Viktor Erofeyev is a Russian writer famous for his “anti-socialist realism” style, one of the most prominent examples of which is his book Life With An Idiot. It is this book that inspired famous composer Alfred Schnittke to write a namesake opera that was premiered in Amsterdam in 1992.
Another novel of Viktor Erofeyev — Russian Beauty — won him a reputation in the West as a Russian writer who was bold to the point of physiological vulgarity.
This portrait of him was commissioned by Polish men’s magazine to go with an interview with Viktor Erofeyev about the Polish literature and culture, which he had a good knowledge of after spending many years there with his Polish wife.
As usual, the photoshoot was combined with the interview. Or, rather, the other way round. And this, in turn, meant that the interview itself took most of the time, and then you had 10-15 minutes to make a portrait.
Therefore, during the interview you shoot a lot, hoping for the best and attempting to catch some emotion. But at the same time, you think about what you would like to try in those final 10 minutes. In short, you are looking for an idea.
And time flies by very quickly, and you don’t even manage to come up with any ideas when it is time for the photoshoot.
I wanted to make a portrait as tight as possible so that there was almost no free space in the frame and all distracting details were eliminated. I concentrated only on his gaze, and then I did a little framing from above to make the portrait composition even denser and enhance the effect of looking directly at the camera.