I was born in the Soviet Union. To be more specific, in Kharkiv, a large industrial city in the northeastern portion of Ukraine. My grandparents were teachers, and I spent many of my younger years in their classrooms and at their house. My grandfather was quite into photography - he used the family bathroom as his makeshift studio and I was allowed to help once I was old enough. I remember mixing chemicals and using the equipment together with him. His photography was about memories: he wanted to keep every moment, treasure it, and pack it away safely into an album. Photography captured life, and life was worth savoring. My father, too, was interested in photography, though I do not remember him taking too many pictures in my childhood. Once we moved to the US, he was able to renew his interest in this art form. However, I do remember him teaching me how to use a light meter as a child. As for me, I was more interested in burying my head in a book. My world was there, whether it was the adventures of Alexander Dumas or the expeditions of Jules Verne. 

I began experimenting with a camera in high school. The same way everyone else does: a few photographs of friends, a party, and a vacation. I did not see it as a hobby; it provided neither the control, nor the creative fulfillment I was seeking. My real interest started only after college, when my wife and I decided to get a camera before we went on our honeymoon. Actually, she was the one who wanted to get into photography.... But something clicked for me. This was my first digital camera - a Lumix FZ20. I started experimenting with the camera and with post-processing. I began to see the possibilities of expression though composition and use of light. A new avenue of creativity was opened. By this point, I was already working toward my graduate degree in comparative literature, and teaching as well. Currently I teach comparative literature at Queens College and John Jay College, both in New York City, and carry my trusty Nikon wherever I go.

Poetry is my inspiration in life. I see the world through that poetic lens of meaning, light, and color. My serious interest in photography began when I understood the possibility of control over the meaning in the photograph. I was no longer just representing what I saw - I was telling a story, showing an emotion, capturing a piece of myself in the photograph through the choices I made. I was lucky enough to have a mentor that guided me along this path, showing me possibilities I had not seen, but always stepping back to allow me to absorb them in my own way. For that, I am eternally thankful. Photography is my creative outlet - a way to interact with the world around me, and, perhaps, with the worlds of the past and the future.

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