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Kharkiv photographer Vladyslav Krasnoshchek's love for black-and-white film photographs

Soldiers of the 66th Brigade. Nevske village in the direction of Lyman-Kreminna. Spring of 2023. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

Taken, developed, printed, and scanned - this is the process of film photographs by Kharkiv-based artist, photographer, and doctor Vladyslav Krasnoshchek. He captures the Russian-Ukrainian war, its consequences, its tragedies and its heroes in black and white. We talk to Vladyslav about the photos, their meaning and his approach to work.

Vladyslav, who are you? What do you consider yourself to be?

I am a doctor, actually. I used to work as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in an emergency hospital, and now I work as a dentist, surgeon, and implantologist in a private clinic. Photography has always been a hobby of mine, but I position myself as an artist who still works with photography.

What projects are you working on now?

No, I don't have any projects in mind at all. I'm currently filming the war.

Ruins of the Institute of the Presidency in Kharkiv. May 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

How did your love for photography, and film in particular, begin?

About 15 years ago, I started taking pictures first with a digital camera, and then switched to film. I chose black-and-white film because I can fully control the whole process, from shooting to printing. That is, I control all these things myself: I take pictures, develop them, print them, and then I get the result I need.


The photo was taken from a car window on the way to a training session for the 12th Brigade of the Azov National Guard in Kharkiv region. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

How complicated is this process?

There is nothing complicated about it. It just takes some time.

I think it also takes a lot of time when you work with digital, because you shoot, then you upload it to the computer, then you process it somehow. In my case, I took photos, developed the films, then scanned the films to select the photos I wanted to print. And then I printed them. That is, I have them on paper, and then I scan them to be able to display them electronically somewhere.

Why black and white photos and not color?

Again, in the case of black-and-white photography, I have full control over the process of shooting before printing. But if I need to shoot in color, then I need to give the color film to someone in a laboratory. Sometimes they can do something wrong. However, recently I started shooting with color film. I'm interested in it.

Old Saltiv in 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

Winter in Kupiansk in 2023. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

And from a visual point of view, does black-and-white photography convey something better and more accurately than color photography?

Black and white photography, in my opinion, is more old-school, where the form works. And color photography, in my opinion, is more complicated. Because you have to work with color, and therefore the composition works differently.

What about the quality? Why do you choose to take film photos rather than digital ones?

For me, quality is not something that can be measured in pixels or anything else. For me, quality is when the picture works for the viewer. From my point of view, it should be a perfect composition. That is, formally, the photo should work, and if it works formally, it can give birth to some image for the viewer when they look at it.

A cow in the field. The village of Davydiv Brid, Mykolaiv region. Winter of 2023. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

You are currently photographing the war. Can you tell us more about what exactly you are photographing? Who is it? Where?

War is a lot of different topics, and that's why I have conditionally divided it for myself. My goal is to make a book about this war. When I have covered about 70% of the topics I am working on, I will be able to make this book. These are not only the consequences of the “arrivals,” but also destroyed buildings, destroyed bridges, the work of the State Emergency Service, the work of the military and medics, the work of our equipment, prisoners or some looters, and so on. And then all of this is put together separately, and from this you can make a kind of image that could convey what was happening in our country at that time.

Bohorodychne village in 2022 after the liberation. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

Do shots become more valuable if they are taken on film because of the limit?

I've always said that I have a sporty approach to shooting on film, because I don't shoot everything in a row, but think about when and what I shoot. However, I never regret a shot if there is an interesting situation. But there are times when you take one or two shots, and that's good.

In general, how many frames are in one film and how many films do you take with you to a shoot?

When I was shooting with a medium format Mamiya, I had 10 frames per film. If it's a narrow format, it's 36 frames. If it's a panoramic camera, it's about 20 frames. I always have enough film with me. I usually have 10 films with me. Although it's better to always have a spare, because you never know what you're going to see.

Kupyansk after the liberation. Fall of 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

The mass grave in Izyum, where about 450 bodies were exhumed after the de-occupation. Fall of 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

What did you shoot before the war? Did you participate in exhibitions?

Both before and during the war, my photographs could be seen at exhibitions, including abroad. Before the war, I photographed Kharkiv, the Maidan, and the hospital where I worked at the time. I also did street photography. In 2012, a Houston photography museum bought my hand-colored photographs. Then I used the money to buy a Leica film camera.

What are hand-colored photographs?

It's a paper print of your photos. It's a tradition at the Kharkiv School of Photography. You take some paints, for example, we used paints that could be used to paint on fabrics, and paint these photos.

Where do you get your inspiration? Do you admire the work of your colleagues?

There are so many photographers taking good pictures now, so I can't single out anyone's work. I really like the way Maksym Dondiuk shoots in color. But in general, all photographers, including me, make repetitions. That's why it's really hard to shoot something new now.

Kupyansk direction. Winter of 2023. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

Are there any photo books or anything else where you get inspiration?

I don't draw inspiration, I create it myself. That is, when I get bored with something, I just start doing something else in my art. Then I come back to photography again. Before the Russian invasion, I had a break from photography. When the full-scale war started, I realized that I needed to shoot the war. I became interested in photography again. So now I live by it.

The village of Posad-Pokrovske after the de-occupation of the Kherson region. 2023. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

Do you have time to go to work?

Yes, of course I do. I'm not a news photographer, so I don't have to cover all the arrivals every day. I don't have this routine. My goal is different: to collect a general picture of the war and make a book.

Is there a photo you dream of making?

I want to make a book. That is my goal. Maybe it will be several books. Because I am still working separately with the guys from the army aviation. I constantly go to them and take pictures. They need a separate publication.

Soldiers of the army aviation brigade in the Zaporizhzhia sector. Summer of 2023. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

Are there any photos that have become special to you?

There are such photos. There are photos where the guys are still alive, and then I shoot their burial. There are even photos where I shoot the burial of some guys, while others are carrying the coffin, and they have already died. Unfortunately, there are more and more situations like this. I believe that the photos are valuable from a historical point of view. It's as if you are writing this history. Many guys die, but they remain in the photos. These photos fulfill their function of preserving memory. I would like to add that film photos are a physical thing, and in the case of mega-mega-blackouts, when all electronic means do not work, you will have a physical photo. This is an advantage.

The burial of Oleksandr Chaban in Kharkiv. Summer of 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Krasnoshchek

On the morning of May 19, Russian troops struck twice at a recreation area in the suburbs of Kharkiv with Iskander-M missiles, where about fifty people were staying. The tragedy of the destroyed recreation center in the suburbs of Kharkiv on the film photos of Vladyslav Krasnoshchek


Vladyslav Krasnoshchek is a Kharkiv-based artist. In 1997-2002 he studied at the Dental Faculty of Kharkiv State Medical University. In 2004-2018 he worked at the Kharkiv State Clinical Hospital of Emergency and Ambulance named after O. I. Meshchaninov. He has been engaged in photography since 2008. He is engaged in documentary photography, street art, as well as easel and printed graphics. The photographer's Instagram.


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