Spent Two Sessions Of Self-portraits And Quit: What Is It Like To Work As A Photographer During A Pandemic

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Spent Two Sessions Of Self-portraits And Quit: What Is It Like To Work As A Photographer During A Pandemic
Spent Two Sessions Of Self-portraits And Quit: What Is It Like To Work As A Photographer During A Pandemic
Video: Spent Two Sessions Of Self-portraits And Quit: What Is It Like To Work As A Photographer During A Pandemic
Video: Take Your Self-Portraits to the Next Level 2023, February
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We have already talked about how The pandemic is changing the way people work in a wide variety of professions and teaches us how to adapt to a new reality. This time we asked women who work as photographers about the costs of the profession, experiments and the most interesting filming in conditions of self-isolation and restrictions.

Text: Alina Kolenchenko

Ekaterina Boyarskaya

It was painful even to open filming with people - everything suddenly became irrelevant.

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Most of my work is shooting with people, which involves a lot of teamwork - at least a makeup artist, stylist, model is always involved in the process. The last thing I took off before the general self-isolation was a catalog for a clothing brand. And in one moment everything collapsed. For a while it was painful even to open filming with people - everything suddenly became irrelevant. There are not so many options left: subject photography, photo stocks, facetime photography and self-portraits. I was lucky that I had a regular customer - a coffee shop, for which I made content. They brought me grain and food, I brewed coffee, filmed an item and video guides on brewing. During self-isolation, she offered brands to take pictures of jewelry and clothes, filmed it on herself free of charge, just to work out such a format. I ordered two photophones that barely fit in the room. As a result, I spent two sessions of such self-portraits and abandoned it. When Cindy Sherman said that she was too lazy to mess with models, she was definitely cunning. It's easier to shoot anyone than yourself. With the facetime, nothing came of it - I was just exhausted and irritated. But I know that for someone online filming has brought satisfaction and a great experience.

Having gone through all the stages of accepting the situation, I plunged into object photography. Honestly, I have long wanted to do abstract still lifes, and now there is a lot of time for this. The sun inspired me the most. I don't remember any other sunny spring in Moscow. As soon as the light came through the windows, I became a different person - energetic, insane. She created chaos, talked to herself, forgetting about food, water and a cat. She built compositions from improvised objects, supplemented the space with highlights and reflections. It bore fruit pretty quickly, and a commercial order appeared. Through Instagram I was noticed by a producer of one agency. These were the only two days during the entire quarantine period when I went to the studio to shoot. In the team with me was only a set designer, the rest worked online.

In May, I went to study for an online course with Monika Dubinkaite and realized that subject photography for me is pure fantasy and the creation, if not of worlds, then at least of scenery for non-existent plays (sorry for the pathos). In general, I remember the time of self-isolation with warmth and gratitude. The balance shifted from work to creativity, I came to a harmonious state. When the restrictions were lifted, for several weeks I was in great stress, did not want to return to the race again. Then I realized that I missed the team shooting and the people in the frame. I returned to still lifes only now, in October, and I want to develop in this further. Not because of the virus and the second wave. This is my outlet - it seems that I replenish more resources in these shootings than I spend.

Svetlana Troitskaya

My attitude to my work changed: I overcame the impostor syndrome and began to adequately assess my work

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Before the outbreak of the pandemic, I was mainly involved in shooting for online stores. Also, during the year I worked on a personal photo project about Soviet cosmonautics. In May, I had a planned trip to Baikonur, which did not take place due to the cancellation of all flights to Kazakhstan.For two months I isolated myself, and there were practically no orders, since with the advent of quarantine, many projects had to cut costs, including for photography. During this period, publications of my project on Internet resources, a money pillow and a credit card helped me out, and I looked for inspiration in the cinema, non-fiction literature and walking along empty streets. It's a shame when, due to restrictions, it is impossible to implement what was conceived, but, on the other hand, restrictions are a powerful incentive to find new ways to solve their problems, in the end it turns out even more interesting than was originally intended. During the period of self-isolation, I devoted my free time to old photographs that I had bought at flea markets and in thrift stores for the last two years, as well as analog and digital collage. On the basis of this, a project about Soviet amateur photography was born. I haven’t tried to shoot online, it seems to me that for such photos to look interesting, you need to come up with an original concept, as, for example, by the English photographer Max Siedentopf in the “Zoom Out” project. During this year, I learned how to spend time with myself, but at the same time I realized that the society around me is a valuable resource and a rather strong source of inspiration. I also changed my attitude to my work: I overcame the impostor syndrome, began to adequately assess my work and not be afraid to do what I had never done before. I try to constantly learn new things - it seems to me that this is the only way to swim out in constantly changing conditions.

Katya Yanova

Only the sale of posters that I printed in the fall helped me financially.

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I have been in photography for about ten years, and my work in certain periods was organized in different ways. For some time I was engaged in reportage and wedding photography. Then my interests gradually shifted towards individual photography, in particular, portrait photography and collaboration with brands and designers. I really like taking pictures in the open air or on the territory of public premises: an empty courtyard, an industrial zone, a railway station, a recreation center building, a sculptor's workshop and so on. I am looking for lines, shapes, color, and it seems to me easier for the person to be portrayed to adapt and feel freer in an open space, where you can walk for a long time, turning right and then left, talk or be silent. The exception is working with brands, the shooting process of which most often takes place in the studio, where you can influence the light and not depend on weather conditions. With the onset of isolation, I canceled or postponed all work meetings and filming. Only the sale of posters that I printed in the fall helped me financially. But during the quarantine, I was really carried away by project photography. During self-isolation, I studied at several educational institutions in parallel. Online training, as well as a general "conclusion" inspired me to create a photo project "Your Diary", which I did by communicating with the participants remotely. Noticing that everyone at home performs approximately the same actions from day to day, I decided to create my own visual diary of home isolation through the everyday life of other people. The project was attended by guys from different cities of Russia, whom I called via video link. I photographed their actions, home life through the monitor screen. During the filming, funny situations happened: there was a case when I, together with the person I photographed online, met the courier, made repairs in the room. In one of the calls, there were technical difficulties, it was not possible to establish the sound in any way. As a result, we decided not to postpone the meeting, but to communicate without sound through movements. I waved my arms, trying to explain something, or started showing body movements, like in the game "Crocodile". On each call, I recorded the screen so that later I could edit the video, and on the call without sound, I accidentally recorded my screen and then laughed for a long time at my dances without a tambourine.

Restrictions on movement, the news agenda, anxious communication with loved ones during the pandemic affected the general condition, but it was the creative process that made it possible to properly distract and establish internal balance. In a critical situation, it seems that you come to new solutions faster, and in this case, a lot of time is also freed up to study new technologies and programs. For example, in isolation, I mastered book layout and video editing programs. During this year, I reconsidered my attitude to the profession and significantly changed my priorities. What seemed to me sufficiently formed and stable may well collapse in one day. Now I have restored the process of individual shooting, working with brands, and began to work more with subject photography. After quarantine with friends, I opened my small studio space and now I take more pictures there. At the same time I try to study photography contests and grants, layout techniques, work with layouts, printing houses, and in between - wash my hands and think about good things.

Lena Tsibizova

In the middle of winter, I left for Georgia without a return ticket - I thought I was going for a month and a half

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I have been working as a commercial photographer for almost ten years: I have shot for Calvert Journal, Afisha Daily, Strelka Mag, SNC, Vice, participated in expeditions across Russia, shot travel guides. There was a time when I left Russia several times a month. She also worked as an artist, collaborated with Sample, Triumph galleries and with several foreign ones. Since 2019, I began performing as a musician: for the first time in Mutabor on the fifth anniversary of GOST ZVUK as part of the AIR Krew trio, and in the fall I performed at the presentation of my album in Prague. I had a shoot almost every day, and I also sold my prints. In the middle of winter, I left for Georgia without a return ticket - I thought I was going for a month and a half. In Tbilisi, the musician Piper Spray and I performed at Budka, Drama Bar, Barbara and recorded mixes for several labels, released an album on Sygma Radio. I decided to stay for another month and in March I shot a short story for MUR with stylist Polina Zhuravkova. At that moment, proposals for several shootings were postponed indefinitely, because everything began to close rapidly. Piper Spray and I decided to move to the Black Sea for a month. In the absence of orders, I simply took a camera and took pictures, so as not to forget how to do it. In early spring, I received an offer to participate in a group exhibition for the hippodrome, which was to take place in May. June showed that no exhibition would happen. Nevertheless, I just filmed for myself, and those filming that did not go for one project came in handy in a new one. In the spring, I participated in the Sample "Spring Break" auction, where the gallery organized a virtual exhibition, made several music covers. In addition, I began to sort out archives - thus an article about my past travels in Siberia was published on Calvert Journal and their project "Makers of Siberia". As a result, I lived in Georgia until the end of the summer, filming abandoned sanatoriums in Tsikhisdziri. By the fall, I returned to Moscow, where, it would seem, life was returning to an active phase: the Blazar exhibition at Cosmoscow, voice acting for silent films for Moschino, and finally orders for filming returned. However, by the middle of autumn, the prospects did not look so bright. Now in Moscow I do not quite understand why I returned from Georgia. There is no work.

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