Anton Shebetko

Kiev, Ukraine
Hello, Anton! Please, tell us about yourself. How could you describe yourself?

I’m 25 and I’m a journalist and copywriter, as regards my professional activities. I can never speak about myself. I don’t want to embellish anything but as usual life and reality are quite boring and uninteresting to post it via the Internet.

Could you proudly define yourself as a photographer?

I think I’ve not risen to the level where I can call myself a photographer but I seek to achieve it.

Tell us, please, how these all started. And what do you want it to be in the future?

It began when I had moved to Bangkok. I spent 7 months there having a lot of free time – I was a freelancer and so I didn’t have fixed schedule. I began with street-photo and little by little came to art and portrait photography and I still can’t say what genre I prefer in photography. I’m still looking around and learning something.

What encourages you to keep photographing?

My arms are itching when I see cool scene or invent a picture of something inside my head. I have a feeling my brain just switched once and now I can’t imagine how NOT to photograph.

What about commercial photography? Do you earn something from photography?

I didn’t earn a farthing and even while beginning I didn’t think of it. I could go and photograph weddings if I wanted to. But I don’t think someone would dare to allow me to photograph such event after seeing my portfolio.

All of your photographs are slightly or even more than just slightly provoking. What meaning must we see in your photographs? How did you come to these stories in your photographs?

I personally think I’m not a provoker even if you judge by conservative standards of Ukraine. Naked body can impress no one today and for me this way is the most natural one. I try to make my photos expressive. For example, «Snuff» is a series about one-night sex. It’s when you can’t remember a face of a person, or part of a body, or some specific fact and place. If we speak about a series with fruits – it is mockery of gender stereotypes and a test of character. There are only fruits on the picture. And viewer’s reaction - sometimes indignant – speaks more about them than about me and I find it to be representative. I’m a bad provoker, generally.

How do you plan your art-working process?

I don’t plan. I can come up with a story and then realize it. I can agree on a meeting with someone and then act through circumstances. Such unpredictability causes you to search and think of solutions in any situation no matter how hopeless it is.

How people react on your works? Did you have exhibitions?

Some time ago a friend of mine sent me a message asking me to make new account for my art. He didn’t want to unfollow me but he was unable to see my works at the same time. So reaction is different – from enmity to acceptance. But you can’t please everyone and I don’t photograph bears in pine forest. And I didn’t have any exhibitions.

Do you have any favorite photograph?

My favorite photograph changes very frequently, but this one was the first I remembered.

Tell us your three principles as a photographer.

To think. You have to understand why you photograph something. You can’t achieve anything without this rule.

Don’t click shutter for no reason. I still neglect this rule sometimes but I’m always fighting myself to follow it.

Don’t be afraid. It is more about photographs you’ve already made. I try not to focus on things someone could say. It does not mean you should be unresponsive to criticism – it is about worries you could have about people judging you by your works.

Who or what inspires you?

Pop-culture and the Internet. I don’t search for special sources of inspiration but I try to keep my eyes open. Sometimes it is enough.

Tell us about your personal favorite superheroes in photography. What do you think about contemporary photo industry?

They are legion. So I equally admire works of Wolfgang Tillmans and Ralph Gibson. I respect contemporary photography and it seems like I belong to it myself.

What is a «good photography» for you?

It is simple. It has to cause emotions, preferably strong ones.

Do you have any other hobbies besides photography?

Here I have nearly the same answer as in the first question. I watch some TV series, drink alcohol, go to parties and communicate with people, mainly.

And for the last, share your wildest dream with us, please.

To enjoy my life to a very old age.

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