Ask the Collective: Inga Gezalian on the Importance of Eye-To-Eye Contact
By Cheryl - 5 min read
Inga Gezalian (@ingagezalian) is a photographer hailing from Odessa, Ukraine. She told us why connecting with people is the true decider when it comes to taking meaningful portraits.
What do you specialize in with your photography?
Eye to eye contact. I shoot portraits, mainly close-ups.
These are our three of our favorite photos out of the ones you’ve uploaded. Is there a story behind them you could share?
“I capture the waves I get from the person in front of me.”
The first photo is representative of my whole feed. I like doing “art photography” based on a feeling of nowness. I capture the waves—sounds, colors, and emotions—I get from the person in front of me. The model in the picture reminds me of fire, volcanoes, orange colors.
“Connecting with the person is what decides the outcome.”
I fell in love with this neon red light, and I wanted to take some “Xavier-Dolan-movie” portraits there. But reality can be cruel: It was not a quiet place, lots of workers were rushing around. Still, all you need for such shots is your iPhone and a bit of imagination. Connecting with the person is what decides the outcome.
This is a bit of a rebellious story. The three of us—me, my model Olga, and her brother—climbed up onto the roof for the sake of adventure. We are obviously not allowed to do that, and so we knew we could be thrown out any time. The view from this rooftop was worth our courage, though.
“Film is a magical, even spiritual tool.”
Film or Digital?
Both. The iPhone is for staying unnoticed but also present to the highest degree. Film is for capturing inner feelings and thoughts, with no additional shots allowed. It’s a magical, even spiritual visual tool.
How does your country or city influence you?
I suppose that my southern city, Odessa, helps with the notion of nowness. The feeling that “everything is allowed” hits when you take the very first steps there. Although I feel that “home” has nothing to do with a geotag.
“Home has nothing to do with a geotag.”
Got a photo to share?
How important is post-production to you?
Post-production matters, but it’s intuitive. First, I think about what I want: Adding a glitch or blur, for instance. Then I search for the filter or app. But obviously I prefer portraits that are good enough without any interference. When it comes to film, I prefer no editing at all.
Have you sold any of your photos on EyeEm Market yet?
Nope. I guess it’s partly because I’m working with my iPhone in quite dark places and the quality isn’t good enough. I hope that will change.
What’s your dearest photography ritual?
I am addicted to the idea of creating things that are both deep and simple. I tend to study the object I want to depict—and after a while, the things around me will spontaneously start reminding me of the project I work on. It happens without my control. I also save quotes to use in captions.
Who is your favorite user to follow on EyeEm?
If you could have a coffee with a famous photographer who would that be?
Andy Warhol or possibly Man Ray.
“The road to chance is based on an investigation process.”
Do you have any unrealized photo dreams? Or projects you are currently working on?I shoot mostly by chance. But the road to chance is based on an investigation process. I have lots of projects in my head. Right now, I’m working on a project about the length of waves. I would love to depict sounds, to visualize them. I’m trying to find a path to bringing them into images.
My photos are based on how vibrant colors affect the viewer. I love artists like Rothko and Kandinsky. And as far as we understand, both sounds and colors are just waves with different lengths—and the lens might become a tool for capturing them.