Interview with Lisa Mukhina
Youth, family, high school from Lisa Mukhina’s eye
1. Thank you for taking part in this interview. How many years have you been
photographing? How did you approach photography for the first time? Tell us more about your path.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the interview!
I have started taking pictures at the age of 12. I have come to photography more consciously at 17, when I entered the Academy of Photography”Fotografika”. As a zoomer, I immediately started shooting with a cheap digital camera. A film has interested me a couple of years ago, and only recently I have learned how to develop and print frames on my own.
Working with photography, as with something material that you can touch, fascinates me. Exposure control, time during development, working with light when printing – all this gives a sense of power that cannot be experienced with a digital camera.
2. Is there a recurrent theme in your photos? What do you want to express?
I am fascinated by the opportunity to convey a dialogue where the characters do not hear each other. This turns the cadres into a competitive struggle of truths, which eventually merge into an obscure ideology.
In the “Not found” I talk to my family through a photo so as not to break the silence. I am looking for images. Dad – black color, tension, distance. Mom – a face covered with her hands, the ghost of something leaving. The sister is white, domineering, pure as the future itself. I know that I photograph people who do not understand each other, although they are extremely close. There is no voice. This is a dialogue that none of us will dare to start.
“High school” is an image of a place that looks like a dead man, who feeds on the life of changing generations. Children are only temporary guests here. Others will come in their place, this flow cannot be stopped. It was important for me to make non-reportage and nonironic shots, to find images where creativity is not encouraged. I also made a documentary about the school, showing life from the inside of the educational process. All together (both the film and the photo project) have created something new. The dialogue of perception of the place (school) and all the subjective and humane that this place fills (teachers and students).
3. What are your main inspirations? (movies/ photographers/ directors/ music/ artistic movements ecc.)
First of all, I am inspired by life itself – each of its awkwardness, timidity, wrongness. I base my creativity on mistakes. My records are shards.
What about last films, I was struck by Kira Kovalenko’s “Unclenching the Fists”. I fell in love with the film as one falls in love with a person.
I am very inspired by Bergman, Kurosawa, Miziguchi, Teshigihara, Herzog, Fassbinder, Muratova, Tarkovsky. I like some of Pasolini’s films, but I like his poems more. And I hope to translate Herzog’s poems into Russian one day (it’s not for nothing that I’m studying to be a translator). Even if Herzog’s films are better than his poems.
Contemporary directors: Joakim Trier and Lars von Trier, Lanthimos, Eggers, Celine Sciamma, Julie Ducourneau, Balagov, Kira Kovalenko, Chloe Zhao, Jane Campion.
From contemporary photographers: Casper Wackerhausen-Sejersen, Evelyn Bencicova, Justine Tjallinks, Huang Jing, Yorgos Yatromanolakis, Hannes Wallrafen, Steven Meisel. From the classics: Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Duane Michals, Richard Avedon, Vivian Maier.
4. I see in your work there is a strong predominance of young adults and the teenage world. What is your approach on this topic? Do you think it is more documentary or more introspective?
It is not easy for me now to fit the definition of “teenager”, it’s easy for me to talk about youth. Everything I say will be true one way or another.
It is still difficult for me to draw a clear line between documentary and interpersonal. I still believe that my photo shows what really happened. It is in my power to control reality, to give it the right color, to fill it with light, air and space. Sometimes reality reciprocates me, gives in to me. And every good shot is a gift for me, like a smile or a dropped handkerchief.
5. How much does your hometown and your country (Russia) have an influence on your photos?
It really have an influence on me, I’ve been almost nowhere except Russia. I want to see the world.
6. What are your plans for the future?
I want to finish new project and then go camping.
7. Which project represents you the most and makes you more proud?
This project is not finished yet, which no one has seen up till now. From those already presented – definitely “High school“.
Lisa Mukhina was born in 2002 in St. Peterburg, Russia and since 2014 has been engaged in photography. In 2019 Lisa entered the Academy of Photography «Fotografika».
At the moment she is interested in research activities, creating projects at the intersection of art and documentary photography. Lisa is attracted to the themes of youth, gender and human interaction with the world.
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