Boris Mikhailov «The Committee for State Security accused me of producing pornography, I continued to do the same»

Boris Mikhailov is the world’s most famous Ukrainian photographer. He was born in Kharkiv in 1938 and has lived there most of his life, and has lived in Berlin since the late 1990s. He has exhibited in major museums in the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Saatchi Gallery (London), the Berlin Museum of Art (Berlin) and the Museum of Modern Art (Rome). He is the only Ukrainian winner of Hasselblad, which is called the Nobel Prize for Photographers.

His work was shown at the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv as part of the “Forbidden Image” project. DTF Magazine recalls our blitz-interview with Boris Mikhailov, which we took during his visit to Kyiv last year

— Youth is a heightened desire.

— I was always thinking about money in my 20s like Rembrandt.

— Now I am proud even of the traits of my character that I was not proud of when I was young.

— No one ever knows exactly what to shoot. And no one knew anything in the 1960s, much less now.

— I don’t remember what kind of music I listened to when I was 20 years old. It was probably Soviet music. And after that it was Pink Floyd.

— I don’t remember any crazy antics from my college years. Probably because I never told anyone about them. And I don’t remember.

— After the Committee for State Security accused me of producing pornography, I continued doing the same thing. I just left one factory for another.

— I was completely normal in my youth. And that normality gave me a boost, as it seems to me now. Normal is when everything is right. You love, you make friends, you respect, you learn – that’s when everything is normal. But that is not enough, and you break everything. I guess that’s the way it is.

— I immediately felt that I was successful after my first picture. It was at the age of 28.

— I first picked up a camera very late in life. I liked to play basketball or something like that, but I couldn’t stand the camera.

— We professed the value of hope, only hope. Hopes nourish young men.


Photo: Maksim Belousov, exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre

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