Taras Bychko’s authentic snapshots document big-city life in his hometown and create visual worlds that oscillate between the poetic and the mysterious. The Ukrainian photographer talked to us about his love for street photography and praised the very special charm of shooting on the streets of Ukraine.
How did you get into the world of photography?
Photography came into my life with the birth of my son. I bought a camera to record my son while he was growing up. Eventually, the magic of photography absorbed me completely.
In general, what is hisSykhivproject about?
Sykhivit is about life in the largest and youngest district of Lviv. Lviv is one of the most touristic cities in Ukraine. He wanted to show Viewers the life of the city, which is far from the tourist “glitch”, but is very real, alive and close to many Ukrainians, reproducing, as it does, today’s realities. I try to capture the spirit of the times.
You were born and raised in Sykhiv. How would you describe that part of Lviv? What are the biggest differences compared to other parts of Lviv?
For me there are two Sykhiv: the first Sykhiv is the one that lives in my memory, which gave me ideas to find plots. I subconsciously searched for scenes where, with the help of the camera, I seemed to be transported back to my adolescent memories of the place around me. The second Sykhiv is a quiet district, completely opposed to the exquisite architecture of the cathedrals and tenements of the central historical part of the city, but showing the real life of Ukrainians in big cities. It has endless rows of apartment buildings and shows a lot of the character of the city’s inhabitants.
What do you like about street photography in particular?
For me, street photography is a spontaneous intuition, a feeling of capturing what is happening around me. At the same time it is interesting, exciting and unique. Taking street photography is a deep and well thought out thing that requires a lot of visual and hands-on experience. It is always necessary to be “on” in order not to lose the gifts of fate and to be able to react to them in a timely and correct manner; and, if everything fits, to get a mount that is close to the ideal, a mount that is always close to us. Perhaps this understanding is what I like most about street photography.
What is your photographic approach in the street? Are you more of an observant person or are you always on the go?
I force myself to avoid any technique and strive to constantly change genres and my approach to photography. So it probably all depends on the situation I find myself in. Before, I was very biased towards certain approaches, but now I clearly understand that the most important thing is the framework received. It doesn’t matter how it was done, the main thing is the final photo that the viewer will see as a result. Any convention only gets in the way of a successful photo.
Photographs in both color and black and white. Why did you choose black and white this time?
In general, I’m interested in changing my visual language depending on the project I’m working on. In this case, I wanted to focus on a form from which nothing distracted, and also to give these images a timelessness.
What camera were you using and why?
This series was shot on a Leica M6 TTL with a 40mm Summicron-C and a 50mm Summicron-M. For me, the Leica M6 is the perfect camera that has nothing extra and allows me to concentrate on the shooting process as much as possible. An important moment in this project was also developing and printing these photos myself.
What is special about street photography in Ukraine compared to other countries?
I would like to think that Ukrainian street photography is deeper, not superficial, and does not pursue the so-called Wow effects. It is honest and real and seeks to operate with deeper meanings.
In general, what does photography mean to you?
Photography is a language that allows me to speak and be heard. For this, I am infinitely grateful.
Taras Bychkowas born in Lviv, Ukraine in 1987. He works in documentary and fine art photography, and is also a curator, teacher, and judge of various international competitions, as well as a member of the international street collective Little Box Collective, and co-founder of the Ukrainian street photography group . Since 2021, he has been working as a curator of photo projects at the Lviv Municipal Art Center. He was a winner and finalist of the National Photographer of the Year Award (2016), Leica Street Photo (2019), Miami Street Photo Festival (2016, 2017, 2018), among many others. Bychko is the author of two books –Sykhiv(2020) and2 bedrooms(2021) – and his work has been published in LFI Magazine, Burn Magazine, National Geographic and other publications. Discover more about his photography in hiswebsiteandInstagram Page.
PostingSykhivfirst appeared inThe Leica Camera Blog.