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Photographer Ihor Haiday and his new photographs with hundreds of people in each photograph
At the end of 2007, an exhibition of photographs made by the well-known Ukrainian photographer Ihor Haiday was held at the Ukrayinsky Dim Culture Center within the framework of the Art-Kyiv project.
Mariya VLAD went to see the exhibition and talk to the photographer, and she presents to the readers her impressions of what she saw and heard.
Ihor Haiday’s exhibition of 13 large-sized photographs was called RAZOM.UA (“razom” means “together”). The photographs were indeed very large — 950 x 2,900 centimeters each. In each photograph you can see a group of people, each group at least a hundred people strong. They appear against the background of natural, historical or architectural landmarks, or of industrial facilities and building sites.
It is not only the size of the photographs that makes the exhibition very special indeed. The photo artist has put into the extraordinary photographs ideas of social and humanitarian significance, which are aimed at heightening the collective national awareness of those who were directly involved in posing for the photographs and of those who see them.
Such photographs could be made only thanks to the most sophisticated state-of-the-art technologies. But the works shown at the RAZOM.UA exhibition cannot be viewed only as technological and artistic achievements of photography — Ihor Haiday wanted to present to the viewers what he calls “the collective energy” of a considerable number of people united by the place of work or precipitation in an event that unites them.
According to the photographer, this “collective energy” is made up of “individual energies” of all the people that appear in each of the photographs. Such “collective energy” can be experienced at a soccer or baseball game, at a military parade, at a rock concert when the people present at such events are united by what they experience and share more or less similar feelings about what they see.
Such “collective energies” can be destructive too — crowd violence or violence in revolutions are well-known examples of “the collective energy”. At the same time, “collective energy,” if channeled into constructive or, say, defensive war effort, can achieve a lot.
Ihor Haiday’s photographs brought together workers, priests, politicians, educators, doctors, actors, students and athletes. And in each photograph (the number of people in some of the photographs is close to a thousand or more) you can see representatives of only one trade, one profession, one occupation or one residence. The countryside, urban environment, plazas in front of churches or factories, windows of a high-rise under construction are the places where these people are freely and loosely gathered. Looking at the photographs of these multitudes, you can’t help feeling those “collective energies” they exude. You feel that these people are united by the common cause, by the place, by awareness of what they can do, awareness of their skills and strengths. And you can feel that they are proud of being together, proud of their talents. The photographs, in some mysterious way, have captured this awareness, this pride. Anyway, it is what I felt looking at these amazing photographs.
Ihor Haiday came up with the idea of taking such photographs back in 2003, and it took a lot of effort and time and logistics to carry the project out. In the photographs appear a military unit in full strength, the staff of General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the children of an orphanage with their teachers and nurses, a firefighters’ unit, the entire population of a village in the Carpathians celebrating a holiday, a group of bikers — just to name those that I’ve been most impressed by.
The photographer is planning to continue making such large-sized photographs involving hundreds of people in each of the photographs and bring the total number of such photographs to 50. He created a website, www.razom.ua, at which you can get more information about the progress of the project. The website is interactive and you can take part in a contest or suggest your own ideas. The actual events of taking of the photographs are captured on video, and these videos will be shown on television.
Ihor Haiday, born in 1961, developed an interest in photography at the age of 11. He explored all the possibilities that photography offers, used all possible techniques and technologies, looking for his own style in photography. Mr Haiday studied at the Department of Cinema of the Karpenko Kary National University of Theater, Cinema and Television in Kyiv, never stopping taking photographs. Upon graduation, he worked as a cameraman and photography director at the Dovzhenko Film Studio in Kyiv. His particular strength was making commercials and film previews.
Mr Haiday felt there were things other than making commercials in which he could achieve more ambitious goals and he, jointly with his wife, set up a photo studio, first of its kind in Ukraine, that specialized in advertisement photography. His studio, which was originally called Studio 16, and later was renamed Haiday Studio, is situated at 22 Prorezna Street in Kyiv. Having worked for a long time in advertisement photography and having thus gained versatile professional experience, Mr Haiday moved on to portrait and art photography. He published a number of albums with his photographs, each of which was devoted to a certain theme, idea or concept (Ukrayintsi. Pochatok tretyoho tysyacholittya — Ukrainians. Early Third Millennium; Dity indyho — Children of indigo; Rodyna — Family; Kosmos ukrayinskoho khliba — Cosmos of Ukrainian Bread; Odna vdoma — Home Alone; Akva; Nyu — Nude; for more information go to www.photogaidai.org).
Says Ihor Haiday: “Photography for me is a way of coming to know life in all of its diversity. Thanks to photography and its possibilities, I discover wonders of existence, of everyday life. I give preference to simple, down-to-earth ideas which, as it turns out, bring wonderful discoveries. I do not limit myself to one particular subject but it is people that I photograph most. I am fascinated by how miraculously wonders are revealed through prosaic things, and I want to share these wonders with people. The main characteristic feature of photography is that of being able to capture events that happen here and now, but it does not prevent one from experimenting, in fact, it encourages experimenting and brings out a tremendous potential of photography. Each of my photography projects explores one particular theme, and through exploring it, I express myself.”
Says Dmytro Andriyevsky, sponsor of Ihor Haiday’s project RAZOM.UA: “I’ve been greatly impressed by this ambitious project. I am of the opinion that this idea of collectivism, national and cultural unity that Ihor Haiday explores in his photographs should be given all the support that we can muster. His photographs are an art, beautiful, philosophical and at the same time democratic, and these features of Haiday’s art will attract attention of many people. I’m confident that Ihor Haiday’s photographs will be highly appreciated all around Ukraine.”
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Staff members of the Board of Fire Safety in Kyiv
Miners who have just left the mine, the deepest
A wedding in the village of Sheshory, May 1 2007.
A religious procession in the village of Kryvorivnya
In the village of Kotsyubynske, Kyiv Oblast, September 14 2007.