One Shot is Collater.al’s column that delves into the work of a photographer starting from a single shot, describing his style and imagery. This episode’s guest is Sasha Elage, a photographer of Russian origin and naturalised French citizen.
Self-taught photographer, he does not use corrective methods for his photography: his incredible photos are taken with any corrective device, simply exploiting natural light and playing with the simple over-/under-exposure of the images or with flash and colored gels.
What is intended as a photographic error, soon becomes an peculiar stylistic code in Sasha’s research, thus making light the protagonist in the shot and in restoring consistency and personality to the Sasha Elage is a photographer of Russian origin, a naturalized Frenchman. Self-taught photographer, he does not use corrective methods for his photography: his incredible photos are taken without resorting to any corrective device, simply exploiting natural light and playing with the simple over-/under-exposure of the images or with flash and colored gels.
What is captioned as a photographic error becomes an unmistakable stylistic code in Sasha’s research, thus making light the undisputed protagonist in the shot and in restoring consistency and personality to the portrayed subjects/objects.
Where humans are present, faces are deliberately hidden or unreadable, reducing the face to a simple reflective surface for a light that blinds the observer.
The goal is to recreate images characterized by a strong aesthetic sense, transforming the photographic act into a game, a form of entertainment in which Sasha challenges the human eye; his photographs break conventions and scenographic conjunctions through optical tricks and a combination of inventive minimalism.We asked Sasha to tell us about one of his shots to explain his research and share it with us.
1. Describe your photography research in three words.
Inventive, persistant, Implacable
2. How did you get there? I mean, did you cross any other approaches that brought you where you are now?
I’ve always wanted to be a painter, when I was a kid I did a lot of painting but somehow stopped at the age of 11 and discovered photography late at the age of 24 and I knew right away that this is what I want to do all my life. I use the camera to transform reality rather than just record it (like painters do..), I overexpose with natural or artificial light, underexpose, use colored flash ( Since my early days in 2004, back then I was experimenting by placing a pink plastic cd case in front of my flash to get this effect, nowadays colored gels are supplied in kits with most flashlights.) I also use long exposure and a variety of other techniques..I am also not ashamed to create beautiful images, as beautiful art is almost a taboo nowadays. I like the idea of exploring all the possibilities when I’m working on something and looking at it from every angle to make sure I haven’t missed a photo; I enjoy surprising myself.
I never use digital software to edit my photos; the creative process takes place within the camera, which is very very important to me. I have complete faith in photography, and I believe that using filters and Photoshop is betraying photography
3. What photographers inspired you?
To be honest today I am more inspired by music, nature, and the people I love; my mother is my greatest inspiration.
4. Tell us the process behind this shot and if there’s any funny fact to tell our audience.
As I previously stated, I frequently use overexposure in my work to alter reality; this photograph was taken in a dark covered street in Dolceacqua, Italy in 2021, it’s part of an ongoing series called “And God created light”.
The sun only penetrated the street at one point, so I asked my woman to simply look at the light and overexposed the photo to create this effect; my way of enticing the viewer to imagine a face rather than seeing it.
Many people believe that this photograph has been digitally altered, that I used a powerful flash, or that it was taken in a studio; I even shared the making-of video on my Instagram so that they would believe me.