There is the general belief that what makes an artist is the dogged pursuit of their artistic vision, without compromise, rather than making artwork that will be popular. Yevhen Samuchenko, a celebrated Ukrainian fine art and landscape photographer, is undoubtedly doing the former.
I don’t trade my creative freedom for other people’s opportunistic expectations. I will not create art just to sell it. Nor will I live up to anyone’s expectations of my art, even if they are buyers of my work. I create my pictures in total resonance with the space I shoot.
Yevhen was born in Odesa and enjoys exploring the diverse landscapes of Ukraine and beyond with his camera. Anything from pink salt lakes to turquoise northern lights. He specializes in nature, travel, and night photography and has been featured globally in publications ranging from National Geographic to the BBC. He also works on commissioned assignments for national and international clients, including Samsung Ukraine and teNeues. His images are available as stock under a rights-managed (RM) license.
He has exhibited his work in over 30 countries. Currently, nine museums globally feature his work (including the London Science Museum and the Florida Museum Of Photographic Arts). There are more museum exhibitions in the pipeline for Yevhen. Also, a photography book, comprising the best of the last ten years of his landscape photography, is due out soon.
For me, fine art photography is photography created according to the vision of the photographer as an artist, who uses photography as a means of creative expression. The fine art photographer conveys emotions as well as inner aesthetics to the viewer.
Mother nature and the universe are major inspirations in Yevhen’s work. On his website, he says, “through my works, I want to show the fragile beauty of our planet and the possibility of dialogue through the interaction of human beings and nature.”
To establish himself as a fine art photographer, Yevhen Samuchenko entered photography awards. These drew attention to his work and often led to invitations for exhibitions. Winning awards also helps him to sell limited edition prints to collectors through his website as well as the Duncan Miller Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery. However, as the war is taking a horrific toll on the whole country of Ukraine, Yevhen’s work has also become more difficult.
Since the war, his international print deliveries have been disrupted because DHL currently doesn’t operate in Ukraine. He can’t use drones anymore, nor travel abroad to take photographs. He isn’t able to take part in international photography events too, which have furthered his career and gained him many commissions in the past. For example, he was unable to attend the World Masters of Photography award ceremony in Vienna, where he won the first prize in the reporting category because men his age are forbidden to leave the country.
I am now in Odessa. During the day, there are over ten air raid alerts, with a total duration of about four to nine hours. Day and night I hear the sounds of sirens and explosions from the air defense. Sometimes there are rocket attacks on the city with fires and casualties. In such conditions, it is difficult to work. It’s impossible to make any plans because you do not know if you will be alive tomorrow.
Despite the war, Yevhen continues to take photos in Ukraine. He is also exploring different avenues to be a photographer, publicize his work, and feed his family. Yevhen is forging new relationships with international galleries and publishers. He has now found an international printing partner, which allows him to sell original prints internationally, directly from his website. He even tried producing NFTs but concluded that he was more of a traditional photographer than an NFT artist.
Yevhen Samuchenko is as committed to his art as he has always been, continuing in the face of adversity. The path of an artist can be so difficult. So maybe it’s the powerful artistic vision and a strong drive to realize it which makes this career path possible. He says,
You need faith in your art and your destiny. And persistence. Persistence helps to continue to create when everything around is not going according to your plan. For now, I try not to lose heart, enjoy every new day my family and I are alive, and hope for better times soon.