Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Dmitry Komissarenko
What excites you the most in your field of activity?
The process of activity itself is exciting. Any kind of activity. Whether it’s photographing or working on a newspaper. I’m not familiar with any other better stimulants.
What is a crucial moment in your life?
I can definitely recall two key moments that happened with an interval of four years (coincidentally those were leap years) and that led me to what I have now. The first occurred in 2012.
On a global scale the world hasn’t ended but on a personal scale it did. The thing that I’ve been doing for the previous six years and that I’ve always thought was my one true calling suddenly and entirely lost its meaning. I guess I just burned out and told everything and everyone to fuck off. That’s when my personal life took a turn as well. I didn’t suffer. These events opened up doors to new opportunities, growth, things that I do to this day. I’m talking about photography now. In 2012 a hobby turned into a job and became a new meaning of life for me.
The second crucial moment happened in 2016. I’ve decided that it’s time to bring to life an idea that was also born back in 2012. I came to a friend’s birthday party and said that on December 25 the first issue of NVRMIND will be published and released. And so it happened.
What person inspires you the most?
It’s difficult to single anyone out. It’s easy for me to get inspired by anyone, to be carried away by his or her story and to follow their development. There are a lot of people like that among my friends and acquaintances and that’s how I choose people that are featured in NVRMIND. But let’s not mention world-famous personalities in this question. There are certainly a lot of people that inspire me and each one of them is unique in their own way.
Tell us a funny or awkward story from your life.
The fact that I’m giving this interview is awkward. Well you know what I mean.
What are the most memorable ‘first time’ experiences for you?
They say you always remember your first time, but I don’t remember it at all.
From recent events – the first interview I took with Marcel Schlutt for the cover story of NVRMIND. It was my first ‘business trip’ for my very own newspaper. I went to Berlin and it was my first time there too. The shoot and conversation went smoothly, we had a lot of common interests and there weren’t any difficulties in preparation and the follow up coordination. Just the way I love it.
What is the most exciting moment of your life?
Perhaps, the moment of conception. Very exciting.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life?
Beauty is everywhere. Or the 4th issue of NVRMIND is very beautiful.
What is NVRMIND about?
“About everything and about nothing”. “Information anarchism”. These are the typical phrases I hear about NVRMIND. The newspaper has very little in common with traditional journalism in the form how it’s supposed to be perceived. It’s rather a fanzine, a portfolio, a means of communication and interaction with fascinating people. You can describe it however you want and give it numerous definitions.
It’s quite simple to set the topic of an issue as I’m interested in so many things. I choose the protagonists based on the sense of them being my soul mates. Or those with whom I’ve wanted to get acquainted or talk to on a deeper level. We’re already receiving a lot of feedback, where people offer us their shoots or articles. A lot of great and even famous photographers from Europe and USA. They will definitely appear in NVRMIND and its next issues.
Yet it’s an erotic newspaper? Just like your work, your newspaper consists of a lot of images of naked bodies.
That’s right. We print ‘erotic’ content, at least that’s what is stated in the paperwork. But it’s not erotica that is meant to arouse you and it certainly must not be mistaken with pornography. In our case it is art that everyone perceives in their own way. Yet it shouldn’t be understood: it should be accepted or not accepted. And yes, beginning with the first issues, we’ve published plenty of nude material, we were experimenting. But it doesn’t mean that the following issues will only include images of naked bodies. Or it does.
As for my personal work regarding nudity, then as you know, I’ve first shot a naked body one year ago in collaboration with Bob Basset and it consisted of a rather small amount of models. I even shot less afterwards but as you know, people better remember nakedness. And people tend to see what they want to see, to come to subjective conclusions, hang labels on everything, and to keep everything inside a box. Nevertheless, I don’t see nude photography as something out of the ordinary. If you really have a beautiful body and you want to show it to everyone then do it. If you think you have a beautiful body then also do it. If you have a body – show it. You can open your soul by exposing your body.
Are you a religious person?
No. Religion is just one of the ways to manipulate the masses. It’s also necessary for those who are weak and insecure. But the main reason it exists is the acknowledgement and fear of the fact that we are all mortal and what follows is nothingness. Of course, you can try and become ‘immortal’, but in order to do that you have to get off your ass and create something worthy, something significant that will forever have an imprint in history. If it would truly bring a sense of comfort into your life. But this requires faith. Faith in yourself, in your ideas, in your strength.
What life truth did you learn after living all these years?
You shouldn’t get attached to people, things and places. Everything flows and everything changes.
What do you sacrifice for your calling?
Sleep. I’m chronically sleep-deprived. But I will immediately refute my answer: I don’t like to sleep. It feels as if I might miss something interesting and important.
You wake up in a year. What do you think changed in your life?
I’ve already mentioned the sleep situation and I can’t imagine that being resolved. I doubt much will change if I continue such a sleeping pattern.
What is your weirdest habit?
A weird habit? Can I answer with a quote?
“The habit of masturbating often remains a person’s personal secret. At first glance, an ordinary and well-respected person and no one would’ve thought that he or she has a secret passion to masturbate. But the internet is full of ‘screams for help’ by millions of people who fell victim to this secret and enslaving vice. Most people masturbate numerous times per day and cannot stop for years! This might not be known by those surrounding these people. But there is God, who sees everything and not a single secret is hidden from him!”. (harakter.info and many other sources.)
It’s weird that this issue is still seen as something wrong, strange, unnatural or harmful.
If you had to choose between photography and sex, what would you go for?
I don’t need to choose. Often photography is a prelude to sex.
If you could travel in time, where would you go and why?
To the distant future. Sometimes it scares me, considering the rapid development of social networks and the mass dependence and obsession with them. But I’m irritated by the fact that I won’t be able to find out what awaits us in the future. Yet if no one gets to see the future then I won’t be too upset.
What interview question would you like to ask yourself and what would your answer be?
I don’t think that there are any questions remaining after your interview. You’ve deprived me of the future.
What’s it like to give an interview to a magazine you’ve initially created yourself?
It’s something similar to an autofellatio.
Translation: Elena Savlokhova