Notes on automatism of perception and essential seeing.

Photographers (and me among them) usually try to choose the best, the most beautiful and perfect images from their photoshoots, something they like the most. Criteria could be diverse, but in any case it’s a reflection of subjective/taught by society (and often automatic) positions on topic “something is better than something”. I don’t like such discrimination and hierarchical automatism of perception. Usually, “the best” in case of photography means trivial things such as “good composition”, “nice color”,”successfully caught moment”, “well-communicated atmosphere”, “interestingly presented idea”, “well translated theme or topic”, etc. But what about worst images / the worst in general? For example, if we are shooting the portrait, and it came up not perfect or even bad - it doesn’t mean that the person we photograph became worse, right? I don’t like photography as a tool to make something look “better”. It’s sort of narcissistic self-objectification, similar to all this endless selfies and instagram-such “beauty”. Art photography can be similar, when trying to express ideas through “interesting” approach or form. Even social/documentary photography appealing to the same hierarchies and criterias that are just lies in different context. It’s all the same for me. It’s all about domination and ideology, imposed by the modern world.

In my opinion, the thing is not about technique, and not about how we imagine or think about something we are looking on with our eyes, but about how or actually what we see with our inner vision (or what we feel about what we see). In photography, dynamic attitude to photo-shoot is about “catching” the right moment that provides ability to see and select the one “best” image that will show what photographer wants to express and share with this photograph. This approach is nothing new, it’s very common. But what about all those other moments? Even those that has never been photographed?...

What interests me in this series is the fulfillness of static attitude, improved by movement. If we are looking at the object, we participate in its formation. if we participate in its formation, we can know something about the object (or subject, theme, idea), so we can suggest or feel its essence. And so, if we don’t look at this object (or subject, theme, idea), but we suppose that it lasts in our memory or consciousness as an unchanging essence (even accepting it’s changeability in the world of forms (the outer world) and time); - how can we show what is hidden inside, its essence - through external and visible? Is it actually possible? Form is always a subject for objectification and analysis, it is possible to explain and say -“it is good because of that and it is bad because of this, it’s suchlike”. But essential vision does not think in terms of "good / bad", nor conceives objectification. It does not judge. Essential vision "presentiments” something that exists in the direction we look, what lies over there, in being itself, at the very bottom of it - where there is neither time nor quality - but only fullness, infinity and immortality, or in other words, a source, that gives possibility for everything to coexist.

Is it possible to get rid of automatic perception (in photography and life), and go deeper to observe the method that leads to growth of reduction of separation and alienation from the original essence of photography? And if we can get rid of such automatic perception, what will we get, what it will be like? Will it be just the new form presented, that we will objectify once more, or it will lead to the new, open path of essential insight/revelation seeing?

(The series is driven from the experience of shared Russian\Cambodian historical past of dictatorship, repressions and genocide).

Technical description


Each image in this series consists of three layers - the photograph i like on some criteria, the photograph i don’t like on some criteria and neutral photograph that i cannot say if i like it or not or that i feel nothing to. In the photograph i like i erase everything i like. In the photograph i don’t like i erase everything i don’t like. Third photograph stays untouched. as a result of this manipulation i get unexpected image, where first two layers (that i like(first) and that i don’t like(second)) are turned into the opposite of themselves - the one i like hides what i liked in it, and shows what i didn’t like. And so the one i didn’t like hides what i didn’t like in it and shows what i liked. The neutral image has function of the shield. It creates a field, where chaos, created by the exposure of the automatic perception mechanism, stays in form. Through this action i try to create an image that will be free from the judgement, where opposite sides are not destroyed, but equally manifested, developed and balanced in its equality. The original files of the images are kept safe and unmodified in my personal archive.


The idea for realization for this project is creating an object that will strengthen the idea. The object is the installation, made of transparent glass bricks with printed images on opposite sides of it combined together creating a ‘wall’, where opposite images of the process will create a neutral and new meaning, resolving the idea of conflict. By doing such trick, the ‘wall’ that is idea of separation itself, becomes its opposite, the wall of unity, at the same time keeping its original meaning. The ‘wall’ is being placed on the glass table and enlightened with lasers of different colors, including black and white, from different sides of it, entering the bricks and creating colorful game of light and interaction inside the object, giving it inner movement and interaction of different waves of light. Also, the installation is being accompanied by sound installation, adding the light, materia, photographic images and surrounding space resonation and vibration of the specific, chosen place for this installation. (Hindu/Buddhist pyramid in Koh Ker)

The bricks as a metaphor for construction are depicting the process of development, ‘Eternal construction’, aiming to present the process that is happening with the overcoming of the borders in modern world, despite some political processes that are trying to stop it. So, in this installation both sides are presented in nondestructive way.