I came to analog photography late. I enjoy being able to feel the film and create with my hands, and the suspense of not knowing how the final shots look until you develop the film. Shooting film changes the style of how I work.  I take less pictures and think more. It is more immersive, I have more time to feel their characters, their experiences.

I shoot all my projects in medium format film.  I do use digital, but only for commercial photography or for working on reports.

Materials age well if kept correctly, you can find 20-30 year old film or paper and take pictures on it. Yes, there is no guarantee that the old material will be good, but you can try pinhole or photogram. And as a result you will get a completely unpredictable result. It's like alchemy. This is sometimes not controlled, and not repeatable!

Grandmother Yadya
Black and white film image of Belarus traditional healer by Siarhiej Leskiec

Grandmother Yadya. For many years I heard a story about the last strong healer, Dolman. He could control the elements and heal the sending in the wind. But I did not expect to meet anyone he taught. grandmother Yadya is his niece, she is wretched (problems with the eyes) and therefore is considered a godly man. In paganism it was also considered that if a person is a "curve" - ​​a man marked by a god and therefore approximated to him. Yadya was taught the healing of her uncle by the most legendary Dolman.

Ancient tradition

In Belarus, a unique country in Europe, is a preserved ancient tradition of traditional healing where the sick are healed with help of water and words (in a whisper, prayer, spell). The secrets of this ancient tradition are protected and closed to others. The sacred knowledge is safeguarded and handed down over many generations from grandmother to granddaughter, from grandfather to grandson. Carefully selected descendants who can be trusted with the gift to heal people and animals, protect the economy from the troubles and bad weather, diseases sent by magicians and witches ... 

Black and white film image of Belarus traditional healer by Siarhiej Leskiec

В процессе лечения - In the process of tyreatment

Today these people are becoming less and less. Most of them are gone, so no one and not passing "the science and the gift to treat of the healing word", native word.

 Visual Language

In my project the visual language and how to shoot it dictated the project itself, no matter how strange it sounded. Silver, water, light and darkness ... sounds like magic.

Babka Alena
Black and white film image of Belarus traditional healer by Siarhiej Leskiec

Babka Alena, 83 years old
"I was the youngest child in our family. My dad was able to treat a cattle, my mother helped people and assisted in childbirth. I long did not want to treat people, was ashamed, was afraid of ... The times were such that the people were even afraid to go in the church.
-I've been ill, suffering ... Once in my sleep I saw the death. It was a white tall woman with a rough face.
-You're behind me? - I asked.
-No, not your hour - and she passed me.
Then Jesus comes and will say: "Alenka, help people and cattle, help, don’t worry, I will help you". Since that time I treat people".

Taking control

Initially, on the first expedition, I took several colored films, my Mamiya RB worked regularly all the time, but when I gave them to the photolab - they were all without images, just spoiled. So I decided to try the b&w and develop myself and luckily it turned out all right.

I use HP5+ film (iso 400). It suits me best for taking pictures in different conditions. Working with one iso, you can get used to the light and do not use a flashmeter. This gives a certain comfort in work. In addition, it is difficult to predict where and in what conditions I will have to take pictures, because sometimes to make a portrait I have to go about 500-800 km a day. Therefore, I'm not afraid to push the film and get the image that I need.

Black and white film image of Belarus traditional healer by Siarhiej Leskiec

Whispers are read into the water, bread, salt or sugar, ash…

Film - a good tool for telling stories

Technical parameters are not interesting to me. It is important for me what I shoot and for what, what I want to tell. Film is a very good tool for telling your stories.

Black and white film image of Belarus traditional healer by Siarhiej Leskiec

в Крупском районе есть лечебная (святая сосна). исполяя определённый ритуал можно излечится от многих недугов. - In the Krupsky district there is a healing (holy pine). using a certain ritual can be cured of many ailments.