Monday, September 28, 2009

interview for ROUGE magazine (september issue)

one of the best gifts for my 30th birthday this september was a 4-pages long interview for ROUGE magazine.
i have a long-term relationship with ROUGE, and i dearly love this glossy bulgarian publication for its quality and very personal, warm attitude of people who work there.

for about an hour i talked to natalia georgieva, one of ROUGE's editor, over the phone. she was curious to know about my childhood back in russia, about my experience being a lawyer, and how i became a fashion photographer at the end, about my vision, goals, and dreams. for me this interview (one of the most deep and detailed interviews i ever gave) became sort of journey into myself. answering natalia's questions i came to understanding of many events and coincidences in my life.

i won't bore you with translation of all 4 pages (alas for my english-speaking readers even though given originally in english my interview was translated into bulgarian which i myself hardly understand) but give you just a little tease consisting of first 3 questions (which is something i never publicized before):

1. Let’s start with your childhood. You grew up in St Petersburg. What was your childhood in Russia?
Actually, my childhood was split between St.Petersburg (where my parents moved shortly after I was born) and Nerekhta, small town in the province of Kostroma, 4 hours by train north-east from Moscow where all my family, both mom’s and dad’s side, still lives. Most of the time I lived with my parents in St.Pete but in summer it was always time to go to my grandparents. It was like living 2 different lives – in St.Pete my childhood was filled with weekly visits to children’s theaters and museums, art school where I was taught to draw since I was 6, my father’s restoring workshop where I was allowed to stamp on little round metal plates, my mom’s sewing machine and hand-made toys and clothes she was making for me since I was little, my parents’ extensive library with art books my dad used to collect. While at my grandparents life was more simple and close to nature: they had a house and little garden, as well as chickens, rabbits, and a goat, and I enjoyed spending time there taking care of animals, or riding my bike, or going fishing with my grandpa, or spending time at the clinic where my grandma used to work.

2. Tell us more about your parents? What do they do?
My dad is an antique restorer, he works with metal; He used to work for both private antique stores and museums, including restoration of the Peter&Paul’s chiming clock. He is also a jeweler (but he only makes jewelry for me and my Mom) and a very good photographer himself. (Since early childhood I vividly I remember his Zenith camera he took with him everywhere and spending nights with him printing pictures in our blacked-out living room)
My mom got her degree in nuclear engineering but since I was a sickish child and could barely attend kindergarten she quit her job and stayed with me at home. Thanks to her I learnt to read and write before going to school, as well as for years she used to be our home fashion designer making beautiful, perfectly fitting clothes for all our family. Later on when I was already going to high-school she got herself a job as a secretary in St.Peterbsurg State University, and couple years ago she, being 52 y.o., undertook a degree program in accounting and changed her career drastically. I am very proud of my parents, they have always been my role models and most important people in my life.

3. Do you come back to Russia nowadays? Has it changed? Would you like to live there?
I usually go to visit my family once a year. For the past 5 years since I am in United States the country has definitely changed but so did I, and my perspective of the world. It’s hard to say which is more. I was happy there and never intended to leave but it happened so, and I have neither regrets nor plans to come back to Russia anytime soon. I started new life here, and for what I do right now it is better to be in New York. It was a conscious and very reasonable decision. In couple years it might change and I might move to Europe or somewhere else– I don’t know. I guess I am a rolling stone, I’ve always been, for me it’s hard to settle in one place, doing just one thing. But no matter where I live and what I do I am proud to be Russian.

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