/ Arnis Balčus / Interview

10 minutes with Olga Osipova

Olga Osipova (1989) is a photo editor at Bird In Flight online magazine and one of the jury members of this year’s FK Prize. Born in Tashkent, she graduated from the Faculty of Journalism at Moscow State University, Department of Photography. Olga has worked for The New Times, lenta.ru, Kommersant, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, and is also co-founder of Russian website Batenka.ru. She participated in Anton Nosik’s project Izolenta (photography news), and has cooperated with Russian Reporter magazine, Takie Dela online media, Novoe Russkoe Slovo newspaper (New York) etc. She has also worked as a photo editor for Russian photojournalist Evgeny Feldman’s book about Maidan/war in Eastern Ukraine, and for an independent report by Boris Nemtsov and Ilya Yashin on the Ukrainian war, called Putin. War. Olga lives in Moscow, but most of her work is based in Kiev.

How did you get involved with Bird in Flight and what is your role there?

A couple of years ago [Lithuanian photographer] Romualdas Požerskis came to Moscow to open his exhibition at the Lumiere Brothers Centre for Photography. I did an interview with him for Bird in Flight. Then we met with [the editor-in-chief of Bird in Flight] Eugene Safonov after a couple of months and he offered me a job as photo editor, and I couldn’t say “no” because we do’nt have a lot of good magazines about photography in Russian.

During these two years Bird in Flight has changed a lot: now we are not only a photography magazine, but mostly about photography. We do our own reports on any subjects we find interesting, we organized the Bird in Flight school for Ukrainian photographers twice, and now we are going to open an international school of photography, we have put on exhibitions, movie screenings etc. I’m lucky to do what I really love (interviews with great photographers, visiting international festivals to find young and interesting photographers to tell about them through our magazine, producing our own projects such as Vlad Sokhin’s trip to Alaska etc.) and this is my job.

How would you describe your interest in photography?

I’m a curious person with not much free time to travel around the world and see everything with my own eyes. That is why I love photography, because I can travel all the time without leaving the workplace.

Which exhibition or photo book has inspired you lately?

It was an exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev – the shortlisted works of the Future Generation Art Prize 2017. And I was really impressed by the short absurd videos of British artist Rebecca Moss. I even did an interview with her after that.

How would you characterize photography trends in Eastern Europe?

I have a feeling that young photographers of Eastern Europe are searching for their identity. It is all about the Soviet past, I guess, because we are all trying to forget about that nightmare. However, in this way we lose the connection with our history and as a result feel so lost ourselves. But it is in progress and moving forward.

What would be your advice to young photographers?

Always be brave and curious. Don’t be afraid of anything. I love to repeat my university teacher’s phrase: “If you need to drink vodka with prostitutes or with homeless people to make a story then go and do it!”