Denis Klero is known as a sports photographer in Russia, who is chosen for unique photography projects.
He is one of the Red Bull Russian key photographers and also belongs to an international family of photographers
- Red Bull Photography. He has started cooperating with FOMEI company and became their Ambassador. He
has been also working with The North Face company for a long time.
How do you do, Denis? What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished two great photoshoots, and now I took short vacation. The first shooting
was for the corporate calendar 2016 for one of the largest construction companies in Russia, the other
one commercial action shooting for Reebok.
And now I'm preparing for shooting photos which I will send to the competition Red Bull Illume.
You had the chance to create the project “Perfect World” for Red Bull Photography this year. Could
you describe this project and tell us how difficult it was to realize your visions?
It really was the biggest project in my life where I was the chief ideologist. The preparation and implementation
took us about six months. The project involved 35 people. 60 sheets of sketches were drawn in the first
two months of preparation - it was necessary to visualize and clearly explain to others all that nonsense
that was going on in my head. Haha.
We created a world from scratch, didn’t use a location with a background, and built the scenery: in fact,
it was a photography pavilion.
Our project – is one of those things when a perfect picture in our mind comes to life. We split a picture
into 2 parts: real and imaginary. We tried to create the picture that had been born in our head as close
to the real world as possible!
The final photos, detailed video and backstage photos can be found here: https:// www.redbullphotography.com/projects/perfect-world
For main shots I used: Hasselblad 4, lens 85 mm, light Fomei Digitalis Pro - S600 DC HSS.
You come from Krasnoyarsk, town of long history, that lies in the south of Siberia. How did you
manage to move your workplace to Moscow and become successful?
In 2007, I began working with the local office of Red Bull in Krasnoyarsk. And a year later I
was invited by a central Russian RB office to work at the FMX event that was successful for me and then
I was regularly invited and two years later I moved to Moscow. But the main reason was creative: I simply
reached the top level of those clients with whom I worked in Krasnoyarsk, and I wanted to be better, more
interesting, bigger, but they (clients) didn’t need my skills.
And if we talk about extreme sports, the level of athletes in Siberia is much lower than in Moscow. So,
you agree with me to get a good picture, you don’t need only a good photographer, but a highly skilled
athlete as well. And only within this combination something can be born, something remarkable and unforgettable.
I don’t wanna talk about success. Let others judge who is successful and who is not. I can say only one
thing, I’m a hard-working person, I love what I do - it's my life.
Do you photograph mainly in Russia or do you have orders from different countries too?
In general, of course, in Russia. Working abroad mainly with Red Bull or Russian international companies.
But it happens that I shoot something commercial in Russia, but also for foreign companies. It is more
convenient, of course, to do photoshoots home: there are no problems with transportation and equipment
What are your plans for the future?
Learn photography deeper and deeper, both from a philosophical point of view and technical. You should
always understand what and what you're doing it for, and if you do it - do it well! Therefore, the learning
process should never stop.
And if we talk about work, in 2016 I have cycling scheduled across Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok with
Red Bull Transsiberian Extreme event - the longest race in the world (9,500 km or 23 days of travelling).
Also BASE-jump project in the Caucasus Mountains. These are two big opening events.
Be sure to participate in the Red Bull Illume in April. I already have a few ready- made photos and a
few ideas that I will try to implement.
How do you relax?
My life is full of different activities... Thank God!
But during my vacations I love doing nothing, stay alone in a small house in wild forest or go to the
mountains climbing (hiking). Over there I can think, stay with myself out of rush in the big city, watching
the stars in the sky.
What equipment do you use and why?
Historically from Krasnoyarsk, I have been using Canon equipment, and sometimes Hasselblad. Studio Light
FOMEI Digitalis Pro - S600 DC and many additional accessories.
Now I have two cameras – Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 5D Mark II (infrared), Canon 5DS (just arrived) and
a bunch of lenses. For reporting, I use Canon 5D Mark III, for commercial photography Canon 5DS or Hasselblad
Powerful HSS battery light has huge advantages over conventional studios light and allows you to do tasks
that couldn’t be done without it. Ease of use - no annoying clutter and obstructing cables in the frame.
The ability to shoot where there is no electricity, and on a sunny day (due to sufficient power). And
of course, strobe effect enables me to completely freeze the subject or, in bright sunlight, fully open
the aperture and reduce the shutter speed to 1/8000 - this seriously expands the opportunities for creativity.
What did you shoot in unusual locations?
Certain projects with Russian BASE-jumper Valery Rozov – most unusual for me. Some of them were in very
hard conditions, such as shooting on Mount Everest. Valery jumped from a height of 7,200 meters and I
met him on the landing at an altitude of 6,000 meters - it was very hard not only skilfully handle the
heavy equipment, but simply to move at such height. For your information: Valery and his team climbed
up with oxygen tanks.
With Valery I was twice in the Himalayas and Mount Kilimanjaro, flew a military helicopter at an altitude
of 4,500 meters hanging out of the open doors. No ordinary citizen could do it. At least this is something
to tell our grandchildren.)))
What would you recommend to the beginners?
The main thing to understand is what you shoot for, why you're doing this in a single shooting and in
life in general. To devote yourself entirely to the cause you are doing is priceless. Fully expend, live
it, never stop thinking about it. And even on vacation invent, imagine new ideas in your head, and then
Never become conceited and not be ambitious. Learn, learn and learn!
Learn from the works of already known masters, watch and see how it was made, any means of expression
used in photos and ask yourself: "Why do I like it?"
And never do selfies! Only a self-portrait.)))