artist spotlight: yury bird

“Flying (self portrait)”  (c) Yury Bird

“When film is not a document, it is a dream. That is why [Andrei] Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. He doesn’t explain. What should be explained anyhow?  He is a spectator, capable of staging his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most willing of media.”Ingmar Bergman

If you had to describe your overall photographic vision in 25 words or less, what words would you choose?

I feel I am at a loss for the right words to describe my photography.  Many people find my images very minimalist.  Images, of course, do not contain words, but my images do express words such as silence, horizon, and loneliness.   I want to express the state of those spaces that are abandoned by humans but still influenced by them. I do not want to bother my viewers with unnecessary signs; after all, a modern spectator is already overwhelmed with information, and he cannot escape from this flow. On the other hand, my photos have absolutely no deep sense and do not really require any words to describe them.  They are experienced on a subconscious level.   In the end, what words can describe a long exposure capture of the part of a concrete beam of a pier poking out of  the water or a ghost of a boat near the horizon?    It is probably better to look at my images without the influence of any words.  Looking is enough.   Everyone will most probably find their own words.

"The audience" (c) Yury Bird

“The audience” (c) Yury Bird

Who are three of your favorite photographers, and, more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?

At first glance , it may seem that Michael Kenna or David Fokos have fundamentally influenced my photography. However, it is not quite so. I was born near the sea in the small port town of Skadovsk  in Ukraine, and I spent a lot of time on the seashore – exploring piers during sunsets  – its light, its boats, and its silence.   I still remember, from my childhood, the sunset sky and the dawns over the horizon.  Many years later, after moving away to a big city and becoming a photographer, I came back to my homeland and then traveled around Asia; my recollections and new perceptions have been visualized through the lens of my camera.  I was never trying nor am I now trying to copy or imitate the maestros – everything has been happening without any influence.  I can call myself a self-reliant seascape photographer; most of my works are dedicated to and inspired by the sea.

What artistic influences, outside of photography, have had a significant influence on how you approach your photography (for example, painters, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc.)? 

The modern fine arts are so contradictory that I usually ignore them.  They do not impress me.  I like viewing photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson, canvasses by Salvador Dali, and normally that is enough for me. As for cinema, I am deeply impressed by Andrei Tarkovsky.   His use of space abandoned by humans, but still humanized, is very close to my creations.  Music is a very significant source of inspiration.  Besides classical music (especially Bach), I prefer Ambient Atmospheric Dark Doom Music.  At first sight, this music is very different from my photography, but it completes the photos.  It is hard to explain; it is more of a subjective perception.  The music is like the mood of nature – changing rapidly from a flat, calm sea to a powerful, raging sea storm.

"Strange boat" (c) Yury Bird

“Strange boat” (c) Yury Bird

Why are you so drawn to long exposure photography?

I have tried to find new approaches for my photos based on my own perception of the environment.  This concerns both the shooting technique and some other new styles, including genre shooting, portraiture, landscape, film and digital photography.  But every time I have explored these other approaches, I have always returned to the same manner of depiction, the same look and technique.  I came back to digital and long exposure photography because it allows my photos to look mysterious with a philosophical underlying idea.  The atmospheric tone of the photo, the motion outside the time, draws one’s attention to the static (dynamic) object in the face of the dynamic (static) foreground (background), or, on the contrary, it freezes the object in the infinite stream of  time.  This nuance or minute is very hard to capture.  This requires not only the knowledge of the long exposure photography technique, but also the awareness of a luminous flux, of the lighting, the shadows of an image.  This is what I like most about this shooting technique. It is hard work.  One can fail to get the required result.  You do not depend on the camera, but on the state of objects and the surrounding nature.

"Sleeping dragon" (c) Yury Bird

“Sleeping dragon” (c) Yury Bird

If you had to come up with one very important lesson that you think every photographer needs to learn, what would it be?

The first question  that comes to my mind is: should one share his knowledge and unique discoveries about shooting techniques and disclose them to other photographers?  Whether the answer is yes or no, another question arises: can you teach a photographer to see and sense the world in the way you do?  The current state of information and technology allows one to copy, to mimic, the works of others easily.  But the photographer who only copies others will only lose his individuality and just become a clone.  Self-development and the search are the main lessons for any photographer.  This is what he or she must always strive to do in order to avoid being in the shadows of others.

What photographic cliché or common photography question, if any, irritates you the most? 

What annoys me the most is when someone tries to copy a photo I have already created instead of taking something on his own with different lighting and at different angle.  Also, I cannot understand those photographers who substitute photographic technique with Photoshop technique, making, for example, various collages and applying motion blur through software instead of using long exposure techniques with a camera.

"æube" (c) Yury Bird

“æube” (c) Yury Bird

Is there any specific place that you would like to visit to take photos?

As a seascape photographer and a traveler, I wish to visit Iceland. This place attracts me most and I feel excited about the mysterious alien-planet-like landscapes and fantastic terrain reliefs. Despite the fact that many photographers have visited Iceland, I believe I would succeed in finding a place worth taking my own photos. I am very attracted by the salty, dried-up lakes, the empty spaces, the horizons, the unusual reliefs of the seashore rocks, and the water spaces.

Why do you prefer black and white photography?

I do tend to prefer black-and-white photography and usually crop photos to a square.  I use Nikon cameras and lenses, branded ND filters and grads. Why black-and-white?  First of all, it is creative photography, and it allows one to focus on shapes and interrelations of elements and objects of the image  without being distracted by the color.  The blacks and whites combine the light and the shadow,  bringing a three-dimensional-like representation of the photographed subject or scene, thus telling us its story in the frame.  As a rule, color dilutes and breaks down the frame, which then loses its integrity as it takes a viewer’s attention away from the main scene with its display of manycolors.  However, despite this, I do not abandon the use of color completely and still enjoy experimenting with it. In conclusion, I would like to thank you, Nathan.  It is a great privilege for me to be a part of this eZine and share my ideas and photos with its readers and my followers.


Explore more of Yury’s photography: Website | Facebook | Google+ | ArtLimited |


The Gallery Selection

Ambient.jpgæube.jpgBreakthrough.jpgBroken road.jpgCross on the rock.jpgDomino pier.jpgDune.jpgFisherman.jpgFive rocks.jpgPier remains.jpgStones path.jpgStrange boat.jpgThe audience.jpgThe lonely land.jpgThe trap.jpgThe wind.jpgUkrainian stonehenge.jpgFishing.jpg

All images on this page are protected by copyright and may not be used  for any purpose, without Yury Bird‘s permission. The text on this page is protected by copyright and may not be used for any purpose without Yury Bird or Nathan Wirth‘s permission.

One Comment

  1. Patrick May 29, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Very nice indeed! Love minimalistic photography! Find it quite strange though, that almost everyone who does LE’s seems to like best in monochrome, besides me who loves the colors it gives.

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