Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live now? Your background with photography, how and when you were drawn to the street genre.
I’m Olesia aka “Lesya” Kim, from Tyumen city in Siberia, but I was born and used to live in sunny Central Asian Tajikistan. This is probably the main reason why I can have a different perspective on ordinary Russian life now. I’m behaving like a foreigner with a camera up to now, even in my current hometown.
However, I started shooting while vacationing abroad, and at first this was travel photography. Everything changed a couple of years ago, when I realized that I was traveling for my photography — street photography. Before, all my trips were about long distance, and a rush in purpose to see as much as possible. Now I know exactly how I can take a perfect shot through the window in a cafe while drinking my morning cappuccino.
How do you define “street photography” for yourself?
As for me, street photography is a kind of visual sociology in a global mind, and a personal game for each photographer at the same time.
Does your local situation affect your work?
I have to say that shooting in Russia isn’t light work for street photographers at all. People here are extremely suspicious, especially about their children. It’s a “disaster” for male photographers to take photos of children at play. Russians are also shy, even compared to “ex-USSR Republics” people. Despite this fact, they can be absolutely hospitable, if you are really interested in their lifestyle.
In what ways do you think being a woman has affected your work?
Sometimes I believe that people on the street don’t take me as seriously. Moreover, I do my best to become invisible. I must admit that I have a special set of clothes for shooting — less attractive and more comfortable than usual. Nevertheless, I’m always ready with a charming smile and that always works.
Color or black and white, digital or film?
I’m crazy about color photography. Personally, I think that color is about our natural vision, and it’s also more challenging to shoot in color than in black and white.
I’m a digital photographer now but who knows…
What photographers can you name who are the most inspirational to you?
I try to track new names through the social networks. As a participant of the popular street photography contests and festivals, I also follow the winners of these. I have to say that Asian street photographers are my inspiration. Perhaps it’s a call of my blood, due to my Korean background.
Is there a special project you are working on? Or recurring themes you are often drawn to?
I have been shooting Tobolsk city as a long term street project. Tobolsk was founded in 1587, as the first town in Siberia. It used to be the capital of Siberia, until the Trans-Siberian railroad left the town aside. After that, the economic impact of Tobolsk was dramatically fallen.
Nowadays, Tobolsk is known as a centre of tourism in Siberia, and an important industrial centre of gas and oil chemistry in Russia. So, 2017 is the 430 year anniversary, and this project is my own gift to this historical city.
Olesia Kim | Instagram |