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Interestingly, Valery Latypov who is originally from Moscow is an engineer of a condensed matter state, in other words a nuclear and quantum optics physicist, obviously an intriguing human being…
But what he is most known for is being a photographer, and a talented yet humble one at that.
Phanganist enjoyed an afternoon with Valery and here he tells us about his work and Koh Phangan experiences…
Tell us your Koh Phangan story...
I came here two months ago, basically it was not planned. My girlfriend was here so I flew here because of her.
I was thinking I would stay for two weeks to one month but as you can see I have stayed longer.
Will I stay more? I think now I will go home to finish some business and think of whether to come back and stay.
I work worldwide, I was living in India for half a year and Bali but if I’m in a place for too long it gets boring, I need more projects and some inspiration.
Tell us about your artistic and photographic history?
It started when I was about five or six years old, my mum gave me an old camera, a Zenit E and I made maybe a couple of films and then forgot about it.
Afterwards I was studying guitar and music for five years since I was eighteen and a few years later the teacher was not teaching music technically but talking about the philosophy of life. I wouldn’t say this was a bad or good thing but it was a good experience.
I quit this study and took my camera, a Canon 40D and as I have a lot of friends in music I became a music photographer. They invited me to take pictures and they liked it so it became more than just going to the concerts, this is when it really started.
I make pictures for a lot of Russian music band's, photo sessions, live sets and etc.
What do you enjoy about photographing the music scene?
I'm a part of it and I enjoy to dance with it. It gives me the inspiration to open my heart and send my love and energy to the band and to the atmosphere, to be free and wild to do what I want.
A funny case was when I was making pictures of Depeche Mode, I couldn't just stand, I needed some drive but a Japanese girl saw me dancing and said ‘C’mon do your pictures instead of dancing!’ but it was a good experience as it energised everyone.
I was working at Glastonbury Festival two years ago and WOMAD a couple of times and met Peter Gabriel, we discussed politics and he asked me about the Putin situation in Russia. And answered my questions that maybe WOMAD festival will back in Russia in a couple of years.
So what do you take photos of now?
Music pictures are my passion and soul, I can see in every soul the music inside them.
Right now I’m making projects with artistic, jazz people, you can open and inspire them to create artistic stuff.
I see everyone’s unique soul so I take the soul and bring it out in a picture. It can be portrait, or reportage pictures like Songkran I did here on Koh Phangan.
Do you have a favourite location?
When you travel a lot, every place is different so it’s very hard to chose, but I think Barcelona.
I like the feelings of artistic freedom, the food, wine and cheese.
Also the architecture of the city, old narrow streets and it has a history in Europe not like in modern churches they are empty and you feel nothing inside.
What have you been working on in Koh Phangan?
For me it's to sit on the street and find a situation, to sit and observe what’s happening and catch the moments.
I saw a fisherman family come to the seashore and the father went on the boat somewhere and left the son, daughter and mother. The boy took a stick and began to play with his sister which was so amazing with true emotions, so real, so pure and so funny at the same time to observe it.
Do you enjoy the nature of Phangan for photography or is it more social situations?
You have to be true to compare the sights in Nepal, India and the Himalayas so Phangan is not so photogenic for amazing landscapes but wonderful for sunrise or sunsets but you still won’t find me waking up before sunrise to get a landscape picture.
I try to find places with less partying, more thai people and motorbike drivers.
Do you have any projects planned for the rest of the year?
I have a couple of projects in Moscow, one guy has a very good voice and is beginning to be promoted by my producer friend so I will take pictures of him. After this I have a project to do jewellery in Barcelona and in August there will be a Russian ball in London.
I have a couple of projects in America, my friend is a chef and is going to release a book and he wants to meet and make pictures for it in New York.
In LA I have Eli James to work with, he is a drummer of Julien K (ex-Orgy) ) and has his own clothes line so I will photograph this for him as well.
Do you think you will ever settle somewhere for longer half a year?
For the past five years I can’t stay in a place longer than half a year, I do this with India, America, Myanmar, Europe and even in Moscow I can only stay half a year, no more than that.
If I was to imagine somewhere to stay longer, for work and inspiration it would be Barcelona or Bali or maybe I will just continue to discover new places.
What are you enjoying about the island when not taking photos?
I’m enjoying tom kha soup, taking the bike and driving through the jungle to see new sights, new places and new beaches.
Sometimes I go to the parties, listen to music, read books or watch movies and just to be in balance and peace here.
And leave us with your life philosophy...
To be open to life, to face the new things that you're afraid to do, to be open with people and to enjoy and inspire yourself and other people.
To invent something uninvented. New things!