When I was a kid and was only learning the social world in the fifth form of a comprehensive school, my father brought a lot of boxes with apples from Moldova. That was time when the deals were made through barter, as nobody actually had money. And everyday I took 10 apples to the school, as the school was across the road. And as my young body couldn’t cope with this amount, I just gave away the apples to my classmates. So we had some sort of apple coalition. During the break, boys came to me and I solemnly took out the apples, gave them to the boys and we sat at the desks crunching. Then we went to pull girls’ pigtails or to deal with some other boy’s matters. This continued for a few months till the day I forgot apples at home. My mother put them into the pack and she put the pack on the table and I just forgot to take it. During the break, my classmates came for the apples.

Tomato chess recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: European Cuisine
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • 1 green tomato
  • 1 burgundy tomato
  • 1 pink tomato
  • 30 g Parma Ham
  • 5 g parmesan
  • Basil
  • Olive oil
  • Pecan Nuts
  1. Blanch tomatoes (put into boiling water for 30 seconds and immediately cool in iced water).
  2. Peel the tomatoes, cut into 4 parts and remove seeds.
  3. Make even 5x5cm squares out of tomato quarters.
  4. Cut parma and parmesan in thin slices.
  5. Cook pesto of basil, olive oil, part of parmesan and pecan nuts by blending in blender or grinding in mortar.
  6. In this case, you don’t need garlic for pesto.
  7. The dish is simple, but delicate.
  8. The most important thing is to choose the best and ripe tomatoes.

‘Why the hell you came without apples?’, they asked me and went to do their business not taking me with them deliberately. This was a lesson for me. One of the first lessons that when you give something for free you have attention and friendship without having anything in return. Freeloader principle as I defined it later. And I stopped giving away the apples in school. I ate them on my own or treated the girls. And over time the apples were over.

Years went by and I took the path of photographer. People asked me to take photos of someone or something for free. As I was just studying photography I thought it was a good idea. I needed experience and portfolio.

Some told me I would become famous after shooting their golden jewelry or wood engraving on a walnut. Others said they had a lot of rich friends, and that’s why I should take pictures of them for free, because all friends will see those photos and they will just run to me for commercial shootings. And I took those pictures. And I saw neither fame, nor the crowds of rich friends. Nothing at all.

In a while, there was formed a kind of coalition of those who liked to have free photos from Slyadnev. They called me once a month and asked to make a new avatar for Facebook or shoot new “Abibas” (faked Adidas) collection. It lasted for a while until I hired a retoucher. Of course I had to pay him money.

‘How can it be one pay money for this? You will become famous’, they shouted. ‘Take photos and we will find another designer who works for free’, the other said. And I remembered the school story about apples. And I started to ask for a reward for my service. Any reward, minimum, nominal, but a reward.

‘I’ll shoot your jewelry and you will give this ring to me, I need a present for my girlfriend for a holiday’, I said to the “famelover”. – ‘What’s up with you? It costs $200, I can’t do it’, he said and I never saw him again.

I asked some for a dinner in their restaurant, and offered barter for other types of service to,others. Eventually, I have lost all the freeloaders. They considered this type of deals unacceptable. Do you think I have lost anything? No way. Now I don’t have “free photo sessions”, now I have “mutually beneficial photo sessions”, when  they are not only profitable for the person I shoot, but also for me. And I always discuss this profit in advance in order not to have any issues afterwards.

Olga Martynovskaya - Chef at Culinary Academy of Hector Jimenez-Bravo_rest-5