Interview & Sveta Undalova
Hair Stylist：Ekaterina Korotkova
Where are you from Originally?
I grew up at the northernmost point of Russia – on the Kola Peninsula. Where winter lasts 9 months. Beautiful mountains, taiga, snow, and amazing northern lights. There I got my art education, I was always inspired by creativity.
At the age of 19, I moved to the cultural capital of my country – St. Petersburg. And perhaps the culture of this city, its architecture, movable bridges, the stunning beauty of the white nights developed my passion for art and photography. As soon as I took the camera in my hands, I realized that this is exactly what I want to do for [the rest of] my life. At that moment, photography captivated me. I studied the technique, read a lot of books on this topic.
Looking at the works of masters of photography. I realized that you need a lot of knowledge of color, the combination of colors, fashion, you need to develop your sense of taste to be a photographer. Every day I spent time either filming or processing pictures or reading books on this topic. Very soon, I opened my own photo studio and started teaching. My photographic path was easy and exciting, but I understood that St. Petersburg no longer gave me the space I needed so I decided to move to Moscow. Here is where I now live and develop.
How does your background affect your work?
There are no universities in photography in Russia. It is not possible to obtain higher education in this field. Unfortunately, Russia is very behind compared to Europe in terms of photography and fashion among other things. We have courses where the basics are taught by private photographers. When I was studying by myself, I realized that it was pointless to waste time and money on such training. And all that I am capable of now is the result of experience. This path is long and complicated, but more valuable. Studying photography by yourself, from the very fundamentals and reaching new heights, you become a real master.
How important are early references to fashion, music and other culture to your creative process?
My work is very influenced by music, movies, and books. I guess I am a very impressionable person. Movies are the most influential. There you can draw a lot of ideas on the light solution, see how the colors in the frame, camera work, which angle is most advantageous, are combined. Fiction is a real treasure for inspiration. There you can draw images and events. That's why I read a lot.
Everyone wants to get to mega-photographer status and have many of your clients as theirs, why do you think it’s so coveted and so protected by the industry?
Everyone wants to be rich, successful and famous. Not just photographers. For me, success is an opportunity. The ability to shoot expensive creative projects, to have the high-class equipment, the best specialists. To have all those at [my] disposal so that I can express myself and imprint my thoughts as interesting, exciting and understandable as possible. Self-actualization on a large scale to be heard. Any creative person wants to be heard.
In your free time, what kind of pictures do you like to shoot and which ones do you avoid?
In my free time, I shoot the same as during working hours. But it is in my spare time that I can improve my skills, work with new light schemes, or try new equipment. I like to experiment and to offer new ideas to the customer, I must first practice. I never take pictures of architecture, landscapes, and reports. In shooting architecture, I do not see the frame. I do not understand how best to file such huge non-moving objects. But I really like to see and admire the work of other photographers in this genre. Report I do not like because of the speed and unpredictability. For my shootings, preparation, thoughtfulness, setting the frame and attention to detail are needed. In filming reports, the opposite is true.