Mar 13, 2019
Gleb is a Russian photographer who creates lyrical narratives of non-urban landscapes, exploring its possibilities and proposing an ontological approach, which engages in concepts like becoming, existence and reality. In his series "Dag og Natt", Gleb portrays the outskirts of Oslo revealing the beauty of common simple structures and the daily environments.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
GS - I'm originally from Russia, moved to New York when I was 17, and I primarily write poetry, which informs much of my photography work. When behind the camera, I work with non-urban landscapes, and my biggest current commitment is a collaborative film project with artist Vika Adutova – an extended study of structured land in the Norwegian Arctic.
am - How did you start in photography?
GS - It grew out of habitually photographing the same sites every time I visited them (mostly abandoned parks and industrial coastlines), in different seasons and times of day. Over the years, it developed into its own way to engage and study the natural world, and then gradually turned into a form of veneration. You could say that the trees made me do it.
am - What is “Dag og Natt” about?
GS - "Dag og Natt" is a lyrical take on the ontology of places – approaching sites as discovered entities, capable of possessing their own agency in the world. It came to be as a convergence of several series, shot in the outskirts of Oslo, Norway in two consecutive winters.
am - What were you most interested in capturing with these images?
GS - I think of it less as a capture and more as a proposition. Landscape is hardly a passive medium, its reading is as much a question of structure as it is of empathy. The lyrical part, in turn, suggests that it is not subordinated to such terms. And with the actual objects being rather straight-forward (I mean, half of them are lampposts), the only thing I can really insist on, is that they are, you know, beautiful.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
GS - My fondness of "New Topographics" should be apparent, but my primary influences come from poetry: the works of Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, Vvedensky, Paul Celan, Tomas Tranströmer and others. In painting, it would be Joachim Patinir and Cy Twombly.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
GS - I would have to name three. Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev", Miklós Jancsó's "Red Psalm" and Patrick Keiller's "Robinson in Ruins".
am - What is your favourite photo book?
GS - Probably Laurenz Berges, "Fotografien 1991–1995".
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
GS - Thank you for having me!
All images © Gleb Simonov