“Herbarium” by Igor Samolet

By in Interviews, Series on 3. May 2016

OSTLOOK: The lead character of his works is a person hopping, making mistakes. The main theme of his creation is human relations. Working on projects for a long time and in personal places, the author reaches the necessary level of truth and openness and gets the possibility to see not only the joyful part of life. Igor is interested not in outer reasons of his characters’ actions, but the nature of their intimate cravings and wishes. Tell us what is Herbarium about?

Igor Samolet: This is a project about my interaction with an unfamiliar place where I try to lose myself in the history of the village, to feel its mood and character of the place which may be both serious and happy and sad. All the complexity of these feelings I tried to express.

OSTLOOK: You found your own language to describe an complexity of a russian village and its Sovjet traditions. How was your approach?

Igor Samolet: I made a series of self-portraits with a mask on my face for this project. Somehow, I tried to dissolve in the environment. I used different materials for the masks found at hand, which made the contact with the place even more physical.

OSTLOOK: In your work be happy you were an observer.
In herbarium you take part yourself and stage the portraits
with combination of things and archive photos. What happen if you
intervent in the reality instead of being an observer?

Igor Samolet: The question of distance during the photoshoot is problematic for me, I can never be present above the situation. At least, I play the role of a friend which gives the works a very strong personal shade, and helps to see the more difficult things. By photographing my friends, I am photographing myself.

OSTLOOK: How important is biographical connection for your stories?

Igor Samolet: All my projects grow out of my daily life, and they are going hand in hand with it. The work for the Herbarium started from my arrival to help my parents to lift potatoes. As for Be Happy!, I started shooting it when I came for the summer holidays to my hometown.

OSTLOOK: What inspires you?

Igor Samolet: I get inspired by the daily routine, the complexity and ambiguousness of my country’s history, and my family.

OSTLOOK: What are your current project about?

Igor Samolet: Now I am working on How I Loved and Stopped Being Scared. I am shooting the sequel for Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”. In the original story my hometown Kotlas is shot by the atomic bomb, and then begins World War III. Here I am trying to look narrowly into the future.

Igor Samolet. Born in 1984, Russia.
Igor’s Website: www.igorsamolet.com

posted by Jewgeni Roppel

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