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The thing I care the most is that it’s my own idea when I take photos and enjoy the process. In the last few years, I’ve only been focusing on personal, mostly long-term projects.
I photographed the Putin series in 2007, as an assignment for a Russian magazine. I worked with a fantastic assistant who helped me get full access to these young people’s homes. I loved the banality of the idea, and tried to capture it as something of a strangely personal, home and fashion project, without dealing at all with the political aspect. I was simply interested in having a personal look inside these young people’s lives.
My next project is called Studio Panindigan. I spent 4 months in a remote fishing village called Panindigan in Palawan Island, Philippines. I set up a makeshift studio in my neighbor’s yard and invited the locals to portray them. I treated the series like my own private movie casting as I found that some of the people really had movie-like characters (at least I had that feeling).
I had a great time with these people in my studio. It is a totally personal project, and I went back again this year for a few weeks more to complete and hopefully publish a book on the project.
I stopped commercial photography in the last few years, pursuing my hobby-architecture projects, building and designing guest houses once a year, which allows me to be free from the world of photography.
There are too many to list!
As Lee Freelander once said ‘Do what you have to do!’
All photographs © Bela Doka
Words: Bela Doka/Ewa Bianka Zubek