In the quietude of the night, Sergey "FOND" Savenko brings the world alive with his camera, capturing moments where light dances gracefully alongside human figures. Sergey has carved out a unique niche in the art world, where night photography meets light drawing. We had the pleasure to delve into Sergey's fascinating journey and philosophy that underpin his stunning portfolio. Let's uncover the magic behind his artwork in this insightful conversation.
Retro Kolkata : Sergey, your work beautifully marries the concepts of night photography and light drawings. Can you describe your journey towards this intersection of nocturnal lifestyle and visual art?
Sergey : I've always been a creative person. My journey started with excellent grades in drawing during high school, followed by music school. My interest in digital art began in 2003 when a friend introduced me to Photoshop. I immediately loved creating art digitally. Parallel to this, I began writing music using the FL Studio program. By 2009, I had begun working as a DJ, and designing posters for parties, which fostered my love for the nightlife and honed my skills in Photoshop.
Retro Kolkata : Despite light being the primary subject, you state that in your photographs, the main role is occupied by a person. How do you achieve this balance and what does it mean to you in your work?
Sergey : Since the outset, I noticed that photos featuring people are more engaging and lively. Including a human element adds a narrative layer, bringing depth and richness to the composition. Moreover, light drawings serve as a complementary artistic element, accentuating the central character. This approach engages viewers more, allowing them to immerse themselves in the scene, potentially seeing themselves in the character's place. That's why I prioritize human subjects in my shoots, using light as my artistic medium.
Retro Kolkata : Long exposure night photography allows you to capture the invisible and transform even the most familiar places. Can you share some experiences or results that particularly astounded you?
Sergey : I was once stunned to discover the myriad of stars visible in the sky when I used a shutter speed of over 20 seconds—a sight normally invisible to the naked eye. Moreover, introducing light into dark spaces transforms them, evoking a novel, surreal feeling. Even shifting a lamp can alter the atmosphere drastically, akin to stepping into another reality, even in familiar surroundings.
Retro Kolkata : You mentioned that you were inspired by photographers Eric Pare and Denis Smith. Can you tell us more about how their work influenced your artistic vision, and who are your current inspirations?
Sergey : Initially, I bought a camera to enter the photostocks and design stocks industry, but quickly lost interest finding it monotonous. My true inspiration came in March 2017, when I stumbled upon Denis Smith's work with light balloons. It was a revelation. Within a day, I had absorbed all available material from him and ventured to recreate the light balls myself. Although my first attempts were odd, I enjoyed the process immensely. My journey further led me to Eric Pare & Kim Henry, who generously shared the nuances of night photography on their YouTube channel. These artists catalyzed my passion for night photography, and I am immensely grateful for the adventures and precious moments it has brought into my life.
Retro Kolkata : Having been born in the Rostov region and graduating with a degree in system engineering, how did your background influence your passion and career in photography?
Sergey : Growing up in the picturesque southern region of Russia, I was surrounded by diverse landscapes—from seas to deserts—which significantly influenced the scope and grandeur of my photography projects. My engineering background facilitated a swift grasp of the technicalities of photography, fostering innovation and technical advancements in my work.
Retro Kolkata : Working as a DJ and a graphic designer must have shaped your aesthetics and approach to visual arts. Can you share how these experiences have contributed to your photography?
Sergey : Absolutely, my stint as a DJ and designer nurtured a keenness for innovation and meticulous attention to detail. While I appreciate retro elements, I'm driven by a desire to explore the latest technologies and contemporary creativity. I believe the day I stop embracing new trends, I would feel old.
Retro Kolkata : You began as a retoucher for a wedding photographer before transitioning into night photography. How did this initial experience in retouching inform your current work?
Sergey : Working under the mentorship of Igor Bulgak, a renowned photographer, sharpened my eye for photography. I rapidly developed an aptitude for distinguishing quality in photographs, setting high standards for my work from the onset. This role presented challenging tasks demanding top-notch quality, a standard I upheld as I ventured into photography myself.
Retro Kolkata : Your photos have been recognized in photo contests and have won the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards. How does this recognition impact you and what does it mean for your career?
Sergey : Ironically, my winning entry at the Sony World Photography Awards was a daytime photograph of my wife racing towards Mount Elbrus, Europe's pinnacle. Yet, my night photography has garnered numerous accolades in various competitions. Participating in these contests validates my efforts, affirming that my creations merit attention. It also offers a wonderful platform to network with peers and showcase my work to an engaged audience.
Retro Kolkata : Can you share your thought process or methodology when you're conceptualizing and executing a project? Do you plan meticulously or prefer spontaneity?
Sergey : The creative journey entails various phases, starting with emulating others' works to master techniques and acquire new skills. Eventually, one strives to innovate, infusing personal flair into their creations. Planning and spontaneity are both integral to my workflow, offering stability and the chance for serendipitous discoveries, respectively. Maintaining high quality, a keen eye for detail, and a constant drive for innovation are my guiding principles. In my view, success hinges on honing a distinctive style and a comprehensive skill set, fostering greater recognition and financial rewards.
Retro Kolkata : Finally, looking forward, what new techniques or concepts are you eager to explore in your work? Are there any upcoming projects you can share with our readers?
Sergey : We're witnessing a revolution in visual art, with realistic 3D and neural networks ushering in unprecedented opportunities. I'm captivated by the prospects of expressing my ideas through these avant-garde tools. However, I'm determined to craft something unique, steering clear of the mainstream penchant for simply creating beautiful images. While I'm yet to unveil my ventures into 3D and neural networks, I anticipate revealing something remarkable soon.
In this illuminating interview, Sergey "FOND" Savenko has graciously led us through his luminous journey in the world of night photography, shedding light on his techniques, inspirations, and visions for the future. As he stands on the cusp of a new artistic frontier, we eagerly anticipate the remarkable innovations Sergey will bring to the world of visual art. With an unwavering commitment to quality and originality, Sergey promises to continue captivating audiences with his radiant and mesmerizing creations, painting the night with strokes of light and creativity.