The Preciousness of the Human Body in the Photography of Pavlo Protsenko
Pavlo Protsenko is a Ukrainian photographer who lives and works in Kyiv. In 2021, he created a series of underwater nudes, Where Fishes Go, praised by critics and awarded many international prizes the following year. Once seen on the web, it couldn't but catch our attention. The model in a mesmerizing marine setting immediately reminded us of the ama diver from the iconic print by Hokusai that you can see on the main page of our platform.
Fig. 1. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 2. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 3. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 4. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 5. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 6. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 7. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 8. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Fig. 9. Where Fishes Go (tokyofotoawards.jp)
Benefits of a Breakup
Pavlo Protsenko took up photography in 2019. According to his interview for Fpzhe magazine, he became engaged in the process because of his girlfriend, who did photography. Initially, Protsenko worked as a post-production retoucher. His hobby was composing sci-fi images. The artist could spend several months on each picture, which became hardly bearable after a full working day in Photoshop. Thus, retouching his girlfriend's photos was a way to let his creative energy out. After a breakup, the artist realized he was missing photography, so he rented a camera. 2021 was the year when he finally bought one and shot his triumphant series.
Fig. 10. instagram.com/neboteka/
Fig. 11. Kyiv 01.11.23 (instagram.com)
Fig. 12. Kyiv 2021 (instagram.com)
Chasing the Moon
The sky is the first love of many photographers, and Pavlo Protsenko is not an exception. He fondly remembers the nights when he chased the full moon and hunted sunsets in Kyiv and over the Dnipro River. One of his Instagram accounts neboteka is devoted to stunning landscapes of Ukraine, or, more precisely, skyscapes over Ukraine. With the beginning of the Russian invasion, he paused skyscape photography, but half-year later, some new pictures appeared. As the artist says, comparing the powers of nature and human weapons, "Nature is much more impressive," so nothing can distract him from its everlasting beauty. The war turns people down to earth, yet some of them manage to look at the stars. As known, the sky seems especially magnificent when seen from hell.
Fig. 13. instagram.com/photoprotsenko/
Fig. 14. instagram.com/photoprotsenko/
Fig. 15. tumblr.com
Of Ponies and Photographers
Commenting on the success of his Where Fishes Go series, Protsenko claims he doesn't want to milk its popularity and establish the reputation of an underwater photographer who repeats the same for the audience. His view on recognizability and style indicates rare artistic fearlessness: Protsenko calls a gimmick what is usually considered a manner or style. He compares recognizable photographers to circus ponies that learned one trick and continue to go around, not moving actually. His judgment makes us recall the bitter words of the Russian-Jewish thinker Lev Shestov (we love this notion very much, so allow ourselves to quote it here as a sort of anachronous commentary to the artist's words).
Fig. 16. Session with figs. Btw, the fig is considered an ancient symbol of femininity (tumblr.com)
Fig. 17. instagram.com
In the extended Premium edition you can find a commentary on the problem of style, the artist's remarkable commentary on one of his sessions, Playboy vs Art, numerous pics of Protsenko's extraordinary photography, and much more.
Click HERE for the surreal sensuality in the photography of Alexander Sviridov
Sources: Interview for Fpzhe (fpzhe.wordpress.com/2022/09/12/__trashed/); instagram.com (Protsenko); tumblr.com; tokyofotoawards.jp