Olga Stepanian of Cherkasy – a city in central Ukraine – was supposed to be a seamstress but constantly thought of photography. At one point in her life, she decided that she could no longer remain silent. From behind the lens, she tells stories that do not seem to be too influenced by and are not necessarily representative of her cultural setting. “I don’t think my location affects my work much,” she says.
Olga likes the fashion and portrait photographer Rodney Smith (born 1947) – famous for his minimalistic and whimsical art, Sally Mann (born 1951) – known for her provocative shots of the naked and the dead and Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) – a pioneer of candid and street photography. These are the figures she tried to study in depth. She made an effort to understand the thoughts and intentions behind the moments they would capture.
Olga’s present portfolio is made up of highly cinematic black and white shots that quietly explore a variety of feelings and situations – loneliness and estrangement, bondage and freedom, restlessness, even gossip. A young girl is suspended limply between two ladders on a barren piece of land. Annoying and frightening human hands emerge from within the cracks of a white wall, urgently wanting to seize and stifle anything within reach. An individual so feels the crushing force of the demands of daily life that they retreat into a cocoon of bandage.
The photographer says of her melancholic and deeply reflective art: “Everyone is different and everyone has a different view of the world, I’m just doing what’s important to me. One can look at these pictures and read them the way they want.”
All images used with permission.