Behind the curious work of photography duo, Synchrodogs
Ukranian photographers Roman Noven and Tania Shcheglova on why their best work is the sum of self-exploration, fearlessness, and lying to their mothers
There's something unsettling about the photographs by Noven and Shcheglova. It is not unnerving like going home to an empty apartment after watching a horror flick but, rather, it is as uncomfortably sobering like a throbbing hangover after a night out. Chalk it up to the duo's proclivity for exploring the underbelly of the soul and psyche; for they're known for digging deep.
Monikered Synchrodogs, their personal projects span straddling the fog between consciousness and sleep, and limiting all bodily senses to challenge human intuition. After which, Noven and Shcheglova proceed to re-create the visions witnessed and emotions experienced — lending a brutal honesty to their captures. Their imagery strikes close to home; uncannily relatable despite being lensed through experimental and metaphorical veils.
As an increasing number of fashion brands recruit Noven and Shcheglova for their unique perspective — their latest work, Bimba Y Lola's fall/winter 2017 campaign — we get to know the duo (pictured above) through the subjects that move them, and the adventures to come from, creating such unforgettable images.
"We went high up [into the mountains] only to find out altitude makes you breathless — that was like hell. Sometimes we had to jump off our motorbikes to stop from falling off steep drops."
What would you like people to come away feeling having seen your work? We'd like nature to become as inspirational for other people as it is for us. It disturbs us that it is considered an endless resource to be used for human advantage or profit. Society is too urbanised. It'd be nice to return to the powerful world of nature — to be inspired and to be more responsible with our environment.
How would you describe your photography style? It is colorful and irrational as we find perfection in things that aren't average. We like playing with shapes, textures and patterns and blurring the line between what's real and surreal.
Tell us about the lengths you've to gone to to achieve some of your images. Was it worth it? We always get into a huge adventure when working on personal projects. We just came home after a one month trip across the Carpathian mountains on motorbikes and it was truly crazy! We had to lie to our mothers that we were safe every day. We weren't. We went high up only to find out altitude makes you breathless — that was like hell. Sometimes we had to jump off our motorbikes to stop from falling off steep drops. Driving across rivers became normal, and one day we even found a tree burning in the forest. We stopped the fire by stomping on it and with what little water we had. There are so many inspirational places that give us the power and energy to keep on going for the year ahead.
What is your best memory to come from shooting Bimba Y Lola's fall/winter 2017 campaign? The team! We are excited to meet them every time. We also loved the location so much we felt like we were in wonderland the whole two days. Winds were strong, and sometimes big objects like white tents would roll across the hills — they looked so surreal.
How much creative freedom were you given? Shooting commercials is not about freedom but finding common ground. It is a collaboration. We always offer ideas and then the brands decide which direction they would like to take.
Who is your favourite subject that you've ever shot? To be honest, we really enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitat; how graceful and beautiful they are when free and surrounded by wilderness. We always capture this on the iPhone just to be able to recall the moment.
What do think is key to continually grow in your work? The more time passes, the more we understand what our subconscious tells us; what our souls are about. Travelling gives inspiration, experience and knowledge. You're exposed to not only the good, but the bad. When travelling in the mountains, we discovered that hundreds of trees are cut down every single day in the Ukrainian forests. The locals say it causes a lot of troubles as bears have no place to sleep in winter and there is no water in the districts as sources have disappeared because of such a shift in the ecosystem. Our next project has, in part, to do with human intrusion in nature.
How did the name Synchrodogs come about and what does it mean? We just knew from the very beginning that we associated ourselves with nature and animals, and that dogs were just like us — they love running through endless fields and connecting with humans. 'Synchro' stands for our similarity in tastes and perceptions.
Instagram: Love it or hate it? We take proper care of our social media handle and love communicating with people. The 'Explore' function shows us so many beautiful people — some young and disoriented in life, but there is something refreshing in that.