Jun 11, 2019
Interview with Evgeniy Li (cover)
  • What did you like about the genre of Photo Story? What new experience did you get?

I was interested in shooting the Photo Story according to the given screenplay, and the challenge actually was to match with the screenplay of the story, convey the mood and the idea of the plot. For me it was like filming a movie, where I act as a director and cameraman at the same time.

  • Do Photo Stories suit your common style of shooting?

I did not experience problems while shooting, it was a big series of staging photos on different locations. It was something new to work with models who are to be told what emotion should be emphasised and how to pose, so that everything will look harmoniously within the frame and reveal the story.

  • What turned out to be the most difficult in the preparation? How much time did you spend on it?

The preparation turned out to be the most difficult and the longest part of shooting. It was important for me to shoot everything in one day, so that the main character will not look different in scenes between which the plot takes less than half an hour. That is why we were thinking about the time management and plan everything with the models. It took us for about a week and a half to prepare everything.

  • Tell us about the crew - who were working on the project and how were the tasks spread? Is this your regular team or were there people with whom you were working for the first time?

Our small but coherent crew included only people with whom I have been working together earlier.

Faina - a stylist/organiser of the shooting. Faina communicated with models, coordinate and dress them up. It is hard to imagine how I would manage to do everything without her.

Marina - a makeup artist. Marina did not let actors without makeup enter the shooting, thanks to her efforts the main character looks so bright in nude scenes and so gently in romantic ones.

Also, I would like to point out the Dark Loft studio for creating a location with bookshelves specially for us and supporting us throughout the shooting.

  • How were you looking for actors? Was it a casting or were you looking for the suitable candidates by yourself? Which characters were easy to create and which needed to be worked out?

The most difficult task - to find an appropriate model for the main character, cause the whole plot was built around her. On the one hand the girl should look intelligent and mysterious, on the other hand she should look natural while being naked within the frame.

We have been choosing among the great number of candidates for this role, and then we have finally found Sasha (our model has even the same name as the main character), who played her role wonderful and looked good within the frame.

Other characters were chosen in accordance with the main character, Pasha suited the best for the role of a romantic boyfriend. Vsevolod and Alim were good in a role of pompous viewers.

However, we had some problems with the easiest role of the third viewer, he didn’t come for the shooting. But thanks to the Faina’s operative work, while I was shooting other frames, we have found a replacement - we are grateful to Vlad for replacing the absent viewer.

  • How did you set the lightning: according to the schemes or improvising just on the locations?

I used easy schemes of lightning with a minimum set of light sources (1-2 softs). We shooting the scenes in the street early morning, so the natural lighting was enough. Thus, I like the complicated schemes of light and other additional effects in fashion and art photography, but if we talk about Photo Stories, it is very to make everything look natural, I wanted the viewer believe the reality of what is happening.

  • Were you following the storyboard or were you improvising with angles while shooting?

I have prepared the set of basic frames, just a list with a mentioning  who, where and what is doing within the frame. Each frame of those were shot dozens of times in several takes, there was a lot of improvisation, with a purpose to take a maximum of all the prop and location.

  • Which scene was the most difficult? What did you like the most about the process?

The most difficult was to shoot the final scene, where the main character should be smiling with a significant and mysterious smile, her boyfriend should look very naive. We were experimenting with emotions and angles, and the guys managed to make a perfect shot, which is now on the cover of «Public Library Service».

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