Am 9. Mai feiert Russland alljährlich den Tag des Sieges über Hitler. 2019 jährte er sich zum 74. Mal. Mit dabei war – wie schon vor 74 Jahren – der hundertjährige Veteran Nikolay Bagayev. 1918 geboren, kämpfte Bagayev an den Stadtgrenzen Moskaus. Heute lebt der bekennende Kommunist von einer überdurchschnittlichen Rente von circa 550 Euro im Norden der russischen Hauptstadt.
Nach dem Krieg arbeitete er lange in Kasachstan, wo er beim Aufbau des Cosmodroms in Baikonur mithalf. Heute, im höheren Alter, sorgt er dafür, die Bewohner seines Viertels mit Informationsmaterial seiner kommunistischen Partei zu versorgen.
Der junge Reuters-Fotograf Maxim Shemetov hat den alten Veteranen über mehrere Wochen auf seinen Streifzügen begleitet.
- First of all we’d be interested to know what you experienced during the photo shoot and how did you come across Nikolay Bagayev?
I had an idea to shoot a story about WWII veteran for a long time. There are not many of them still alive, and even less live active life. It was a good occasion – Nikolay Nikolaevich Bagaev appeared to be a grandfather of one of our journalists here at Reuters. He inspired me from the first sight as a person. Not only because of his very interesting story of life, but also because of his enthusiasm and will to live. Such a rare things among old people. For himself, his age is not a reason to despond, but an opportunity to be an example for others. He exercises to support his physical form and walks every day to the 5th floor by foot, also he studied to use computer and smartphone in his 90-s and now spend an hour or so every day to read news in Internet.
One day I was shooting him in the bus on his way to local office of Kommunist party (he is an active member still). Some woman asked me what do I shoot, I showed her Nilkolay Nikolaevich and told that he is WWII veteran and he is 100. She laughed and said that I’m joking.
- how long did you accompany Nikolay?
I visited him several times in April and May 2019, accompanied him at home, in his walks around his hometown Korolyov, visits to schools, meetings with other veterans and official events he attends..
- When and where were you born, where have you been educated und what are stages of your professional career?
I was born in Moscow and honestly, wanted to be an architect. So, my education was in this area. When I was a student, camera appeared in my arms and few years later I realized that I can’t live without it. So, I left architecture to photography. Quite soon I joined Russian state agency TASS and few years later left it for Reuters. Now I’m Reuters staff photographer in Moscow for more than 7 years. During that time I covered war in Eastern Ukraine, two FIFA World Cups, numerous top news events across Russia and former Soviet Union, and different feature stories.
- What is your standard camera equipment? Is there any special or favorite gear?
I use Canon 1Dx Mk2 cameras and mostly Canon zoom lenses. I don’t have any preferences concerning brands or cameras. Think, it’s a tool and should match the task. Other is not so important.
- How do you process/edit your images? What particular software or apps do you utilize?
At Reuters we make just basic adjustments such as curves and cropping
- Do you have photographic role models?
Difficult question. Previously I had. Now I think that you’re you and there are no standard role models, applicable for all photojournalists. Everyone who comes to this profession, has it’s own way and form as a person in different times, and different conditions. In my opinion, decisive factors are your vision and personal qualities.
- Is there a portfolio or photobook that inspired you?
If I would choose one book – it would be definitely Genesis by Sebastiao Salgado
- Where can one find more of your photographic work? Website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter …
I have an Instagram account - @maxshemetov.
It’s mostly my sketchbook, shot on mobile phone.
Also I can mention Reuters Wider Image page with my stories