Photographer: Oleksandr Tymkanych's Series Fantasyland

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Oleksandr Tymkanych is a 24 year old Ukrainian artist who lives and works in the Czech Republic. Oleksandr showed interest in the medium of photography from a quite young age and thus decided to study at the Secondary School of Applied Arts. When he later on went to University he discovered the Polaroid! He was fascinated by this new photographic expression after attending a workshop in Slovakia. He was captured forever! He has experimented with SX70, Spectra, SLR 680 and is currently working with- the starting to become obsolete- Fuji FP-100C film.

“Instant film immediately fascinated me. The magic of instant photography is today a very special feeling for me with a unique work of a material that has specific qualities; slight blurring, not too distinctive colors, and unmistakable qualities of a chemical process that cannot replace anything else. Even though someone may consider these qualities as a particular mistake or disadvantage when working. I try to use them for my own benefit; a seemingly separate process that does not interfere with it and influence it in any way. This is a very wide area for me to experiment with the instant material in the way of lighting itself, influencing the exposure and in various ways of developing photographs.”

His main interest is to work with expired material and be prone to surprises they can offer. He is always trying to find new ways to work with these materials and push the limits of the production to new intriguing ways in order to obtain extraordinary results.

Oleksandr’s series entitled Fantasyland is about a land of imagination, hope and dreams. Times, boundaries, are unknown in this imaginary world and the artist invites us to discover the unique inhabitants of unknown origins and location. Fantasyland is a series of constructed landscapes exhibiting great colour alternation and creating a playful atmosphere between objects and shadows.

The series is created with a Polaroid SX-70 camera and film; made up of 20 images presenting, in this imaginary land of no time or boundaries, a series of imaginary creatures creations of the artist’s imagination. “I use instant film to create emotive abstract still life. The result is two combined series of constructed landscapes and imaginary animals. The series, called Fantasyland, was created within the framework of a university project entitled "Animals". The process of the creation of these images was quite complicated. In order to create individual still life first I had to make backgrounds. I used mostly simple materials which I had around me – paper or cloth and then I started creating special surroundings for each image. I constructed it with natural materials like flowers, wooden pieces, stones etc. The last step was to create creatures that could exist in this surrounding and inhabit it. To create these creations, I most often used different types of wires, latex, and gips. Then they were shaped by hand like small statues. Lighting on these images is the most important thing. I used a variety of light sources, from colour filters, small hand lights, led lights and etc... I decided to use instant film because I want to express that everyone should develop their imagination. With this series I let mine run wild. Each of these photographs should draw the audience into their environment and devour them into the world of imagination. I knew that these properties offer me only a Polaroid SX-70 because it has ISO 125 and I can experiment with longer exposure time.”

Most of Oleksandr’s current projects, whether it is a school project or his own free project, he tries to work with classical materials. Oleksandr is inspired by his everyday experiences, feelings and surroundings, for instance movies and music. He dreams of travelling abroad after his studies.

Even though quiet young, Oleksandr has been published in the book Eighteenth Harvested, a book produced by the department of Advertising Photography at Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic in April of 2016. He has participated in the exhibitions at Polagraph Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic as apart of their Material exhibition in July of 2016 and at Slovakia HalmiSpace as a part of their Polaroid exhibition in September 2016. He also been featured online at PolaroidLove.cz and DesignMagazin.cz.

Nowadays, he is focusing on his bachelor work, which will be dedicated to instant photography. But, of course he still works on new smaller projects with instant material such as FujiFilm FP-100C and Polaroid SPECTRA. “I have a great interest on expired films; I hope to present some of these projects in the future. And who knows maybe someday I will be able to use instant film for advertising work!”

You can connect Oleksandr on Instagram! 


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Lina Manousogiannaki is a visual artist based in Brussels, Belgium. She is a passionate Instant photographer and an editor of the Urbanautica online visual platform. Connect with Lina Manousogiannaki on her website and Instagram!


Photographer: P.V.'s Polaroids of People

P.V. is an 25 year photographer born and raised in Brooklyn New York who is quickly establishing himself as a unique NY personality by utilizing instant film to capture Polaroids of some of your favorite hip-hop artists like Jay Z, Pharrell and Alicia Keys. His authentically captured candid photographs are further decorated with impromptu scribblings by the artists themselves that adds a degree of honesty and character to his images. Phil's instant film work is filled with a robust amount of personality, style and energy that captures the energy of strangers and celebrties alike.

P.V.'s teenage years were influenced by the Brooklyn Neighborhood he grew up in, P.V. has been creating art work in various capacities since he can remember. His earliest creative outlet was creating graphics via Photoshop for t-shirts for friends and himself to wear on and off the basketball court. As his artist skills progressed Phil took additional influence from the internet, spending time on forums and discussion boards where he would communicate with his peers from around the world. 

The combination of his real-life and internet connections has resulted in P.V.'s existence becoming a real life movie: constantly filled with a stream of animated characters. With this in mind, he originally planned to pursue film direction to capture his surroundings and tell their stories. However, as time went on Phil realized it would be extremely difficult to fund and accomplish this vision and settled with buying his first digital camera to capture the world around him in 2011. After a years of solid shooting, Phil realized that digital photography wasn’t fulfilling and he went searching for a film camera & ended up with a Polaroid 600.

Fast forward to 2016 and P.V.'s work has now been exhibited on more than 10 occasions and he has been hired to work on campaigns or events surrounding his unique approach Polaroid photography. His first exhibition took place at the Impossible Project Space in Soho, New York City in July of 2013. His most recent exhibition took place at The Storefront Project Gallery in New York City in February of 2017 alongside and in partnership with fellow photographer Justin Aversano. The exhibition, titled “Equipoise”, displayed the various ways in which Polaroid photography can be used. This exhibition was also in partnership with PolaroidsOfPeople, an organization P.V. created to build a community of like minded Polaroid photographers and enthusiasts. When Phil is not managing PolaroidofPeople he works as a co-manager of a clothing brand, a social media manager, and a graphic designer. If this wasn't impressive enough, P.V.'s work has also received attention from Vibe, the Impossible Project Magazine, and Complex

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with P.V.'s about his instant film work and his experiences shooting strangers, artists and musicians in New York City. After you read the interview, connect with P.V. on Instagram and on his website!

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Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired to you to keep using it?
Subconsciously Instant film has been a part of my life for as long as i can remember, from seeing the medium used by family members when i was a kid, similar to every child born between the 80’s and 90’s. Instant film become something i personally wanted to explore in the summer of 2012. I was using a digital camera but wanted something less direct & standard, more point & shoot & unorthodox. I decided to purchase a Polaroid camera from Ebay, but i had no idea where to get film for the first few days. Right before i was about to look for an alternative, i discovered the Impossible Project. I’ve been shooting since. It was the organic connection and interaction between an instant photo, myself and the person i was shooting that made me continue to shoot instant film, an instant collaboration with no rules.

How did growing up and living in Brooklyn NY influence the subjects you choose to capture? Do you think you would have had the same creative passion if you were born elsewhere?Brooklyn is filled with sights, sounds & characters. Growing up, School and the streets has always been a fashion show, which is what first sparked my interest in anything creative, clothing. Clothing was the first way to express ourselves. From there i learned about graphics and Photoshop. I started creating t shirts, which ultimately led to photography. This was my first visual experiment. Brooklyn is filled with visual inspiration, i couldn't imagine growing up anywhere else in the world.

Since you started shooting in 2012 you have photographed strangers in and around New York City. What have you learned about your neighbors through this activity that you might have not known or understood otherwise? What are your ways of approaching people while working in the streets generally?
I almost never shoot a complete strangers in the city, there’s way too many to choose from. I started out shooting my friends & artists I’m genuinely a fan of. Some of these artists aren't strangers to me, because of their art, but i’m definitely a complete stranger to them. I usually approach them & ask to take their photo face to face, as simple as that. No politricks, just a guy with a camera. I’ve learned that, in most cases, you simply get what you ask for, if you ask with manners at the right time and place. I’ve also learned that everyone loves something about instant photography.

Can you share with us a positive experience that surprised you when photographing a stranger on the street? One that we wouldn't expect?
Some Artists that I've met for the absolute first time have invited me into their personal homes and spaces to be photographed. I always appreciate their transparency and their appreciation for the art of photography. They understand that i'm there to show love and make them look good, and i'm grateful for that understanding without having to explain anything at all.

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When did you begin photographing well known musicians and artists as apart of your photography? How is shooting "famous" individuals different from shooting strangers on the street? How is it the same?
I began photographing well known musicians and artists the same week i bought my first pack of film. I never shoot “famous” people, it's always artists I'm genuinely a fan of, regardless of their status. Its always organic, I don't chase fame of any sort. For example, the first time I shot a portrait of Pharrell, it was at a Pharrell concert. The interaction is the same between between shooting my friends & shooting well known individuals, i aim to shoot the best portrait every time. The only difference is the amount of time & amount of photos i can take. In some situations i’ve had less than 10 seconds compose myself to take a photo but some of these shots are my favorite images.

How do you gain access to these types of individuals? What is their reception to your SX-70 and the Polaroids you shoot of them?
I gain access by being persistent, by being honest about my intentions, and by being respectful. This has led to personal relationships. At times it’s easier than perceived to gain access, at times it's more difficult. Almost everyone is surprised to see someone shooting with an SX-70 camera that they haven't seen in over 20 years, which opens up an entirely different conversation, but i still want to get a good portrait. The camera isn't a prop or a toy, it's a medium. There’s a mutual respect for each others art.

Can you share with us a story of you attempting and succeeding to shoot an individual that you didn't think you would have a chance to?
When i was younger, i didn't have a desire to be a photographer or anything related to art. As a fan of music I've always looked up artists like Pharrell, Jay-Z or Swizz Beatz, as a kid on the school bus. Now in the year 2017, so much stuff has happened that i feel anything is possible. We’re all humans who desire love. All it takes is persistence, timing and luck to achieve anything. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. As long as i have my camera with me, anything is possible.


One of the unique aspects of your work is you encourage your subjects to draw and write on the border of your Polaroid images. These personalizations are more than just autographs. How do you feel their personal touch influences the photograph itself?
Their personal touch is the organic interaction i was searching for when i was searching for a camera to buy. I didn't just want to be another person with another camera, especially in 2017, where we all have cameras on our phones. I’ve also been interested in graphics longer then I've been interested in photography, original handwriting is the best graphic of all in my opinion. A Photo is a photo no matter what medium you use, but the opportunity to instantly collaborate and interact with the actual photo is something than cannot be achieved via any other medium of art or photography. It's a collaboration that you can physically see and hold in the palm of your hands. I'm the type of person to prefer handwritten over typed. It's a feeling.

Your work has been gaining more and more momentum over the years which has resulted in gallery showings and features in print. What do you think it is about your series that draws people to it?
It's organic.

How have you grown and evolved as an artist since you began your style of Polaroid photography? How has your approach and technique changed since you began?

I’ve grown to trust myself behind a camera. I’m learning to master one of the key components of photography which is light, displaying your subject in the best light. This is something I've had to learn on my own since I've never been taught formally.

I’m also realizing that photography can be a tool for you to express your own alternative interests. I now run the PolaroidsOfPeople brand (PolaroidsOfPeople.com), a community of Polaroid photographers and enthusiasts. Here is where we are able to express ourselves through various mediums, with photography as an underlying theme. Everything starts with a photo.

Now that you have five years of instant film shooting under your belt, what is your opinion on what makes a memorable Polaroid photograph?
It’s all about the moments in time, moment that we can never get back or re-live. Love makes a memorable photograph.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us.
Check out PolaroidsOfPeople.com & stay in tuned. A lot in store.


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Michael Behlen is a photography enthusiast from Fresno, CA. He works in finance and spends his free time shooting instant film and seeing live music, usually a combination of the two. He is the founder of PRYME Editions. Connect with Michael Behlen on his Website and on Instagram!