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Photographic stories: "Alexey Korolyov - Liquid power"

I am a lover of impressionistic art and I grew up with the myths of Monet, Degas, Renoir, but above all Van Gogh (post impressionism). I still follow contemporary Impressionist painters with great admiration and I realize that much of the precious work comes from russian and american painters. Timeless works, almost all of landscape, real landscape artists with a vision of nature quite similar to us photographers.

I admit, I know very few Russian photographers instead, which is why looking at the wonderful photographs of Alexey Korolyov I immediately thought of contacting him to ask to tell a photographic story of him. Alexey's photographs are ethereal, dreamy, a riot of colored brushstrokes set in a metaphysical space. It was surprising to see the images of him and to breathe fresh air and breath of fresh air, especially in an artistically suffocating period that follows the same period.

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They say one can look endlessly at the water flowing. I love staring at water and capturing my feelings and emotions with a camera in my hands. Water is one of my favorite photography subjects. It is always different: it can flow calmly, gracefully, creating a measured sound of murmur, or it can be very expressive, indomitable and even violent.

This particular image is a visual tribute to the power of the water element. It was made on a section of a river with a turbulent current. A mill used to work here a long time ago. During the Second World War that mill was partly ruined. Nowadays, the five-story brick building is a local landmark. The debris from ancillary structures that remained in the water creates obstacles to the water flow. As a result, a powerful roll has been formed here with strong waves, burunas, and swirls.

To convey a sense of rush of the flow, I used a slow shutter speed that is supremely well fit for such scenes. I had to take some time experimenting with different values until I achieved the right effect. A shutter speed that was too slow blurred everything into a shapeless mass, the texture was lost, while too short shutter speed made the image motley and ragged. In the end, by trial and error, I managed to find the optimal value to produce the effect I was looking after.

I believe the strongest characteristic of this photo and its "cherry on top" is the composition. The picture is evenly divided into two parts with a clear separation right in the center of the frame. On the left the water is white, frothy, lushly shaped, like whipped egg whites. On the right there are directed aggressive lines and red reflections. It looks like a confrontation. You can imagine how two elements are fighting here: water and fire. The frothy part of the river seems as if it is trying to drown out the red "fire" of the riotous part of the stream.

Red reflections in the image are from a dilapidated brick mill standing on the side of the river. To get exactly such a rich color, I needed to shoot at a certain time: neither in the morning nor in the afternoon, but at sunset, when the mill is illuminated by the intense light of the setting sun. Red color, according to psychologists, is associated with persistence, perseverance, dynamism. Here such associations are very appropriate: they enhance and amplify the feeling of impetuosity and indomitability of the water flow.

This photograph has not been extensively processed: increasing brightness and contrast a little was the only manipulation taken. I am always striving to get almost finished work on location outdoors instead of making it at the computer. That's why my post-processing workflow is limited to basic operations.



Hi Alexey,

looking at your image, I immediately felt the fire from the right pushing back the coldness at the left. I think the division of the image following nearly the golden ratio works perfectly in your composition. This piece of art will certainly unfold its full power when experienced as a large print. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Alexey Korolyov
Alexey Korolyov
May 31, 2022
Replying to

Hello Peter! Thank you so much for your kind words! I am really glad to know that you like my image. And it's nice to hear that you feel the same about the image that I do. Thanks again for your appreciation and attention to my story!

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