Artur Kaplun: “Shyness is the fear of society”
A lot can be said about photographs, and even more about photographers. You can adore the works of Odessa photographer Artur Kaplun, or disagree with such an interpretation of the girl’s inner freedom, but it’s simply impossible to disagree with the fact that Arthur Kaplun is a talented photographer.
1. How long have you been doing photography and what is the story behind your start?
There is simply nowhere to study photography in Ukraine, and I think that there never will be. As a child, I went to courses in fine arts, later I attended the school named after. Kostandi. I was interested in what they would teach, and from there I learned a lot about composition, sketches, silhouettes. Like it or not, photography is the same as painting a picture, only the tools for implementation are different. A photograph is a fact that you came and took, this is what it really is. I didn’t think of becoming a photographer at all, it came naturally. Initially, I wanted to create computer games, cartoons. I studied at the institute as an art designer, I studied 3D and all the graphic editors that existed at that time. It so happened that I contacted the photographer and he offered me to process his photographs and I worked with him for two years. At that time, there were very few photographers and we parted ways on financial grounds, and I decided to take the camera in hand and start taking pictures myself. For the first six months I took more than a hundred portraits, I shot every day, with the goal of taking a beautiful portrait. I didn’t think about anything, I just shot, and that’s it! I think it is doubt that prevents many people from reaching their goal. All these master classes and so on seem to inspire people that they know nothing and cannot do anything. You know everything, just take it and do it! Six months later, I got tired of doing some portraits and I thought what to do next. I started in 2010, and already in 2011 I began to actively develop VKontakte (VK) and all photographers rushed to this social network en masse. A lot of different “publics” appeared. And I decided what needs to be chased. I began to study the market and the tastes of the public and realized in which direction I would be doing the next five years!
2. Why did you choose the Nude genre?
Even while shooting portraits, I met a model who was shot in this particular genre and decided to try to shoot it in my vision, analyzing the photos I had seen earlier. But then I was still an amateur and just studied. I studied exactly until the moment when I decided for myself that I would be engaged in this particular direction and everything else was not mine, and I simply refused all the customers who came to me. I admit, sometimes it was difficult, since it was real money, but I decided that I would shoot nudes. When you shoot in a certain genre and immediately decide to shoot something else, you just understand that it is weaker! No, it is not worse, but weaker!!! And you think, why did I waste my time on this, if I could shoot more and better in my genre. For all these ten years, I periodically attended master classes with professionals. Learning is necessary, but, most importantly, do not get bogged down in this learning. Many come to the master class and after it try to shoot exactly the same way as the photographer, becoming his clones, but this is all nonsense, because you will never become that person. I always read between the lines and when I realized that I had found the very zest that no one else has, then people will come to you! I expose not just the body, but create a plot that is interesting to watch to the end, so this is not a peeping effect, but a naked body – just as a fact of presence. Today, if I want to work with a girl, and she says she categorically does not want to be naked, then I will most likely refuse. There are many photographers who simply shoot beautifully, but for me it is a certain plot, a story. Of course, I discuss with the model what she wants,
3. How do you come up with ideas for filming so as not to be repeated?
I worked out such a scheme for myself – the photographer should deal with the vision of angles, and the model should include acting skills. I never try to build a psychological portrait of the model, I always ask the model how she sees it, what, perhaps, her unfulfilled desires, and I try to immerse the model as much as possible in the atmosphere that she told me about, trying to give her exactly what is lacking in everyday life. For example, it happens that without a gag in the mouth, the model could not open up, I understand that this is embarrassment. All these ideas are endless, because each girl has her own desires and preferences. Therefore, it is difficult for me to say where to look for ideas, they just need to be given the opportunity to be realized.
4. Are there any shoots that you are proud of?
I can say that all my works are at a decent level and I am not ashamed to put any of them in my portfolio. I taught myself that it is necessary to shoot interesting, varied, so as not to repeat. There are, of course, shootings that are closer to me, to my preferences. I love aggressive and bold shots. Shyness is the fear of society. And, if this fear is removed, then everything can be done!
5. How do you feel about “haters”, or people who consider your work just shameful?
It’s hard to beat the shit out of people when it’s already there. Therefore, it must be poured where it is needed. These people will always be there. And for those people who sensibly write their thoughts and try to understand why this is necessary, I try to explain with some examples. Perhaps he did not imagine what he was talking about. A good or bad reaction to my work is a reaction and that’s good. You need to pay more attention to those people who did not scroll through to the end of the work. You won’t be nice to everyone, but you need to strive for maximalism.
6. Have there been conflicts with models, customers, and do you sign a contract if this is a DFT shoot?
There are always problems and there will be – this is normal. But, basically, there were conflicts when initially the model allowed me to upload these photos, and then sharply told me to delete everything. Yes, there is no problem not posting some photos, but when the customer initially gave the go-ahead, and then abruptly does not remember it, then this is somehow not very good. And as for creative filming, here is the same story – a guy appears and starts to beat in hysterics, that, as it is, his girlfriend is “showed” naked))). This is another indicator of that. how weak men can be personally. If, for that matter, you can pay for this shoot at the price list, and I will delete it and do what you want with these photos. Men are crazy owners because they are afraid of something!
7. Now it is very popular among photographers to fly away for a couple of months to work in Thailand, Bali, etc. Do you have such a desire?
I am very attracted to the interiors of France, Italy, as well as tropical countries. But, there is one nuance here: in your head there is a beautiful picture, but you need to organize all this! It is more logical to do such shootings for magazines, or for shootings with a big budget. Therefore, now I am “training before the competition”. The shots that I see are very often similar to each other, and I don’t want to. Of course, in the future I will shoot abroad, but I want it to be something special!
8. Is there a magazine in which you really want to publish your work?
I used to look at the works of Playboy magazine and, somewhere, I was guided, but now Playboy in Ukraine is terrible. And I even, in part, understand why this is so – photographers are taken for free, these are all not professionals, plus all covers and spreads are sold. And, as you know, who orders – he pays, so the shooting began to not quite comply with the original policy of the magazine. For example, I post on special sites – creative platforms where people post their work in search of customers and PR. Almost the entire audience on this site is foreign, my work has already been published several times in German and American magazines. I’m interested when magazines themselves take my work, are interested in collaborating with me. I would like to shoot for Playboy, as, for a name (but not Ukrainian and Russian). I want to grow to a level where I will be invited from a height of respect.
9. How has your work influenced your personal life?
Here, I like to give the example of gynecologists. For everyone, their work has a different meaning than a lustful outlook on life. For me, photography is not a job, but a vocation, to which I pay more attention than to the girl I shoot. I had situations when they did not trust me, but, at the moment, I have an understanding that a separation of personal life and work is needed. Therefore, I have such a trusting relationship with my girlfriend Leroy that she can come to me at any time for shooting, interviews (as now). But in life, she is busy with her own business. All those who are prone to some kind of continuation after shooting have either not yet understood what they really need in life, or they have specially bought a camera for their lustful purposes. I initially had this understanding – if you bought a camera in order to simplify your life, to sleep with someone, but how insignificant you are that you cannot find a common language with a girl without a camera. I think this is indecent!
10. How do you prepare for filming?
No, absolutely. You know, in our brain there is one problem – to create unnecessary importance that prevents us from completing the task. When you learn to put this importance in front of you, well, you will get a bad shot, meet another time and do it better. The more you worry and think that something will not work out for you, then you really will not succeed! I have learned to disable this importance. The only moment that can be a little really upsetting is if the model leaves for another country and doesn’t come here anymore, or the person doesn’t become, I had such a situation. I don’t shoot weddings, so everything can be re-shot.
11. What would you say to yourself ten years ago and how do you see yourself in 10 years?
If I went back ten years, pushing myself to “don’t waste books right and left”! No matter how much money I took with me for buns, I always returned home with 20 hryvnias. I could spend this money on more reasonable things: advertising, new technology, car, travel, etc. And this I can advise absolutely everyone. In ten years, I see myself as a person who does not make concessions that he does not need and is more firm in his decisions.
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