by Alexey Shlyk

University: Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium
Course: Bachelor
Year of graduation: 2016
Thesis: The Appleseed Necklace
Contacts: leeshich[at]gmail[dot]com | website


Abstract: Alexey Shlyk got for his 15th birthday about 20 rolls of out-dated film. Inevitably he started documenting everything around him with a point and shoot camera. Towards the end of the rolls he decided that it would be better if he was more precise and careful with the subjects he chose. He needed reason in order to be able to express himself through photography. «Of course it took some time to learn the technical side, but understanding ‘why' was more important to me. I found that in photography I can freeze the time and I can be very attentive to the details, to the atmosphere, which exists only in that particular moment. And when all the choices are made right it gives a magical ability to stop the viewer and to make him think». That’s why Alexey chose photography!

'The Appleseed Necklace’ series is based on what used to be a predominant DIY culture in the country of his origin (Belarus), which flourished during his childhood years. Behind each photograph lies a real story. «As I staged my photographs, I referred to my memories and nostalgic feelings for the things that I had seen and had heard in the past; events that I had participated in. For example, ’The Potato Picker’ is based on a story that happened to a classmate of mine. In Belarus it is still quite usual to send students to summer jobs. So he was sent somewhere far away in the country for a collecting potatoes job. He would have to follow a tractor and pick up the potatoes. The whole activity takes place in a very dusty and hot environment. He had no idea how to prepare, thus the crafty farmer helped him by making a pair of protective glasses out of the available material - a plastic bottle and a rubber string. It is exactly this ability to make something out of nothing that really surprised and impressed me. So I reconstructed the glasses myself and tried to make the stage the photograph as if I was there with them taking the image. There is a similar kind of story behind each photograph in the series, and in each photograph I am talking about the particular quality of that DIY lifestyle».

Alexey is working on two projects for the moment. The first one is some kind of a sequel to the ‘Appleseed Necklace’. «The theme is studying intersection of different cultures, similarities in them and their peculiar aspects. It is hard to say at the moment where it will end, because the topic seems quite broad, but we will see!» The second series focuses on the medium of digital photography, the post-processing technology and the possibilities which lie within.

Alexey moved to Belgium about a year ago and he started his studies in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. For the next two years he plans to continue his education with a masters and he then hopes to use this time smart in order to produce a variety of interesting projects. “It is hard to say where I will be in five years! Life is very unpredictable and I am open to every opportunity. However, I would like to publish a book (or two) with my work, to have a number of good exhibitions in Europe and to continue my journey in art through photography.”


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