Fashion Photography Series: Interview with Kristina Varaksina

Ella
12th September 2018

Fashion Photography has long been an esteemed art form. Showcasing both the model as well as the apparel and accessories, it is safe to say there are always two subjects in such photographs. We love fashion as an expression of identity, beauty and creativity and with Fashion Week all around the world, we wanted to highlight the fashion photographers who are truly redefining the genre of this ever evolving industry. High fashion is fast becoming a much more open and diverse playing field with different cultures and messages being front and centre, and we’re thrilled to be speaking to the champions of this new generation.

Can you talk a little bit about your background and how you got into fashion photography?

My background is in Interior design and Graphic design. I had worked for 8 years as a graphic designer and then an art director in advertising before I became a full-time photographer. Fashion has always interested me as a genre of photography that uses a lot of artistic elements and often crosses the border with fine art photography.

What camera do you use? If you had to choose one lens which would it be?

I shoot with Fujifilm GFX 50S. I’d choose 110 mm f/2.0 lens.

Would you say your style has emerged or was it always very distinct, how has your work changed over the years?

I think my style emerged when I went to get an MFA in Photography in 2011. I was experimenting a lot and finally found something that resonated with myself and many other people.

Can you tell us the story of a photograph of yours that stands out?

Last year I went to Europe and I photographed myself in strangers’ homes. Imagining how I’d feel if I were to live there, at the same time trying to blend in with the environment of each house. This series is called "Where Do I Belong?” and it was shot in 6 different countries.

What is your creative process like, do you have any notable routines?

I often sketch my ideas, see how the story can be developed, what props I may need, what lighting. Then I look for references to refine all the details in my head and communicate with my team.

Where do you draw inspiration from? What do you think your message is?

I often draw my inspiration from films – I particularly love Swedish directors and cinematography. And I have my favorite painters that inspire me, like Hammershoi, Balthus and Antonio Donghi. My message is: create your own reality, don’t play by other people’s rules.

In what ways is this particular field different to other areas of photography? How do you feel about the fashion industry as a whole?

Like I said earlier, I believe Fashion photography is the closest to fine art photography, where you can apply a lot of art direction and express yourself as an artist. I try to stay away from the fashion industry, even though I keep myself up to date with trends and discover new designers, but when it comes to the industry itself there are a lot of things that I disagree with.

What did you want to do as a child?

I wanted to become an artist, a painter.

What would you say to an aspiring fashion photographer? What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt? What would tell your younger self?

Get into this field as early as possible. Fashion is for young people, who sense and can reflect today’s world. Network as much as you can and build a team of talented people. Fashion photography is a team effort and every single member is as important.

Who inspires you? These can be personal or professional.

Other artists – writers, directors, painters. My female photographers friends, as it is still a male dominated field and it is very hard to become successful as a female fashion photographer.

Can you tell us how people can find out more about your work? Anything particularly exciting coming up this year or next?

People can follow me on behance and instagram, check out my website and watch my workshops. There are always new exciting projects – both personal and editorial, or commercial – something happens every month.

 

All images © Kristina Varaksina