I don't remember much, but in the first half of 2008, Ralph Gibson and Alex Webb with Rebecca Norris-Webb visited Moscow. I knew then that Webb was a MagnumPhotos photographer, but who Ralph Gibson was, I didn't know at all. It seemed like such a high-flying bird and I could not imagine that I would spend three days shooting nude models, of which I counted five.
So I signed up for both Ralph and Alex and Rebecca workshops. Thanks to my mom. She supported me with money.
Gibson talked a lot. What he said and how, he didn't know. It was like a stream of consciousness.
He said photographers should be able to shoot nudes and architecture. I learned from him what the universal woman - a woman without a head, if literally, and without tattoos and piercings.
A little late, I walked into the auditorium. There were two naked girls standing there, Ralph was sitting next to them and saying something. I looked at the nudes, it reminded me of Helmut Newton. Gibson talked a lot in general. I don't have much of a memory. Then Orlov asked the Rodchenko School if he could get a recording of the master class. After all, Gibson talked a lot and interestingly.
I still do not have a recording.
Well, I think it's great, I'm gonna do three days of shooting nudes.
Gibson said that the human eye has its own intellect, that its purpose of being a photographer is to become a photographer at the end, that photographs grow on their own over time, that one photograph can take a month, that it can hold for weeks.
Gibson can do thirty proofs or so for the sake of one print. Until he gets what he wants.
Ralph shoots on a film Leica (now switched to digital) with a 35mm wide, as does Webb, as I did about a year later.
I won't say that I took some of the pictures myself. The master was there. I made up some of the staging myself. You know, like a cartoon with a portrait of Medvedev with little Putin growing on his shoulder.
I mean, where would I find a room to shoot nudes? Where would I get five of these awesome nudes?
Ralph looked at my portfolio and wondered why I wasn't a photo reporter by occupation. He was referring to earnings. Now Orlov remembered how in 2008 or so he was working as an under-photographer for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, with a salary of 300₽ per shoot, and everything more was a percentage of the views on the site.
Ralph gave each student a catalog of his work. Everyone got an autograph. And Gibson, here, is waiting for me to come up for an autograph. And Orlov didn't come up for some secret reason. Then he didn't come again. And another time.
Some of the staging was done, set up, photographed, myself, some of it was set up by Gibson, and I took pictures. Several times I approached the photographer with a sitter and took my own shot, unrelated to the staging. But in the pictures presented, for the most part, my ideas.
After the third day of filming, I think, I went to visit Razhden Gamezardashvili. I gave him the catalog to browse through. He took the catalog and hasn't given it back to me yet. And he said that Ralph Gibson is a jerk.
For me, it's an open question of who's a jerk and who isn't.
Gibson arranged the workshop so that it was possible to work with model women. But many years later Mukhin said that the master class failed because, let's just say, there was no privacy, some intimacy and direct contact with the model.
Gibson showed everyone a game of light.
Years later, back in 2008, now in 2022, I dug through these amazingly clean scans and did a hatchet job on color correction. It turned out to be interesting.
I chose 28 black and white photos. And now, look, Orlov is going to publish them. Right now, yes.