Photography Leads to Acclaim for David Yusufov
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Jessica Bain ‘13
New York City is home to a variety of characters, from millionaires to beggars. While many of us tend to admire the rich and ignore the poor , David Yusufov ‘13, a photographer, saw one man of the latter category as an opportunity to capture a piece of a community.
“This man was holding a signe that said, ‘If you give me $2.00 I’ll listen to your problems.’ I didn’t tell him my problems, but I gave him $2.00 and asked to take a picture of him,” said Yusufov.
This photo, which Yusufov took last year on the first day of only his second session at the International Center of Photography (ICP) on 42nd street, earned him one of 10 spots in the Susquehanna University literary magazine as part of a nationwide competition.
The competition was a part of the Apprentice Writer section of the magazine, which called for submissions from high school students from all over the country.
Ms. Lustbader frequently encourages students to enter contests, but while most of them are optional, she made the Susquehanna competition mandatory. She said she was proud of Yusufov and another winner from her class, Jenny Su ‘12, a talented writer who had a poem published in the magazine as well.
“David is so intelligent and really a top student,” said Lustbader. She also said she can see numerous career possibilities open to Yusufov, from photography to education.
Yusufov started black and white film photography at ICP as a sophomore and said he knew absolutely nothing about the process. However, he picked it up pretty quickly, which would be expected coming from a family that values the art.
“My dad was always interested in photography, and my uncle is a famous photographer in Israel,” said Yusufov. “My brother also had some of his photos displayed at the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).”
The International Center of Photography is a photography museum, school, and research center. While the center and museum have been around since 1974, the school recently opened in 2001, offering programs to part time and full time students. As the name implies, people from all different parts of the world, including Chile, Tibet, Russia, Mexico, etc., come to New York City to attend the school. Yusufov applied for their Teen Academy and started classes at ICP in the fall of 2010.
“On the first day [of my Photo II class], we were given a project to document the community. For my project, I chose to document my friends, and I’d carry my camera around every time we’d hang out,” said Yusufov. “I tried to center on their awkwardness.”
He finds inspiration from other artists and says emulation is important when you first start because it leads to finding your own style.
“The first photographer I chose to emulate was Stephen Shore; everything seems so isolated in his photos,” said Yusufov.
Yusufov says the next project he would like to work on this summer is a series of portraits of New York City workers, including police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, and postal workers.