Victor Kovalenko — The medal maker
I have known Victor for many years. We got along because of his passion for photography. He always asked me what the latest gear was, what lenses I used to get certain shots, etc….
Then over time, I started shooting more and more portraits and he noticed them. We caught up every now and then when he was in town and each time he asked me something about my latest image. As if he did his homework before we caught up.
Victor is a man with a lot of substance and knowledge not only related to sailing. A great observer.
Just recently before the Tokyo games, I had the chance to film him for an interview for a European client. We did the interview in 2 takes. It was just me and him. In the end we chatted quite a lot and I went off script asking my own questions forgetting the camera was still rolling.
The main issue I felt in these past years was that he was traveling a lot less with his athletes and therefore there was less bonding time. Less hours driving around the world and creating a connection with his sailors. He was very interested in this question and immediately turned it over to me: Andrea when you take someone’s portrait do you always have time to have a chat with them?
‘no, there are times where I have to do it in less than 1 min — and the result is good but not great at the best of times. That is part of the difficulty — and then there are moments where I can have a chat and observer my subject.’
I don’t expect to get to know the person I am shooting even though many of my subjects have become friends over time. So the same goes for him. Of course, his experience helps him a lot and the results from the Tokyo games confirm it all.
After our chat, I asked to take a couple of stills. I shot 4 frames (no joke) and kept 2. When he asked me what I wanted him to do I told him to remember how he felt when he saw the potential in winning his first medal as a coach.
When a pictures says a 1,000 words — or maybe 10,000 in this case