Interview with an Artist: Valeriy Poltorak

This week you get to meet photographer Valeriy Poltorak. You can actually see a sample of his work at the top of my page, as he did my author photos. Be sure to follow him on Instagram if you want to be inspired by a flood of gorgeous images. More about Valeriy:

My name is Valeriy Poltorak, otherwise known as Mrvalography on social media. I was born in the Ukraine but have grown up in the Pacific Northwest, primarily the Seattle – Tacoma area for the last 25 years. I enjoy traveling the globe and capturing unforgettable moments along the way.


What is a current project you’re working on?

One of my current projects is a continuous partnership that I have with Verizon to capture photos using mobile devices that they have available on their market and share moments using their excellent wireless network.


When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?

I picked up my first camera around the age of 13 and haven’t been able to put it down since. My first real photographic impact occurred when I was 18, at which point I began selling photos on Stock Photography agencies and realized that the work I created was admired. This inspired me to begin pursuing photography more intensely.


What are your near and future goals for your art?

I don’t have any specific goals when it comes to my art except to continue using the gifts God has given me to bring glory to His name and inspire as many as possible to want to go out and capture memorable moments and purse a God-focused lifestyle.


What other types of art or artists inspire you? Any specific examples?

There is not just one single photographer or artist that inspires me but many in their own creative perspectives. I find inspiration from all over, not just the photographers I follow on Instagram but those whom I know in person as well as the friends and family who have been an encouragement in my life. I also find a wealth of inspiration from the world that I live in, the moments I create, and the love that God has for me. Everything in life inspires my creativity on a daily basis.


How do you usually get past creativity blocks?

Getting past creative blocks is something that I struggle with on a continual basis, but the biggest thing that helps me get past those moments is to stop, get away from media and life and to spend time with God. Moments with Him help give me the inspiration and the motivation that I need to continue.


How do you fight insecurity or doubts in your art?

Something I always tell young artists who are pursuing their dreams is to remember that your art is something that you have created not for anyone but yourself or to bring glory to God; therefore, there should be no insecurity or doubts that are persuaded by the words of others. If you feel like there’s something about your own specific art that is not pleasing to you, then let that be an inspiration to you to work harder and let it grow you creatively!


What does your creative process look like?

A typical day for me can vary based on the project I’m currently working on, so it all depends. Typically the night before I’ll try and figure out what project I want to work on for the next day, and if it requires any travel, preparation is key. The morning of, I’ll make sure I have all the equipment I need to get started on my project and try to get out as early as possible. I don’t want to waste any daylight. At that point I’ll go ahead and work on my project, making sure I get the shots exactly how I want. Once the work is completed out on the field I make my way home and go through the SD card, removing all the rejects. Then once I have the images I prefer, I move those over to my iPhone/iPad and set aside time to edit a batch of photos at a single time. Once completed, I’ll step away and come back the next day to the same photos and make sure that I’m happy with the final result. I spend the rest of that night replying to emails and uploading my completed work onto various social media channels.


Where is your favorite place to take photos?

Although all my photos each hold a memorable moment that is dear to my heart, the one that sticks out the most is the sunrise I captured one early morning at Pictures Lake out in Mt. Baker National Forest. It was definitely one of the most eventful trips I’ve ever taken, filled with countless unfortunate mishaps, but the end result was simply breathtaking and a beautiful reminder of why I continue to go out and explore!


What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

My favorite thing about being an artist is the ability to use the gift God has given me to share my faith and testimony, and use that work as a way to glorify Christ.


If a young, aspiring photographer came up to you to ask you for advice, what would be the first thing you’d tell them?

Never let yourself be discouraged about your own artwork, stay focused on your goals and stay inspired. Keep learning and finding ways to educate yourself. Work hard and shoot consistently. Take a thousand bad pictures because at some point one of those will turn out to be great! Don’t let others be the judge of your own work; as long as you’re satisfied with your work that’s all that matters. Discover your style and continue to grow as a photographer. Never lose that sense of passion!


What is one of the most important things you’ve learned in your photography pursuits?

To never let yourself get discouraged by what others have to say about your creativity, and if God has blessed you with a creative gift use that as a way to share your faith.


What kind of change do you hope to bring about through your art?

The only change I am hoping to bring is the ability to inspire and encourage others through my photos as well as my faith—hoping that what I have to say changes their life in a positive manner.


What would your superpower be and why?

I would love the ability to fly! With this ability I would have the opportunity to capture photos through incredibly unique perspectives at any given moment.

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