Photographer: Olga Volodina
❓Who or what influenced you as a photographer the most?
🗣 I think my family was my most significant influence. A person is a product of his environment, and my family is quite a creative and interesting one. My father is an engineer, but he always was interested in history and photography. My mother is a musician, plays the piano, and loves literature. All that I achieved in my life I did because of my parents.
My school in Russia was pretty horrible, but luckily, it didn't break me. When I was a little girl, my father gave me his old film camera, so I took photos of literally everything I saw. I remember that I just really liked the shutter and the film rewind sounds. I still like it. It puts me in a somewhat meditative mood.
❓How did you start your professional career?
🗣 I studied Journalism in Moscow and worked as a model at the same time. It was by working with professional photographers that I became seriously interested in photography. I started with portraits of friends with a basic camera, then several years later, I got my own studio and professional equipment while continuing with fashion shoots and nude photography. My daughter was born, and I moved to Thailand, where I lived for almost ten years, and started working on my photo art projects.
My first professional achievements were exhibitions devoted to the beauty of the human body. For example, in the M2F project, I worked with the transgender models and used classical black and white nude photography principles to express their unique charm. These artworks were exhibited first in The House of Lucie Gallerie in Bangkok, then in the Gallery of Classical Photography in Moscow. This year, one of the works will be exposed at the London Contemporary International Art Fair.
❓What does photography mean to you, and what motivates you?
🗣 Life itself motivates and inspires me. The main focus of my work is always on a human. The images that I create are often my responses to the world's events or personal life events. It is spontaneous, but I record the flow of thoughts and associations that occurs in my head. Therefore, photography, for me, has become a kind of dialogue with society. In it, I found an opportunity to express my love for symbols and metaphors, struggle with endless reflection, excessive emotionality and imbalance, complexes, and my personal flaws. This is not only a profession but also a kind of therapy.
❓ Can you tell us about a personal or professional project you are proud of?
🗣 I'm proud of "Metamorphosis," a multidisciplinary art project that includes a series of photographs, stop-motion video, and several performances. The theme of a personal transformation under the influence of information and propaganda, raised in it, is now very important. This is what happens around us every day, and as an artist, I am curious, but at the same time, scared watching it unfold because often such metamorphoses happen to our friends or relatives.
"Metamorphosis" was created in Bangkok and exhibited in the YenakArt Villa Art Gallery for the first time, then there was a show in Moscow in the Bachurin & Smirnov Mansion. Afterward, it participated in The Contemporary Venice 2019 exhibition, and recently there was a solo exhibition in the Masstab Gallery, Sofia.
❓What was your most challenging project, and why?
🗣 The M2F project that I've already mentioned earlier comes to my mind. That was my first experience of working with transgender people. All of them were not professional models, so first, I had to create a good working atmosphere in the studio, give the models time to get comfortable, and overcome the initial awkwardness. Sometimes you have to be a good psychologist to make it happen.
❓What was the most important skill that you learned, and how does it help you now?
🗣 I've learned to accept my mistakes and forgive myself. It really helps you to move forward. I'm learning how to transform the negative emotions into energy that could be redirected into creativity. It doesn't work out sometimes, but I'm doing my best.
❓What is your dream project you're starving to try in the next 10 years?
🗣 I want to make short, literally 20 -30 seconds long, videos based on my dreams. They are crazy but very bright and beautiful at the same time.
❓Do you have any passion projects you're working on or plan to start?
🗣 Yes, It's my new project, "Ultraviolent." It is a multidisciplinary art project/research, that should draw attention to the problem of domestic violence against women, that includes a photo exhibition and a series of art performances. I'm planning to start shooting in December. You can read more about it and support the project here https://gogetfunding.com/ultraviolent/
I'd be very grateful and appreciate any help and support. Even If you cannot support this project with money, you can still help by sharing the awareness and information about it via your social media channels and so on.
❓If you had just one question about anything that you could ask and get an answer, what would it be?
🗣 There are too many questions for which we humans don't have answers, and the absurdity of this kind of ULTIMATE question is perfectly shown in the Hitchhiker's Gide to The Galaxy book by D. Adams. The answer is 42, you know)