What type of film do you use?
‘I use exclusively Ilford films, papers and solutions. Having experimented with various manufacturer’s products in the past I found Ilford to be the best supplier with regards to availability, cost and quality of fine art photographic materials. Additionally, Ilford is really dedicated to black and white photography and understands the needs of fine art photographers.’
Which cameras do you use?
‘I use two medium format Hasselblad cameras that give square negatives in 6x6 cm size. I also use two medium format Fuji Rangefinder cameras that produce beautiful 6x9cm negatives. Due to the large size of the negatives produced by these cameras I’m able to print images to a large size without losing sharpness or detail.’
‘I prefer the effect of black and white - the minimised distraction, the emphasis on light, the simplicity of the images and the focus on line and form. I also believe its better to try and master one skill and get as close as possible at perfecting your craft than to divide your focus in multiple areas. I'm very dedicated to the craft of black and white printing and printing colour images is a very different skill and one I would leave to digital printing. I could spend my whole life shooting and printing in black and white and still be learning.’
What advice would you give to someone interested in photography?
‘In photography there is no substitute for practice and reading. I still read everything I can find about photographic technique. For beginners, Ansel Adam's Techniques of Photography is great because its essentially a digest of his work. As you progress you can read his 3-book series, The Camera, The Negative, The Print. Lenswork is a great magazine to subscribe to. Its one of the few remaining publications dedicated to Fine Art Photography and it has a fantastic print quality and is great for inspiration. And then you just need to get out there and shoot.'
How long have you been photographing?
‘When I was a kid growing up in Russia my friend’s father was an avid black & white photographer. He taught us how to develop and print our own shots and we just really took to it. My dad gave me a camera a few years later and I never stopped shooting. I set up philpankov.com in early 2004 and started exhibiting in galleries and shows around the same time.’