If you’re serious about your photography, then you know that attending a photo conferences will do wonders for your work. You find yourself exposed to different ways of thinking and seeing, which you can take and apply to your voice in photography.
What did you miss at SILK Inspire 2017? Three days of artist talks, an exchange of ideas and thoughts in an atmosphere filled with love for photography, creative, emotional, stunning visuals from weddings and so much more! The festival brought together an eclectic mix of talent which included, among others, the Ukraine born artist, Sergey Ivanov.
For the uninitiated, Sergey Ivanov is a photographer who creates a fantastical world for his wedding clients. You can see the influence of classical painting in his work quite clearly. It’s evident in his use of light and the arrangement of supporting figures in his composition. During his talk at SILK Inspire, Sergey mentioned that one of the reasons he creates a surreal world is because of the situation in his home, Ukraine. With venues like schools and auditoriums being the only available ones, Sergey wanted to transport his clients from reality to fantasy in their wedding memories. Where you expect tender portrayals of love and affection, Sergey’s wedding imagery delves into surreal themes that could be out of a fairytale, a gritty bar setting, Alice in Wonderland or feature ‘The Thing’ from The Addams Family movie.
Apart from an exciting talk, Sergey conducted a 2-day workshop that took participants through everything from his creative visualization, the actual shoot to how he finishes processing his photograph in Photoshop. This was Sergey’s first masterclass in India, and he was more than happy with the response. “I learned so much from the participants themselves! They were curious and asked a lot of questions which made me happy to share my knowledge and experience with them. Comparatively, people in Europe are closed and don’t show an eagerness to learn. But here, people were not shy about asking me anything. I had a good experience, and I hope to repeat it someday.”
Wedding Photography Workshop – Sergey Ivanov in India
With imagery as unique and surreal as Sergey’s, one can only imagine the scope of his workshop, which promised to be as detailed and elaborate as his imagery.
“I had been following Sergey’s work for the last four years and couldn’t believe my luck when I heard he was visiting India. I had never been exposed to work as his, and I just wanted to hear him talk about his art. Learning how he creates his images was only a bonus for me. He was the antithesis of what I had learned at SILK Inspire 2016. And that is a great thing because now I get to derive inspiration from multiple sources and create something that is more in tune with my flavour.” says Abhimanyu Sharma, a wedding photographer and one of the Top 5 winners of the SILK Awards 2016.
Arjun Mahajan was drawn to how different Sergey’s work was from his own. “I saw his art, and it was everything that my art was not. It was the polar opposite of what I had ever done. I took up the workshop to move out of my comfort zone.” Arjun has been a wedding photographer since 2010 and identifies as having a photojournalistic style.
Parag Aurora is a photographer who likes to mix the creative and the candid, and he attended the masterclass to understand Sergey’s process, “I wanted to learn how Sergey played with light! I consider him to be a painter more than a photographer and his workshop wasn’t a photography workshop but more of an art workshop where we understood the fundamentals of a good visual/picture/art.”
You Can Create Anything As Long As You Can Imagine It
At the end of the two days, the participants were in agreement; they came out better photographers than when they went in. Sergey not only showed them how to paint with software and gear but also pushed them to become better artists. “Sergey stressed upon the need to be different from the other photographers out there…to be artists rather than just photographers,” says Arjun. “He broadened my outlook towards creating art. He made me believe that with light, I could create virtually anything– as long as I could imagine it.”
“I enjoyed the fact that Sergey didn’t try to compress the workshop into one day. Everyone appreciated that. There was theory and shooting on Day 1 while Day 2 was dedicated to revising that theory and post-production. I think it was a great format, and I found it to be in-depth and detailed ” says Abhimanyu.
“I would never have thought about shooting couple portraits in harsh sunlight, but Sergey opened my eyes to what’s possible even when sunlight is at its worst. And despite the workshop being in Russian, his translator Marina, did a fantastic job and nothing was lost in translation,” says Parag.
For Sergey, it was all about teaching and sharing what he knew. “My main purpose was to inspire people so that they can improve their technique. I observed the participant’s reactions and found that they were happy and got their answers. What can be better for a teacher, when his students show enthusiasm, understand everything and want to implement it eagerly.”
Evidently, for both participants and panelists, SILK Inspire 2017 was a game-changing experience. Sergey is an accomplished photographer and a professional for several years now, and he too found himself learning a lot from the conference. “Each photographer has been a source of inspiration. It was interesting to see how each speaker treated their work and the technicals in their photography. I envied each participant in the festival as they had so much opportunity here and I loved the fact that people had come from all over India to attend and learn. I liked that Sephi and Shefi (the powerhouses behind SILK Inspire) made the whole conference feel like a family. It didn’t feel commercial. I felt the care and love of the organizers, and they supported me in every way possible.”
It was even more special for Sergey as it was his first visit to India and he stayed on for a week after the conference. “I find the colors and nature very inspiring, and I can’t wait to shoot a wedding here. I wanted to go understand India and its culture more intimately. I love how everybody treats each other here in India.”
SILK Inspire 2017 was an unforgettable experience for all those who were a part of it. And, if you missed it, there’s no need to fear as SILK Inspire 2018 is all set to come to Bengaluru next October. Will we see you there?
Silk Photos will be organising a couple of new master classes for Sergey Ivanov in India, most likely at the end of February 2018. One will take place in Mumbai, and the other in Kochi. If you are interested in attending any of these workshops please stay tuned as we will announce the dates on our social media once they are confirmed. If you want Sergey to come to your city, and can help put a group together, please contact us by email.