All photos by Vlad Tretiak. Used with Creative Commons permission.
We’ve put the spotlight on a fair bit of impressive film photography here, and we’re keen on adding more. If you’re a film photographer looking into keeping the craft alive, we have another series to inspire you. Since 2013, Russian photographer, illustrator, and graphic designer Vlad Tretiak has been shooting his hometown of Kemerovo and its surrounds on film, in both 35mm and 120 formats. His two-part collection is comprised of some moody nighttime scenes made extra dreamy by the nostalgic look of film. Step right up if that sounds like the look you’re going for!
Titled A Small Town in Siberia, the series takes us around some of the quiet and intriguing spots of Tretiak’s town and gives us an idea about daily life on his side of the world. A handful of elements are consistent throughout both parts of the series: snow, empty streets, neon lights (or vibes), a retro mood, and automobiles (lots of them). Both installments also give a feeling of exploring while the town is asleep, much like stepping into the Siberian version of Mark Broyer’s After Hours series.
It’s impressive how Tretiak has also amassed a big collection of street snaps on film, which he shot using an Olympus OM-10, Pentacon Six (an interesting medium format SLR camera, by the way), and Mamiya C33. His choice to document his nighttime strolls around town on film was perfect, as we can see in the dreamy, cinematic look. It’s a great example of shooting situations and projects where the look of the medium works wonders, especially with the dramatic street and neon lights. We have to say he did a commendable job, as it’s certainly more challenging to do a night shoot on film!
On a side note, going back to the prevalence of cars in this series, we found a clue as to what this fascination is all about. In one of Tretiak’s illustration projects, titled Motherland’s Cars, he documents the most recognizable types of vehicles (Soviet-made or otherwise) which make up an essential part of Russia’s cityscapes. He must have been inspired during one of his night shoots to put together this equally interesting project.