We are very thankful to all people who helped and supported us in work on this project:
Lolita Bashta, Maxim Bashta, Mikhail Vishnyakov, Julia Vorobiova, Mikhail Zalozhnyh,
Liliya Kostiv, Igor Petrenko, Irina Petrenko, Andrey Semakin, Igor Chaptsev.
«Archaic black-and-white images created with simple obsolete cameras bear softness, artefacts and technical imperfectness and seem unexplicably attractive to me, lure with their softness. Their unique, sometimes naive charm, touches my heart.
I have pursued the idea to create photo images with the simplest tools for a long time. And given my experience in underwater photography, I wanted to do it in the water. After studying how the old cameras worked, I realized that there was no need to make the camera itself waterproof; it was enough just to isolate the film. In 2017, Polina Petrenko and I decided to bring this idea into life. We assembled a test camera, made several cassettes/film-holders, found a suitable lens and began shooting sessions in June. As Polina had no previous diving experience, it was a very challenging experiment for her. She had to learn how to dive, how to use the gear, how to take pictures and manage the camera under water, how to be a model.
We had to immerse simultaneously, to assume the correct pose by the camera, to lift the dark slide, to stay still, to turn the flash on...all this had to be done in darkness and in heavy gear, while holding the breath and spotting each other with the sandy bottom often being stirred up and visibility dropping. Just five shots. Sometimes, the whole session was ruined. We would make errors with flash and exposure time, our films would become wet, the dark slide would get stuck, we would not be able to focus on the subject. But despite these small failures, our strong wish to go ahead and passion for our project gave its results - you can see the fruit of our efforts on this website».
«I believe that an image exposed on film bears more life and sincerity. It is like comparing a print book to an electronic reader. The smell, the rituals, related to the developing and printing; the carefulness required to prepare and carry out the shooting... the whole process is fragile and categorical at the same time. One has a narrower margin of error. Everything must be done right from the beginning. In our case, we were even more limited, as we made our photographs under water with a film camera for an 18 X 24cm format. We had only 5 film-holders. Of course, first experiments were not that successful and sometimes funny. But the limitations of this technique made us more careful; we had to prepare in advance, to make test shots, to calculate error in lighting, to carry a huge load of equipment and gear that could be potentially useful.
What is especially fascinating about the project is that we had to combine multiple skills and tasks to create these photographs. We were camera designers, engineers and builders (it is mostly Evgenii’s merit), physicists, opticians, purchasing agents, divers, loaders, drivers, printers and, of course, photographers and models. Besides, this project allowed me to continue my documentary photography work. We dived and shot under the rain, storm or snow, as I rushed to tell about it in my snapshots. You can find pictures with our backstage photographs on the website».