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Mikhail Potapov: Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe 

Mikhail Potapov is an accomplished art photographer who is constantly searching to discover something new.  His work is brilliant and diversified: street photography, documentary, nature photography or mood.  He quotes: “I'm collecting moments in life. A photographer is like a treasure hunter, he searches and digs.  And if he digs into himself, he will find treasures in all different styles.”
Today, he allowed us to dig a little into his life, his strong personality and has given us the opportunity to fully understand the meaning and stories behind his work.


“Puzzle II”

I'm Mikhail Potapov, 34 years old, and I live in Russia, Rostov-on-Don.  By education I am a teacher, I am sportsman and I teach children judo. I like travelling, as it is hard for me to stay at one place for a long time, I'm always waiting for the opportunity  to quit everything and go somewhere else, to discover new places, I love travelling by car.  I also like to listen to intelligent people.

How did your story and life experience affect your photography?
It is a good question! I started taking pictures not so long ago, being a youth I was not fond of photography  as I had other hobbies. I bought my first camera in 2010, though we had a camera in my family before that.
My life experience, for sure, is the basis of my vision of photography and it helps me a lot. It happened that I have developed a good understanding of  people, I know what one can expect of someone, I can see falsehood, deceit, I feel it quite well.  Unfortunately there are very few honest and open people in the world. I have the  same view on photography. For me the main thing is "either I believe it or I don’t"!  In my opinion a picture must be honest and  natural.  The viewer should not see or feel the presence of the photographer.




“Dialogue of two worlds”

Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
Probably it will not be a standard answer. It's hard to impress and surprise me. And I cannot say immediately whether I am influenced by something or not. When I started to think about what I would shoot, the main thing for me was, to become different from others, not to shoot what other photographers shoot, to see things in my own way, in a different way. I'm partly influenced by films, although I'm not a movie fan, I do not like special effects, I generally do not like modern cinema, where at every step we see light and shadows on the face. For me one thing is important: I must feel, experience sadness or happiness the moment I'm shooting.  My state of mind has a strong influence on my photos.  It's important to me that the viewer feels these emotions.  In reality, I can call myself a loner, a bit romantic, although I don't like this word, that's why I often show loneliness in my pictures, only one person and the world around him.


“Our sunrise”




What first attracted you to photography?
When I started to take pictures, I realized that I was resting doing that, I was distracted from everything, I was moving into another dimension, this is a great hobby, my camera is my friend!

Please, describe your overall photographic vision, Mikhail.
My photographic vision! As I wrote above, honesty is important for me, I create conditions for shooting and get the right moment, an unusual moment. Sometimes this moment is given to me by people, or by nature. For example my photo with a dog that ran into the frame. The dog persistently ran around, played, licked the lens and he also gave me this picture. Sometimes it seems to me that some of the shots are given to me, like some carte blanche, bypassing the years of experience, I was not ready for them, but for some reason I was lucky.
And perhaps the most important thing is that I do not see the world as beautiful neather as  ugly, I see the reality of the world!

Your work is very diversified. Why are you drawn by so many styles in Photography?
I like progress  in photography, the constant discovery of something new, I really like streets, nature, mood, documentary photography, I collect moments, moments of someone's life and it will be easier for me to look for them in different styles. I believe  that if I shoot in the same style, I will start to be repetitive, the frames will look alike. Each of my photos should be better than the previous one, although this is not easy. The photographer is like a treasure hunter, he searches, he digs, if you dig in one place with others, you would share with them. And if you dig yourself, then you will have everything of what you would find!






What is more important to you, the mood or story behind your images or the technical perfection?
May I answer with a question? And what is more important for you: a technically perfect picture, but without history and mood, or a technically not perfect picture, but the one, which has a special meaning, has its history? I guess I'll choose the golden middle, but with more emphasis on history and mood.  Probably because, I did not grow up exposed to films with a good picture, like the modern generation, I remember the moment in 1989 when my family got a Japanese video player Sanyo. My parents forbade me to talk about it at school, at that time people could easily commit a crime for getting such equipment, it did cost an insane amount of money in our country. The image that we had on our TVs was far from perfect, there was no colour, no light, no quality sound. But the big unknown attracted us to the screen and it was much stronger than the quality of the  picture. I really love movies about the war, and have respect for the military documentary photographers.  The technical perfection is not important because their works tell a real story and give the best perception of the moment it happened.






Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I am guided by the principle, "I came, I saw, I conquered! "And, of course, a lot depends on the conditions, first of all, light is very  important for me, I like to shoot at dawn and for me a gift of nature is foggy weather. The choice of location is often an experiment, I visit the place for the first time, the right choice and luck, of course gives a successful shot. If I watch someone, then I'm waiting for an interesting moment, but usually I do not wait long, I either foresee that something will happen soon or I am just lucky.

What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I have Sony equipment, my cameras: a900, a550, nex5, a6000; optics Sony 70-400 G2, and my favourite Minolta 400mm 4.5 G HS. I have two backpacks which I use periodically.

What software do you use to process your images?
The latest licenses are Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom.

Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
Honestly speaking, my work starts before I press the shutter button.  It's not so easy to create a correct composition in the frame and it does not always work out.  I like very much the good colour, here the most important thing is that colour work begins at this moment. Next, the choice of the frame, the picture on a small screen of the camera is very different from viewing it on the monitor. When I scroll through the pictures  I must have some emotions, whether it's sadness, some mysterious feelings, some special mood and it is very bad when I do not feel anything, so I understand that there is nothing interesting in that series. Then I work with  Lightroom, a little work with colour, export, move to Photoshop, I do not like to sit for a long time on one  frame, the picture should be taken correctly initially, that's why I prefer light post processing, mainly of  colour.






What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
Nowadays  there are lots of photographers everywhere, there are a lot of them in Russia too, and  everyone who has a camera considers himself a photographer.
But let's think, is everyone able to play the violin?
And do it at a high level?
Or does everyone have a voice like Luciano Pavarotti?

But if you still come to photography, you must have courage, nothing happens quickly, only patience and work, experiments, and most importantly the development of the vision of the image frame. As in life, in photography, you can have a person who will correctly direct you, or adjust your direction.  Remember the game of billiard? You hit the ball, you see its unsuccessful trajectory, but by some coincidence of circumstances, another ball bouncing from the board directs your ball into the pocket, what is it? I was lucky to have a person directing me.  When many people criticized my works at the time, he said that I was on the right track and always advised and directed me.  I'm very grateful to him!
The simplest thing that I can advise is to observe the works of other photographers, especially in the 1Ñ… gallery. This is the best place to be. Here you can find examples of works of different styles, different moods, different processing of photographs.  Looking at these works, it will be easier for you to create fine compositions.  A good start for beginners often is about the composition of a frame!









Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly? How do you appreciate your work?
I do not know many photographers, but everyone knows these names, Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado, Henri Cartier Bresson. Probably a very trivial answer.

Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has influenced you a great deal and why?Yes! Photo by Luís Godinho, which is posted on the cover of the 1x Visions book, I regret that I'm not the author of this work, my respect for the photographer!


“Ritual” by Luís Godinho

There are a lot of amazing works in the 1xgallery . And recently Gilbert Claes  shared the link of photographer Nick Brandt on Facebook.  If someone did not see his works, one should look for it. This photographer has his special vision of the frame! My regards to Nick!

Are there any specific directions that you would like to take in your life?
I still have a lot of things to learn, looking at the work on 1x I understand that I am still not quite as good as I want to be. For sure I will continue to work, taking pictures during my trips, look for new moments, participate in different competitions, hold my own exhibitions, and in the future I want to publish my own book with my photos. I hope that I still didn't take the most important photo of my life.

Describe your favourite photo taken by you and why it is special to you?
Yes, there is such a picture called “Summer”



It remains my favourite, probably because it gives me peace, hope, romance, a charge of energy.  
I suppose it will be good to create a new similar series.

I have another picture which  I love a lot too. This photo was included in the 10th anniversary photo book "X" and titled “Face off”.  It's a great honour for me, thank you!


“Face off”

Is there anything else you want to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I am very glad that there is such a photo site.  When I subscribed to 1x, I immediately felt new inspiration and growth.  My gratitude to the whole team of 1x and all the  photographers who share their vision here!
In this community there is mutual respect, understanding, there is a special relationship between photographers, people of different nationalities, different faiths and views. The photos unite us, we observe the whole world, and show people the world through our eyes.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.
Respectfully,  Mikhail Potapov!

With special thanks to our proofreader Hans ML Spiegel 

Приятно узнать о вашем творчестве изнутри. Увлекательное интервью! Огромное удовольствие познакомиться с прекрасным мастером и очень гармоничным человеком! Больших побед Вам, Михаил!
Interesting interview that pulled me to read through till the end. Good job Yvette and congratulations Mikhail.
С огромным удовольствием почитал. Мне еще надо долго и упорно учится, так снимать. В каждой работе есть свое видение. Неординарные, запоминающиеся работы! Удачи, тебе Михаил во всех начинаниях!
Благодарю Владимир, очень приятные слова для меня, сам пока еще учусь). Отличной недели тебе, привет из Ростова-на-Дону! ;)
Thx for sharing. Congrats:)
Thank you very much dear Milena!
Благодарю Владимир, очень приятные слова для меня, сам пока еще учусь). Отличной недели тебе, привет из Ростова-на-Дону! ;)
Потрясающий уровень работ, очень сильно. С удовольствием почитал.
Благодарю дорогой друг, очень признателен тебе! )
I loved your article.Nice to meet you! Respect to you as the Creator of works of fine paintings.Loved the picture of "dialogue of two worlds"
Thank you very much dear Friend! Dialogue two worlds, one of my last works, very grateful!
Very interesting author!
Thank you very much dear Stanislav!
Благодарю Андрей! Очень рад! Восславим Рим! )
Потрясающий уровень работ. Михаил нравится ваш собственный путь. Тот самый момент когда фотограф становиться художником. Браво
Спасибо тебе Антон за такие приятные слова, спасибо за поддержку, очень признателен тебе! ) "LikePhotoPro" !
Хорошие фото, достойно!
Благодарю дорогой Евгений, очень признателен тебе!
Самое главное в твоем творчестве это то, что ты снимаешь свое, то что твоей душе интересно, без оглядки) Это и помогает тебе иметь некую самобытность в творчестве) Потому оно и выделяется на общем фоне)
Да, ты прав! Именно без оглядки, наверно образ жизни такой. Спасибо тебе за поддержку Дима! )
Wonderful article, informative, interesting and inspiring! Mikhail has amazing photos! Congratulations Mikhail and thanks to Yvette!
Thank you for the congratulations, very grateful to you, dear Sergey! Special thanks to Yvette!
Interesting article. Thank you for sharing your vision, Mikhail
Thank you very much dear Mikhail! Very happy!
Знаком с Михаилом давно ( ну как давно, примерно пару лет) , что можно сказать? Красафчик! Молодец!
Спасибо тебе Алексей, за поддержку, за дружбу. Отличного света!
Interesting questions and excellent answers! What has been said is defintiely shown as well in your pictures, Mikhail. Great philosophy behind, strong authentic approach to succed! Congratulations Mikhail and thanks to Yvette!
Very nice words dear Andreas, glad you do see it in my photos, much appreciated and thanks for the support! Special thanks to Yvette Depaepe! ))
Wonderful and informative read....Thanks to Yvette and congratulations to Mikhail!
Thank you very much dear Thomas! I am very glad that you liked my story, my compliments Mikhail Potapov! )
Thank you for an excellent article, Mikhail. Your images are superb and I really enjoyed learning more about you. Congratulations!
Thank you dear Cheryl! Very nice to hear that you liked my interview and my work! )
Congrats to Mikhail and to Yvette ! Great article with amazing photos !
Thank you very dear Eddy! Very nice words, glad your support!
Many congratulations, dear Mikhail Your works are always well-considered
Hi dear Amir! Thank you for the nice words for me! Very pleased to have your support!
Pleasant to read more about the person behind the photographer Mikhail. Great pictures and keep up this work for the future. Best wishes.
Thank you for the support dear Marc! Very happy! )
Good to hear about your work MIKHAIL POTAPOV. I love your pictures and and like the difference between the works. Maybe it's because I like so many different styles, just they are made with passion. Looking forward to seeing the next works from your hands. I expect you to win something in "adwards this year". Greetings Leif
Hi dear Leif! Glad you like my style of photography, thank you for your support! Waiting for the results of the 1x awards 2017 )
Glad to see you interview, Mikhail! Great shots, many thanks to you and Yvette!
Hi dear George! I am very glad that you like my work, thank you a lot for your kind words!
Great work!
Hi Leur! A huge thank you, very nice! )
Great interview, dear Mikhail. Good to know something more about you; your thoughts and so on. It is a pleasure to see your photos in which a part of you is reflected, that solitude that you proclaim in the interview is seen everywhere...Congratulation for your great portfolio. Thank you very much to Yvette and Hans ML for the interview.
Hello my dear friend Joxe Inazio! Yes, there is a feeling in my soul, but I'm happy)). Thank you for your support and very kind words, my compliments, greetings from Russia! )
Molte congratulazioni Mikhail, per questa meravigliosa intervista e per le tue splendide immagini. Congratulazioni anche alla cara Yvette per aver condotto questa interessante intervista.
Grazie caro Francesco, sono molto importanti le parole per me! )
Great article with superb photos! Thanks for sharing!
Hi dear Ben! Very nice to hear, glad you liked it. )
Thanks for lifting some of the mystery around your personality Mikhail. Your new avatar is certainly more in line with the person I imagined you are: young, curious and very talented. I admire your work, thanks for sharing with us.
For me it's a huge honor to share with You their thoughts! Thank you dear Luc! Very happy)
Congratulations Mikhail for being the photographer of the week. My complimennts and reconognition. A hug Jois
Thank you, very nice dear Jois! Glad that you liked!
Interesting information about a man with an open mind and even more important "Great Pictures".
Thank you very much dear Lus! )
much interesting interview. Congratulations Mikhail and many thanks to Yvette. Best regards Wolfgang
Glad your support is my greatest respect for you! Thank you dear Hans-Wolfgang! )
Thanks from me too, dear Hans-Wolfgang!
Congrats my friend a very interesting interview!
Thanks dear Rolf, very nice to hear, very grateful to you!
Great interview with very interesting thoughts. Thanks a lot Mikhail and Yvette, that was really pleasant to read and of course an opportunity to learn more about the person behind the camera. All best wishes , Vangelis.
Hi dear Vangelis, I am very pleased your comment! Thank you dear friend!
Thanks for your appreciation, dear Vangelis!
I´ve read this with great interest, Mikhail, and appreciate and understande very well you have told us about your life attitudes and honest principles of your great work, My best compliments and congratulations!
I am glad that You were interested in my art and often in my life. Thank you dear Mab!
Nice to read more about you and very nice images for me you are a great photographer. And thanks Yvette,Hans and MIKHAIL
Thank you dear Theo, very nice words for me! I wish you great light all week!
Thanks dear Theo! Glad you also appreciate the work from Hans, my friend!!!
It is just wonderful! Thanks Yvette and thanks Mikhail!
Thank you Jian, very glad you liked it! I wish you great light all week!
Thanks from me too, dear Jian!
My best compliments Mikhail ! Great photos with great ideas! And congrat to Yvette for the intersting interview
Yes, we're a little torment with translation)). Thank you dear Alessandro! I wish you great light all week!
Thanks Alessandro! This interview has really been worth the language problems. Our proofreader Hans Spiegel did a great job!!!
Great interview Yvette and Mikhail. Congratulations Mikhail, your work is really amazing, and thank you for sharing a bit of your life and ideas about photography. It was a pleasure to read this interview.
Hi Cecy, I have shared with all of your works, now shared, with what I have inside, your thoughts and secrets. Thank you dear! I wish you great light all week!
Thanks from me too for your appreciation, dear Cecy!
Congrats, my friend. Excellent portfolio
Thank you very much dear Friend! Very nice!
Wonderful article-many congratulations for your fantastic portfolio,Mikhail!
Hi dear Julien! Glad you like it, very pleasant!
Very nice interview with superb images, Mikhail ... thank you, Yvette!!
Thank you for your never ending appreciation, dear Jacob!
Thank you dear Jacob, very nice! )
stunning work, Mikhail !!! Congrats
Thank you very much dear Carmine! Very nice my Friend!
Superb interview, I like the work of Mikhail, each of his photos tell a story, his picture "Face off" is a reference.Thanks to Yvette and Hans and congratulations to Mikhail!
Big thanks from me and Hans too, dear Thierry!
Thank you dear Thierry, very nice to hear from you! )
Congratulations!...Your works are impressive!
Thank you dear Arif! Very pleased that you liked it!
Mikhail is a star in 1x community with unique vision
A very high score dear! Glad to hear, thank you my friend!
Thanks to Mikhail and Yvette for this stunning Interview! Congratulation Mikhail! An interesting life! Natural talent!
Thanks from me too, dear Veselin ;-)
Thank you dear Veselin, for the nice words, very glad of that.
Excellent work, Mikhail. My compliments
Hi dear Vito! Recently read about you and was very impressed! Glad you enjoyed my story!
I discovered Mikhail here in 1X some time ago. I remembered to stop by his image 'People". Oh my, what an incredible image! And then I realized that he was also the author of so many other images that I also liked a lot., like Lago-Naki or Face off. I find it impressive to have such an incredible variety of images. For sure an inspiration for all of us, keep up the great work Mikhail and thanks Yvette for this interview :)
Thank you, dear Gloria!
Thank you dear Gloria! This is a very nice words for me, I will continue to try and continue photographing. Thank you!
Congratulation Mikhail. Very inspirative interview!
Thank you very much dear Marcel! Very nice)
Congratulation Mikhail !!
Thankl you very much dear Simon! )
Congratulations for your great work. It is a pleasure to enjoy your photography!
I am glad that my work is pleasure of viewing. Thank you dear Martin, really appreciate you!
Congratulation, Mikhail !!! Your work is stunning and the moments you've taken are surprising and unique ! Great interview, Yvette !
Many thanks, Elena!
Thank you dear Elena, for your support here and on Facebook! Very grateful to you! Yvette, thank you.
I read the interview with great pleasure! I want to thank Mikhail for his work and separately Yvette for revealing to us Mikhail as a photographer and a person. Good luck and creative success!
Thanks, Boris! I loved interviewing Mikhail!
Thank you Boris, very grateful and pleased to have your support. LikePhotoPro forward!
Splendide fotografie. Complimenti Mikhail
Hi dear Massimo, nice words, really appreciate this, thank you! )
An interesting interview of a brilliant photographer. Your work Mikhail is inspiring and unique and so varied too. Thanks also for your amazing support of my photos on 1x.
Thank you dear Jacqueline, such wonderful words to me! Very grateful to you!
Fantastic photographer. Fantastic photos - wow!!
Thank you very mush dear Deborah! Very grateful to you! )
Thank you very much dear Erik! Very happy!
Great interviews and articles! And a wonderful work gallery, Mikhail is a great photographer !!
Hi dear Teruhiko! Thank you very nice! )
Excellent story Mikhail and an absolutely outstanding portfolio, thank you for your inspiration and all the best. Wayne Pearson
Hi dear Wayne! Glad you enjoyed my story, very nice and thank you! )
Great story - great photos - great photographer !!!
Very nice words dear Torsten! Thank you! )
chapeau to Yvette and Mikhail
Thanks, Udo ;-)
Hi dear Udo, thank you for your support! )
Thank you for this wonderful interview and vision on photography ... A testimony about the right attitude and personal experience and in particular the enthusiasm and drive. Many aspects where I can find myself as an avid photographer. I thank Mikhail and Yvette for this interesting article ... and confirmation of my idea about photography and 1X ...
Thank you, Gil!
Hi dear Gilbert! Very glad that you liked my article and you see some communication between us. Thank you for your support, my compliments dear friend!
This is a great interview, Yvette! :-) Thank you Mikhail for sharing with us the details about yourself and your amazing work!! My compliments to both of you!!
Thank you so much Marius! Most honour goes to Mikhail, of course. It was a blessing to interview this great photographer... Cheers, Yvette
Thank you dear Marius! Thank you so much for your support! )
Thank you so much for your fine collaboration and language efforts, dear Mikhail. It was a real pleasure to interview you, my friend. Cheers, Yvette
Thank you Yvette for everything, for your support, for your work, for your patience. Thank you for the opportunity to share their thoughts, tell a little bit about yourself, for me it's a huge honor to be the photographer of the week. A special thank you dear Hans ML Spiegel for the correction of my interview. A good light! Beat regards Mikhail Potapov!
Hi dear Tito, short, but very nice, very expensive for me this word! Thank you for the support dear friend! Greetings from Russia!