Interview on Satellite Voices

Intricate photo-stories of hidden places around the world

And one more B&W gallery there

  • Text by Kemal Tarba

Vlad Sokhin is a talented image-maker, who via his works proves that in order to make a successful photo-story all you need is your talent, and equipment does not always matter. His photo project on a war veteran, taken by his mobile phone was highly appreciated and another mobilography projectiUglich has won a Grand Prix at International phototography festival in Uglich, Russia. Vlad spends his life travelling around the world and is into going to hardly reachable places, such as shaman villages in Africa, or the dead city of Chernobyl. Satellite Voices caught up with Vlad to talk about his photography adventure…

Satellite Voices: Your photo-stories are very different, is there something common about them?
Vlad Sokhin: People, relationships between them, the link between people and things they own. Even if my only inanimate objects are depicted on my images – the photographs are always about their owners, present or former. I am interested in social, religious and cultural differences between people and I try to show out them in my works.

SV: What do you try to say through your works?
Vlad Sokhin: Just like many other photographers, I try to show life as it is. Many aspects of our lives carefully hidden from prying eyes. So everything I find and shoot, I want to share with the rest of the world. For example, I spent a year in the Mozambican province of Tete, photographing traditional healers. In order to capture them, I went to very remote places where you almost never see white people. In the remote villages of Africa, I found the traditional healers and made their portraits while their bodies were visited by spirits. Now I have the opportunity to show how these people look like their surroundings, environment. Now everyone can see them in the hut and find out what their names are, what are spirits they are being visited.


SV: What do you enjoy about the medium of photography?
Vlad Sokhin: When I shoot, I try to learn something new from my heroes and happy to share with them something of my own. The shooting process is always a way of working together. I also love to experiment. For example, I shot a few stories with my mobile phone. One such project on the Moroccan city of Fez, I want to publish as a book, and my story, captured by my iPhone won the Grand Prix at Uglich festival.

SV: What was your hardest project and why?
Vlad Sokhin: I had several hard projects. Chernobyl, Great Dancers Nyau… The hardest one, perhaps, is a photo-story “Obama-mania in Kenya.” In Kenya in general it is not easy to shoot, you feel like being at a war – you take out the camera from your bag and  people around you immediately start to scream, curse, try to take away your camera or get the money. During shooting, I met Barack Obama’s stepbrother – George Hussein Obama. So, he has a business of making money on behalf of his brother. He and his accomplices tried to get money from me. They constantly threatened my driver not to translate me what they talked about. In general, the shooting was very nervous, but as I see it, very successful.

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