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Petr Shelomovskiy: Everything has its beauty. But war is an ugly and unfriendly place.

all photos copyright Petr Shelomovskiy -

He takes photos of war. And just won the 2nd ANd the 3rd prize in the Czech Press Photo contest. Why, and how, does he go about his day job?

Do you consider yourself an artist, or a reporter/journalist?

It's a journalist of course. I'm working with the news, I have to respect facts and stay objective, stay humane. My job is to deliver information through the images. The artist is here too though. I understand that what you see on my pictures comes not only through my camera but through my heart too. You see the reality through my eyes. There has to be certain degree of art but journalism is what I do in the first place.

How was your journey to become a professional photographer?

I used to travel a lot in Russia, South East Asia, Europe. Wherever I went my camera was with me. But something was missing.

More than a year ago I rode my motorcycle through Turkey and suddenly found myself taking pictures in the middle of Istanbul Gezi protest tear gas clouds. I absolutely loved it. Then I went to Visa por l'Image festival of photojournalism in Perpignan. And I met other photographers and realized that their passion to photojournalism was my passion. There was no way back.

When did you decide to take photos for a living? What moved you to do so?

Well there has to be money somewhere. I need to pay the bills.

Your profile says you come from Mongolia, how did you become an inhabitant of Prague? What was your childhood like?

I'm sorry to disappoint you but I'm not from Mongolia. I was born and raised in Moscow as an orthodox Soviet kid. So was my childhood. Until the Soviet Union collapse.Things had changed much since then. I have moved to Prague around 5 years ago.  That's a long story :)

Your most memorable experiences as a photographer?

It's hard to say what was most memorable. Maybe spending the night at the MH17 crash site with the rescue workers who pitched their tents right in the middle of the killing fields. And then waking up and seeing all this. Because we did not imagine how it all looked like when we came there after dark.

Do you think that places like war zones have somethin aesthetically striking or even beautiful?

Everything has its beauty. But war is ugly and unfriendly place. It's sad to see how fast a human being can degrade to a point of killing other people.

What do you think about the media nowadays and the role of the social media?

Social media is a great new tool for a journalist. Especially for a freelance journalist. You receive feedback almost immediately, you can publish the news the moment it's happening. The world we live in is a world of social media. Welcome to the future :)

What do you plan for the next few months?

I've got plans for the next few days.  Everything changes very fast and I have little idea where I end up in a week. For sure I'm going to be in Prague for the Czech Press Photo exhibit.


The exhibition opens at Staroměstská radnice next month (November 20).

You can follow Peter at and

all photos copyright Petr Shelomovskiy -


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