Model: Bambi Fry
Make-up/Hair: Jess Chapman
Styling: Sophie Westley
Assistant: Erin Megan Sandler
We are excited to present the next installment of The Handsome Project. Each month we’ll showcase an amazing young photographer who blows our minds, shoots our stuff and is all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Kristina’s WAH photoshoot and interview…
How did you get to here? (What’s your photographer history?)
I began by photographing my friends in high school, and touched landscape and nature photography before I even thought about people. My love for the medium blossomed in my final year of school where I focused my HSC project on ambiguous portraiture. I became infatuated with night photography, blurred vision, dark corners and a taste for the supernatural. I continued my portraiture journey throughout my first year of university, but finally, a close friend of mine convinced me that I should venture into fashion. Of course, the first place I went to was Model Mayhem. I remember doing my first ever fashion shoot in The Rocks. It was awful… But what a learning experience! I have been photographing fashion for about 2 years now. I taught myself the ropes of Lightroom and Photoshop from a younger age, so editing my photos seemed very natural and intuitive. I am currently building up my portfolio and have released my website last year. I hope to graduate from my degree with a complete portfolio that will enable me to enter the industry prepared. I have been published in a few online magazines so far, but it’s a start!
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
I did self-teach myself over a period of 4 years. I received a Nikon D90 for my 16th birthday which motivated me to venture into DSLR territory. Of course, some things I had to look online for, like folding a reflector or some Lightroom tutorials. I finally saved up for a better camera, and I now work with Canon. I learned a lot from my own mistakes, and this is why I caught on quickly. I feel more confident about my work now.
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
I wanted to photograph the new collection somewhere different. Swimwear is usually associated with the beach culture we have here in Australia. I leaned more towards forests and isolating environments to give a sense of dreaming and surreal emotions.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
I am so young, and have so much learn and experience. I don’t want to give up on account of other people and their opinions. My mother always told me that the world has a secret. And that is if a person wanted more than anything to achieve a dream, and do everything they can to get there, the world will help them. I don’t believe in coincidences or fairy tales, but I do believe in myself and the power I have to change my life.
Describe your approach in three words.
Fleeting, surreal and magical.
Black & white or colour?
Definitely colour. I feel like BW can hide certain aspects of a photograph. When we look at the world, we see colour, and that’s what I want to capture; a sense of reality, but to make it look sun kissed and desirable.
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
I did study a year of film photography, and it was so much fun. The anticipation of developing your own rolls and fumbling in pitch black with scissors and reels allowed me to appreciate the digital realm of photography. It’s so easy to take a photography nowadays, and be able to see it a split second after taking it. I do have a love for film, but I definitely prefer digital because that’s what I grew up with. Digital is something familiar to me and it inhabits a world of endless possibilities.
I recently bought a Canon 5D Mark iii and I haven’t looked back since!
Describe your photographic approach.
Photography for me is something that has developed along with me through life and is in fluctuations of change and improvement. It is more than just a hobby, it’s a complete creative transformation and envisage. I live and breathe photography. My eyes capture moments of my every day, and its in those times that I wish I had an internal camera. At the moment, I have only been working with ethereal natural light, I have yet to try professional lighting equipment! At twenty, I have a million miles to go. But the hardest part, in my opinion, is diving in the deep end and taking the first step.
I have a few up my sleeve, but my ultimate favourite is by far Jolijn Snijders, a young Dutch photographer who started up her own blog and magazine. She lived and breathed rock and roll and mingled with breaking rules, independent labels and art. I hope to have a coffee with her one day!
What turns you on?
Love, romance, Autumn leaves, tiny laneways, cobbled streets, snow, family photographs, memories, nostalgia, midnight.
What turns you off?
Control, lies, sexism, judgment, religion, close-mindedness, negativity.
How do you decide on locations & subjects for your shoots?
I explore, and I go with what feels right. I am always on the lookout for interesting, unique and hidden places that deserve to shine. Sometimes they are right under my nose. In terms of the people I photograph, I only choose people that interest me, that aren’t buried under layers and layers of fake aura. I love faces that speak for themselves, that can make me feel simultaneously comforted and unfamiliar. I photograph in order to learn about people.
If you could take your photography in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new things would you try?
I would definitely photograph overseas, in places like Africa, India, Indoensia and my home, Russia. I would try grabbing people I like off the street and photographing them in strange clothing, and unsettling locations. I would love to shoot fashion all over the world, for brands big and small.
Best advice you’ve ever received.
If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
Where to next?
I am graduating in 2 years from my degree in Visual Communications. I want to pack my bags and head to London to try new things. I think Australia is a great place to start somewhere, but there are more opportunities overseas. I want to photograph in Europe, Russia, America and Africa before I hit thirty.