Q&A: Oleksandr Rupeta — Everything by us is a holiday


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? It would be good to approach the Good Soldier Svejk philosophy, but it’s not easy for me at the moment. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Anthropomorphism that we have been extrapolating to everything around us for millennia. What is it that interests you about photography? Self-discovery and the difference between truth and fiction. And ideally the poetry as a result. What is the worst thing about city life? Loneliness. What part of the planet would you like to explore? The more I travel, the more I understand that it is my backyard. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Love. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Simeon Stylites in Bunuel’s interpretation. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Neurobiology. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I haven’t. I try not to worry about missed opportunities. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Play the piano. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. When I read The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, I was looking for photographs of prisoners. I was impressed by the discrepancy displayed in the photos and what was really happening. On the pictures, it seemed like the ordinary life of Soviet manual workers. So prosaically. This understatement of a single frame, which makes you look for something more in the context of a narrative, is attractive to me. How often do you take other people’s advice? Less than I could. Describe a personal hell. To have no doubts. Which living person do you most admire? Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Super Mario. On what occasion do you lie? It happens often and mostly to myself. What was the last crime you witnessed? I live in a country where the war continues. What is the best way to educate yourself? Think independently. What is the next book you want to read? I wonder to set aside time and finish read Proust. Ultimate camera? Camera obscura. Most used camera? Digital full frame with prime lenses. What object do you want? Telescope. What object do you need? A place for the telescope. Describe a cheap thrill. Every time I’m out of money in a foreign country. Are impulses more important than consequences? Pay attention to impulses is a good way to understand who you are. Which talent would you most like to have? Be able to use all five senses in everyday life. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Have a good sleep finally.

Inspired by the stories of legendary Hutsul rafters in the Ukrainian Carpathians, I explored the way Raftsmen supplied rafts for the salt down the Tisza river from the Yasinia village to Solotvyno salt mines. The path along the Tisza is almost 80 kilometers long and located in the youngest part of the Carpathian Mountains, which is the most active area of certain geological processes that lead to natural emergency situations such as landslides, bank erosion, and mudflows.
Today, the bokorash (that’s what Ukrainians used to call Raftsmen) is an obsolete occupation, and the last raft was directing by bokorash downstream the Carpathian river in August 1979. The last salt mine in Solotvyno had worked for over 130 years and was finally closed in 2010. People continue to live in these unsafe territories, defying the forces of nature.

Oleksandr Rupeta is a Ukrainian photographer working worldwide. He carries out short and long-term projects about political, cultural, and social life in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia. His works highlight Ukrainian-Russian conflict, Afghan Red Crescent Society, the life of Iranian Jews community, Sufi Community in Northern Cyprus, people with disabilities in Southern African countries, Ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan, youth movements in the Balkans, etc. The photos appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, Nature, Forbes, Playboy, Newsweek, Independent, Internazionale, Bloomberg, National Geographic Traveler, and other. Oleksandr Rupeta has cooperated with Associated Press, BBC, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic Ukraine. See more of Oleksandr Rupeta’s world — website / Instagram.