childhood in one image.

What cameras and film do you use?
I own a Nikon FE and F65, a Holga, Lubitel, Agfa Clack, point-and-shoot Olympus Mju-ii. Sometimes I work with a Hasselblad. I am not a huge fan of middle-format or view-cameras, because of their bulkiness and immobility, but recently I am considering projects using a bigger format than 35 mm. As for film – it ranges from really cheap color film from the local drugstore to black-and-white grainy high ISO films- my personal favorite is Ilford Delta 3200.

How would you describe your photographic style? Do you follow a set of rules when you shoot?
I used to take very romantic dreamy photos before, but recently I tend to do more realistic narrative series. I mostly only use natural light for my pictures. Some would describe my pictures as melancholic. As for rules – I don’t really have any, other then trying to get the best light possible.

Tell us about a body of work or projects that you’re particularly fond of.
My two recent projects Prypyat mon Amour and Persons Unknown are very important for me, because both of them are dealing with my personal history and my past. They are very different by the subject-matter and form of execution, but they both evolve around the city of Prypyat (Pripyat) – the infamous ghost-town, abandoned by its inhabitants after Nuclear accident in Chernobyl in April 1986. My father worked at the station and we lived in Pripyat. We were evacuated from it the day after the accident to never came back.

“Prypyat mon amour” is a series of self-portraits taken in my old Prypyat apartment and surroundings. It deals with self-reflection, loss and one’s identity. "Persons Unknown” is a portrait project, based on found material – I took black and white pictures from my family archive and enlarged people from the background in order to made a project dedicated to the inhabitants of the ghost-town.

I am very proud that “Prypyat mon amour” was featured in one of Germany’s biggest online portals Spiegel Online.

From Prypyat mon Amour Photo by Alina Rudya

Also, one of my mobile photography projects – Small man in a huge world won 3d prize in the International Mobile Photography award this year – it was shot with an iPhone and I used Instagram , because I like the analogue Lomo effect its filters offer.

From Small man in a huge world. Photo by Alina Rudya

Any cool projects you’re currently working on or exhibits? Any links to promote these? Where can fans admire more of your work?
I am currently working on an analogue project which revolves about stereotypes about Eastern-European women. It is also self-portraiture. I am going to Kiev for two weeks to finish it- I am bringing my Olympus Mju ii. It has to do a lot with dress-up, kitch and bad taste. =)

Also my project “Persons Unknown” is exhibited in Kleiner Salon in Berlin till 30th of September.

Do you have a dream project? Could you tell us about it?
I have a dream project, which I was thinking of for a long time. It is a portrait analog project, which is quite hard to organize physically, time-wise and logistically. I hope I will find time and courage to pursue this one.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Patience and hard work are very important in photographer’s life. With the development of digital technologies, where everyone is a photographer, many people don’t invest much time in research, preparation etc. Everyone wants to snap a shot, upload it to Instagram and become famous overnight. Nevertheless, talent and good eye are not always enough. If you want to create something great, you need to invest your passion, time, hard work and also some knowledge.

Any last words?
I think practice is a key to better pictures. By practice I don’t mean shooting your food with a mobile phone, but carefully choosing your subjects and try to get the best out of the situation. This is why analog photography is so good – since you usually only have 12 to 36 frames to shoot, you carefully choose what and how you photograph, instead of snapping bazzilion of random shots, hoping that one you will get right.

While her photographs are proof of her talent, Alina Rudya is a living testament to the truth that whoever you are, wherever you come from, or whatever past you have, you are entitled to the beauty of the world and the privilege to capture and preserve it as a memory. Our experiences can make or break us, and in Alina’s case, her past was instrumental in molding the talented individual she has become.

written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2013-09-26 in #people #lifestyle #alina-rudya #analogue-photography #interview

More Interesting Articles

  • Through the Eyes of Wolf Colony

    written by givesmehell on 2015-04-02 in #people #lomoamigos
    Through the Eyes of Wolf Colony

    LomoAmigo Wolf Colony is an incredibly talented NYC-based anonymous singer-songwriter who has taken Lomography's La Sardina camera out for a spin! Let's take a look at the series of photographs in an exclusive interview with Wolf Colony.

  • A Petzval Series with Sarah Zanon

    written by givesmehell on 2015-04-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    A Petzval Series with Sarah Zanon

    Sarah Zanon is an incredibly talented graphic design student and photographer. She has agreed to share with us her beautiful series of photographs taken with our well-loved Petzval Lens. Here's an exclusive interview with her!

  • Prypyat mon Amour II: 30 Years After Chernobyl

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-05-26 in #people #lifestyle
    Prypyat mon Amour II: 30 Years After Chernobyl

    As the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster approaches, photographer Alina Rudya hopes to revisit the lives of people who, like her, were driven out of Prypyat, Ukraine following that fateful day in 1986.

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • Petzval Amigo: Chloé Vollmer-Lo

    written by annoushka on 2015-05-27 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Chloé Vollmer-Lo

    Chloé Vollmer-Lo's photos speak for themselves. Every image, whether it's a portrait or a seemingly simple snapshot of a street alley, tells a story. The Paris-based photographer tested the New Petzval Lens 85 recently, and the results, as expected, speak volumes. She talks about her experience as a freelance photographer - and with the New Petzval Lens 85 - in this exclusive interview.

  • LomoAmigo: Sprocket Rocket Away with COIN

    written by givesmehell on 2015-04-11 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Sprocket Rocket Away with COIN

    COIN is a talented synth-pop band based in Nashville. As a LomoAmigo, the band's members have taken a series of photographs using our Sprocket Rocket camera. Find out more about them and their experience with it in an exclusive interview!

  • December 7th Advent Offer: Pick up a premium treat for less today! (Online Code: PREMIUMTREAT20)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-07 in #news
    December 7th Advent Offer: Pick up a premium treat for less today!  (Online Code: PREMIUMTREAT20)

    Searching for a great deal on an amazing camera for this holiday season? You've come to the right place! Today's Advent deal bestows an incredible 20% off our Horizon and Belair cameras as well as any of our Premium Cameras. You'll be sure to create special memories with gorgeous photographs from any one of these cameras!

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • An Overview of Shooting with an 8x10 Camera in the Field

    written by chooolss on 2014-12-09 in #lifestyle
    An Overview of Shooting with an 8x10 Camera in the Field

    Whether you have an 8x10 camera lying around that you're raring to shoot with, or just want to know the process of taking photos with it, this 15-minute clip by photographer Tim Layton is a must watch.

  • Traveling Through Different Continents with Pei Ketron and her Lomo LC-A 120

    written by givesmehell on 2015-07-17 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Traveling Through Different Continents with Pei Ketron and her Lomo LC-A 120

    Pei Ketron is an incredibly talented photographer based in San Francisco. She was born in Taiwan and raised on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Pei spent her childhood in the deserts in the southwest and spent summers embracing the monsoons of the tropics. She teaches photography on several platforms like Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and The Compelling Image, and has an impressive list of clients including Apple, Adobe and Bloomingdale's. Read on to find out what she has to say about her adventures around the world with the Lomo LC-A 120.

  • Daniela Majic's Secret Garden Through the Petzval Lens

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-01 in #people #lomoamigos
    Daniela Majic's Secret Garden Through the Petzval Lens

    Daniela Majic is a Canada-based portrait photographer who tells unique, dreamy, and fairy tale-like stories with her camera. She blends her love for fashion and craft-making in creating a theme that seems magical. Here's an interview with Majic along with a series of photographs from her latest work shot with the Petzval Art Lens, "Secret Garden," which wraps around a very intriguing concept.

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • Petzval Amigo: Ellie Smith

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-03-07 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Ellie Smith

    Ellie Smith is a London-based fashion and portrait photographer with a real talent for taking simple and beautiful portraits. Recently, she took the Petzval Art Lens to the streets of East London to capture some urban shots. Read on for the full interview and see her striking photographs.

  • Art Hunter Sardinas x STEEN

    written by mindofmyra on 2014-09-12 in #people #lomoamigos
    Art Hunter Sardinas x STEEN

    We asked some of New York’s hottest designers to lend their talent in designing some of our La Sardina DIY cameras, and we are very excited to share with you Steen of Steen Drawings. Steen is a New York based illustrator who likes to create her own fantasy world and creates stories from her wild imagination. Take a look at Steen's wonderful work and get inspired to do your own DIY project.

  • Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-04-10 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Light is Magical: A Talk With Li Hui

    Photography is not only an act of documentation or communication, it is also a way of seeing the world. The camera opens our eyes and lets us see what lies behind the obvious, and we start looking at things as potential subjects of a photograph. Every leak of light unveils secrets that talented photographers turn into a piece of art. Li Hui is one of those gifted artists. We talked to her about her work and her sensitive photographs that picture a wonderful vulnerability.