Olympian Iouri Podladtchikov Sets the Gold Standard

Give Iouri Podladtchikov credit, the man knows how to make an impression. His "Yolo" trick—two head-over-heels flips and two 360-degree turns—shouldn’t be possible on a snowboard, but against gravity and the odds, he landed it once again at Sochi to capture Olympic gold. It was a perfect moment for sports fans around the world, exactly the kind of unforgettable memory that the man known as IPOD tries to capture with the Leica camera that’s never far from his hand. Last October, Iouri sat down with Milk Made to talk about the other passion in his life, and share six of his favorite photos taken from the last few years.

Parisian Subway, 2010:

“I had just missed a medal in the Olympics. It was an emotional time. I grabbed a couple of friends on a road trip to Paris and we just hung out for two weeks. We were trying to go to the fashion parties and Elena was trying to get into fashion week and we just hung out together and it was awesome. This picture is really calm for the live-fast-die-young type of moment going on then. It was this still, calm moment.

"I have this affection for Paris, I feel like a part of my soul was there at some point or wants to go there. Every time I go I have to take images of Paris because it’s that thing you can’t explain, but it’s in your head all the time. It has such great history, mostly in the people trying to be honest and brave and being all those beautiful things in life that don’t exist as much anywhere else."

Desert, 2013

"This is the desert in between Los Angeles and Mammoth Mountain. We were going snowboarding in the beginning of June and this is on our way up there. There was a huge fire going on, and it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, kind of sketchy and dark and scary.

"Fire has my attention lately. I think it’s because I’ve been frozen so much this winter, even after working out I take ice baths, and so I have this affection with fires. The most horrible part of travelling is the waiting — almost nothing ever happens — but something is definitely happening in this picture."

Billie Jean, 2013

“This was my first full day on my own photo shoot. Billie Jean is sitting there while I’m setting up, and it was a quick little shot on the side and it’s one of the pictures I really love to go back to. I picked this spot because it’s kind of urban and there’s nothing beautiful around but here she’s this super innocent, vulnerable beauty that is totally dreamy.

“My favorite face is when you wonder, ‘What is she thinking? What is she dreaming about? What is going through her head?’ And that’s why I picked this image, because that’s what I think when I look at her. And everyone can think their own way when they look at it. To me, it looks like she’s looking at somewhere that she can’t go."

Laura, 2012

"We were four people sitting around at a round table at home having drinks and suddenly my best friend who makes music starts to talk about how they want this girl to be on the cover of their album. I didn’t want to make it into a big photo shoot or anything, but finally I said, fine, fuck it, let’s do it. Then boom boom boom, this photo came from within a minute.

“I feel like I got the photo while she was still in the moment of cruising, smoking, drinking, having fun. I really love her look too. It doesn’t look like she’s posing, and her hair has that natural wave and there’s no hair product in this and still it’s so beautiful. This is one thing that really drives me. I love spontaneity and being spontaneous myself."

Mikkel Bang, 2013

"I wanted to show that I don’t just take portraits of beautiful women [laughs]. This is actually one of my favorite snowboarders out there, Mikkel Bang, and it’s kind of a special moment for me. I shot it with super heavy flash on a T2 party analog camera. They don’t always turn out this perfect because it’s an automatic and you don’t really know what will happen.

"This was after an event in Norway and Mikkel was just standing next to me, and we have this really healthy, respectful relationship. Snowboarders can always have a rivalry and all that crap and Mikkel is honest and brave and has what I look for in an image: truth."

Nadia, 2013

"I had been invited to my friend’s fashion show after she had just finished fashion design school. It was a really expensive event and I was really annoyed by all the photographers in the front who shoot from the same angles and the same directions. There were a lot of important people in the front and I did my best to blur them out [laughs] from the voyeuristic position that I’m in. This is my style of capturing a fashion show, which I’m proud of because she looks like an angel."

Follow Iouri’s adventures on Instagram, Twitter and on his website.

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