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News & Editorials
Web artist presents guns as art

Talented Web Artist Presents Guns as Art

by Kevin B. O'Reilly


Oleg Volk specializes in photographing objects which strike fear in the hearts and minds of many, and bring a sense of control and security to others. Volk photographs guns, and exhibits his work on his Web site, “Self-defense: a basic human right”. (See

Volk, 26, creates photographic images to appeal to gun hobbyists and “newbies” alike, and attempts through his work to present strikingly different gun imagery for viewers to consider in the midst of the always-raging gun-control debate.

Volk, an art director for a catalog company’s Web design department, first began photographing guns before he even owned any or became familiar with using them. Volk became interested in photographing guns “for the same reason why people use them on movie posters, the 'cool' factor, and mostly because they were something I didn’t see much in pictures at all.”

But, Volk says, he is also interested in the symbolism of guns. “A gun, just like a sword for earlier generations, is a visual that is heavy with meaning. Depending on who you are, you bring your own meaning to it. For me, it might be control of a situation or security. For somebody else, it might mean terror.”

Much of Volk’s photography features extreme close-ups of the guns’ parts -- the handles and the safety locks, for example. Volk also photographs classic cameras and considers the textures and shapes very similar. “I think that guns have a certain aesthetic to them,” Volk says. “I really don’t think that the looks of a gun are based only on the lines, just as the looks of people are not necessarily based on the lines.

“For instance,” Volk explains, “why would a certain face be of more interest for a viewer than another? Some people might find beauty in face that is all wrinkled and old because it tells of a very long and interesting life.”

Volk says that one reason he photographs guns is to counter most people’s first reaction to them as tools of terror. “I’m hoping to get people used to the idea of weapons looking as evil as absolutely possible,” Volk says sarcastically. 

Many features that people unfamiliar with guns think are scary, are actually practical parts that make it work, Volk says. “For example, the motorcycle looks mean to some people because most of its inner workings are exposed. Similarly, on a rifle that is meant for utility there’s a ventilated shroud, a flash hider, an aid-launching attachment, bipod – they are all what are considered mean to some people, but they are just utilitarian items.”

The way a gun is positioned relative the camera also affects a viewer’s reaction to it, Volk says. “If you point a gun towards the camera, that’s a more menacing view. Show somebody the butt or handle view, show the camera the way you’d grip it if you were using the gun, you have an entirely different view.”

But Volk admits that a viewer’s ideas about the subjects of his work will color their perception. This is certainly true for him. “The picture that I see when I look at a weapon,” Volk says, “is the idea of being in control of your destiny. The gun doesn’t let me control my destiny all by itself, but it does enable me to prevent others from controlling it for me – and that is an American value, so far as I can tell.”


Thank you for acknowledging Oleg Volk so vociferously. Oleg Volk is a Graphics Artist Dynamo for Freedom. Some of his images are so right on even a flaming liberal can understand his messages -- if they stop and think. Oleg has expressed interest in coming on board full time to get after it in conjunction with us, and the only reason it's not already a done deal is lack of funds to pay him what he requires (let alone what he deserves) to simply make life happen.

What I love most about Oleg is how he lets any gun rights organization put his artwork to use for the cause. He hasn't asked for compensation; he just gives. The fact that he lived under the Iron Curtain is his motivation, and his insights reach far and deep. God Bless Oleg Volk. How can we get enough cashflow happening so he doesn't have to work full time and can thus put his attention on the cause? THAT is a question that needs answering in real dollars. We need to use imagery to shake people loose from their misconceptions about who the Good Guy Gunowners are, and Oleg Volk is one of the best top shelf guys there is.

And because the above only partially states where Oleg truly stands on the issue of gun rights, even though his work says plenty, I can tell you this from having the fortune of finally getting to know this Firearms Artist: he is passionately dedicated to seeing our rights restored, and he is daring in his methods of shifting people's perceptions in the right direction. A short conversation on the phone with Oleg Volk leaves you feeling truly blessed that you have a kindred spirit who loves freedom as much as you do... maybe even more in that he lived where freedom was stamped out after gun grabbers had their way. (He's also quite a writer, applying his early life experiences to the Save Our Guns issue. Go read The Morning Shift.)

Oleg, in case you didn't get that: I love you for what you give to waking people up to the realities of Guns = Freedom. The power and precision behind images such as Everyone Has a Right are beyond anything words can do. Thank you, so much, for applying your time, energy, creativity, passion, commitment and deep understanding to America's Emancipation. You'd better believe we'll be using your images again and again, and we feel blessed to have you on our team. As soon as we figure out the money equation in building, you are one of the very first people I am calling.

Angel Shamaya


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A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. — George Washington

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