Cenjeni američki kreativni stvaralac slovenskog porekla, ekskluzivno za naš list govori o raznim segmentima oružarske kulture
I am a creative director and advertising photographer living in Nashville, Tennessee. If you are looking to expand your company’s advertising and improve its effectiveness, contact me and we will discuss your options. I create ad campaigns and produce widely popular images for over sixty brands in the firearms and self-defense industry. Companies I work with include Kel-Tec, Coonan, Boberg, Viridian Laser, Nightforce, and many others. I usually get new work through recommendations by my current customers.
Besides commercial work, I write illustrated articles for Shooting Illustrated, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Women & Guns, Canadian Firearms Journal and several Harris Publications titles. On-line, I contribute extensively to AllOutdoor and CheaperThanDirt blogs, and occasionally to Brownells and All4Shooters. I’ve been designing pro-RKBA posters in many languages since 1994.
1. You are an unusual artist, attractive to us because of yours designer’s and photographer’s work about the firearms. Tell us something about your first contacts and experiences with this?
– I”™ve been interested in firearms and military history since childhood but, living in the USSR, couldn”™t indulge the interest in any practical way. After arriving to the US in 1989, my increased interest in photography, improved opportunity to handle firearms and rising interest in politics all came together. By 1994, I was making the first pro-gun posters and putting them on the Internet. By 2002, I was running my own firearms forum. At about the same time, I made promotional photos for a friend”™s holster making business and eventually expanded into full-time work in advertising and editorial photography.
2. Your name and art is well-known in the other „areas“ of photography and design, too. Which cameras do you usually prefer?
I use two Canon 5D mark II bodies and a Sony A7R body with a wide array of lenses, including tilt-shift and super tele. While the cameras produce very high resolution and good dynamic range, the true measure of the technical quality is in the techniques, mainly the lighting. Guns and people in the same photo present interesting technical challenges. Once good lighting, interesting composition and a compelling story are joined together, the high detail level is just a bonus to enable large-scale printing. At SHOT Show and NRA Convention, my images have been printed 3 meters tall by 6 meters wide.
3. Russian origins and American conditions for living and working. Is this „must win“ combination for one talented artist?
While native proficiency in Russian language is helpful, I am not sure that getting stuck in the USSR for the first fourteen years of my life was in any way a win. That background did give me a heightened sensitivity to anything that smells of Soviet Union in America, and compelled me to get active in the US politics. I don”™t want to live in an authoritarian country again despite the fondest dreams of many US-based but entirely un-American politicians.
4. There are lot of differences between gun laws in US by states. Which combination is better, related to crime scores and citizens rights?
A complete absence of state-level restrictions would be ideal. While no state is there yet, Alaska and Arizona come close. Most of the states in the West and Northwest are decent, as is my home state Tennessee. Third-world wannabes like New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and California are best avoided: restrictions on the law-abiding correlate strongly to abusive and often murderous police and emboldened non-government criminals.
5. Europian countries introduced very restricted regulations about carrying firearms. Is this some kind of disarming and weakening their own population?
In my opinion, yes. Those who rule appear to fear and loathe the citizens they consider to be beneath them. Europe has a long-standing history of periodically designating ethnic or religious minorities as scapegoats and murdering or dispossessing them. That kind of imposition would be a lot harder if all resident populations can defend themselves from predation.
6. NRA is one powerfull organisation. Did you suggest us to organize something similar?
While not sufficiently powerful for my liking, NRA is an excellent training organization. NRA Institute for Legislative Action (the political counterpart) is trying their best, and it would be good for good people in other countries to band together. USA and several other countries actually have multiple organization supporting civil right, with the NRA, Canadian Firearms Association and Swiss Pro Tell being merely the best knows.
7. Your promotional posters and other campaign stuff in some europian countries are impressive. Did this confirm effect to gun-owner rights?
It”™s difficult to say how much effect my work has had, but I”™ve met numerous people who developed a pro-freedom political stance including an interest in gun owners through my influence. I”™ve seen progress in some countries, a regression in others. In Switzerland, the laws have become more restrictive but the attitudes have evolved to favor more freedom. As a result, we have hopes for reversing the restriction.
8. Serbian great ammunition company „Prvi partizan“ sold their products in US stores. We got an information, that PPU and you have some cooperation?
I am currently taking product photos and creating promotional images for Prvi Partisan. I enjoy working with them and like their products, both for use in modern firearms and in classic, collectible calibers for which few other companies make any ammunition. With the US Government hurting the interest of American shooters by prohibiting import of many Russian arms and munitions, I hope that Prvi Partisan benefits with an increased market share for their superior products.
9. History teach us that only armed people are free people. Do you believe that some governments around the world use to totally disarmed citizens in the future?
Total disarmament of all who are not government loyalists has been a depressingly common feature of history. The fate of the disarmed is oppression at best, genocide at worst. Being is not enough to retain freedom, but being disarmed is a most certain way to lose it quickly and not regain it for a long time. Humans are very inventive but, while improvised offensive weapons can be very effective, improvised defensive arms are much harder to make practical and effective. So disarmed populations are in pawn to their governments, to other criminals and even to animals.
10. Which type of guns you personally love? Some new models, with „Sci-Fi design“, or historical legends?
My favorite guns are the pistols I carry daily: Boberg XR9L, HK P7, M1911A1, Glock 17. I am also a great fan of accurate sound-suppressed .22 rifles, such as Mossberg 144 and Savage Mk.2, for quiet target practice. My favorite defensive rifles are numerous, at the moment Keltec RFB (7.62) and SU16 (5.56), and also IWI Tavor (5.56). I like bullpups for their excellent balance. I shoot shotguns only a little, so rifle-like Vepr 12 and Firebird Precision TAC12 appeal to me. Of the historic arms, the older .455 Webley revolvers and Colt .32 Hammerless are pleasant in use, as well as the British Sterling and Soviet PPSH41 submachine guns. I am unhappy that the US restrictions make submachine guns almost unobtainable.
Paraphrasing Tolkien, I must note that I am far less attached to specific guns and far more to the ability to defend self, family and friends from danger.