It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Close Up & Private ... in fact, it was the subject of the first post on this blog. So I figured, what could be more fitting for a first interview than one with Sergei Sviatchenko? With no further ado, read on and enjoy.
DG&AS: You're quite well known for your work in collage. I think that this comes across in Close Up & Private in the way you're mixing and matching elements of clothing in tightly cropped shots, in the layout of the site and in your treatment of the photos. Was this a conscious choice?
SS: Yes, it was. It is as I continue to work with collage, but now with elements of clothing, inspired by their colours, structure and shape. My friend and collaborator Nello Rosso created the ideal web "frame" for these works.
DG&AS: What is the intent of Close Up & Private? Are you trying to convey a viewpoint on style or are you simply documenting something you see going on around you?
SS: I am trying to create an alternative aesthetic of fashion photography -- timeless, calm, meditating, suggesting -- not pushing or dictating. I think I work with it as with my other art projects -- it begins with lonely focusing on a particular subject and then developing it into something I share with others. This time I reached a very different audience.
DG&AS: You seem to be focused on a preppy, Ivy League style that (to me at least, as a Canadian) is traditionally associated with the United States. Do you think that being a Ukrainian guy living in Denmark gives you a unique perspective?
SS: I like the classical, historical aspects of Ivy League style, but using preppy elements of clothing was more for the sake of its quality. My aim was to create a "closeupandprivate" collage of the elements of clothing I have and like.
DG&AS: Are you working with a stylist at all on this project? Or is the styling something you're doing yourself?
SS: The idea is to photograph by taking my Leica from my pocket with no light construction, make up or stylists. My Danish dogme.
DG&AS: Why do you think style is important? Or is it?
SS: I think it is important, but without postulates or agendas. It is one of the expressive needs of humans.
DG&AS: What are your upcoming plans for the project? A book? An Exhibition? Your own clothing line?
SS: A book, an exhibition – yes, it will be nice.
DG&AS: What other projects do you have on the go besides Close Up & Private?
SS: My collages are in some publications in England and Japan. I'm trying to find a new place to show my exhibition, the homage to Andrei Tarkovsky called "Mirror by Mirror," previously shown in Denmark and Germany.