Bogdan Gulyay is a photographer from Chernihiv, Ukraine. He is a member of Ukrainian photographic alternative. We really liked ots of his series, like his kickboxing portraits and asked him a couple of questions on how he works.
How did you start with photography?
My first camera was soviet “Vilia”. My parents presented it to me when I was 12. Since the first time I tried developing and printing photographs in a dark room, under the red lantern, this process enchanted me. After that I used different cameras for everyday photographing, they became digital with the beginning of digital era. But memories of that magic of hand-made photography always lived somewhere in my mind. And, at last, in 2009 I bought a film camera, it was Nikon F100, and I started with film again.
Tell us a little about your Kickboxing series.
My photocamera is always with me. Visiting a gym and having training sessions of kickboxing, it was natural to start taking pictures of it. My partners are usually guys, mostly students. Some of them have already won some titles in Ukraine and the world. Others are beginners in this sport. For all of them kickboxing is an important part of their life. They come to the gym every day, starving themselves and sweating their guts out with trainings in aspiration to become champions. But one more thing I noticed is that, despite of the appearance of hard and tough sportsmen, all these guys are like little unconcerned boys, playing their game for fun.
These series are about these two things: hard work in order to become the best, and an image of the young boy, that becomes visible under the attentive glance at a brave fighter.
What is your favorite camera and why?
After some period of trying autofocusing cameras i switched to manual photocameras and lenses. Now I use Nikon FM3a with several fixed focal length lenses.
Manual cameras and fixed lense induce you to look intently, to think before photographing, to be careful and accurate. You can`t rely upon nothing but you in your work, and this trains you.
Also, rising prices for black and white film and paper are important, forcing you to be saving 🙂