A Photographer Toiled Few Years To Prepare This Project

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Kseniya Segina is a young fashion photographer from Russia. Her work can be seen in numerous prestigious magazines. Recently she completed her work on Street Style, a project which is near to her heart and which took several years of collecting her best photos. She has now selected the final photographs and placed them on her website. So we’ll hear from Kseniya herself what the project is about, and what inspired her.

Photo: Milan

Can you tell me the background of your Street Style project? What was the motivation or inspiration to start with, and how would you characterise it?

I was studying the development of fashion photography in Milan. At that time a friend of mine lived there, also a photographer, and she said to me: let’s try it! Of course, I was already familiar with the works of Adam Katz, Tommy Ton, and Scott Schuman. And so we took a run at it! and have been trying for two years already, because it’s pure adrenaline! It’s an eternal race, competition, working on a very quick response time. Especially if you know exactly what picture you want. But the most valuable pictures are those that happen by chance and are better than you’d expect. I like to catch the details, take portraits, sometimes it’s the real thing and not only fashion.  

Photo: Paris

Over time, street styles have become more casual. What is your opinion?

It’s the truth. Because it’s more convenient for fashion editors, for bloggers, for fashion celebrities. For real life! To spend all day with high heels and short dresses in winter is not easy or healthy. They have to think not only about 500 photographers outside but and about their work. And it’s great news: they are not dolls! They want to wear just blouses and jeans and sneakers, as we do. And to change just a cardigan for every fashion show. But no one said it’s bad! And not just for marketing.

Your work is impressive. What is it that inspires you the most?

My own feelings. And all that I have experienced living through my most unforgettable memories: people, music, movies, books, places, smells, even food. This and everything about colors and impressions. And I like that I can use my sensitive and sometimes intimate side in my profession.

Photo: Milan

When you are doing fashion photography, do you find men as interesting as women?

I meet very interesting men and the same with women. I think it is not just about a beautiful exterior, more about character, about personality. I can say the same about sexuality. For a model, it is not enough to have only a beautiful face and body, with good skin and silken hair. Without confidence, courage, inner strength, and communication these things just don’t work. I like to show emotions, motions, acting, and finally eyes.

Photo: Milan

Your website doesn´t say much about you. Our readers are interested in knowing about your personal life.

I’m a great conspirator! Privacy is the most valuable commodity today. Actually my website is my business card. I just never thought that it would be interesting to text (or to read) something about my private life, my pictures can say so much more. This is my goal. 

What was it that first motivated you to become a fashion photographer?

I have always been around fashion. I graduated from the faculty of journalism and then worked for three years at a teens magazine in Moscow as fashion and beauty editor and a stylist. I already knew that I was interested in fashion photography, so I made many portraits with my friends and for little on line projects. During that time I experimented a lot with film cameras. But for my work I needed to start to use a digital camera and retouching. And step by step…

Photo: Milan

What are your other areas of interest apart from photography?

Now my passion is illustration. Fashion illustration, children’s book illustration, modern. I save one million pictures for inspiration from the Internet every day. I’m not kidding. And I try to buy something new in every city during my travels. I’m a real maniac about that: postcards, books, magazines, etc. I’m drawing all the time and would like to be more professional in this area. When I’m in love with something I give it all my effort and time and passion. For a long time it was just photography, nothing more. Now it is time for a change.

Do you prefer to work on your own or do you like working with other photographers?

I prefer to work on my own because it’s very important to have contact with a model without interference. I like to talk, to learn something new about her/him. I like to see how a person step by step becomes more open with me and relaxed. A brilliant feeling!

Kseniya Segina

You are very beautiful yourself, did you think about becoming a fashion model yourself?

Thank you so much! I never thought about that, and I’m a very shy and a very small girl – 1.69 m. I always wanted to work behind the scenes, the best place for big things and growing up. And I absolutely can’t act with my face: if I don’t like something, you will know it, immediately.

The models in your pictures look very comfortable and expressive, how do you achieve that?

Nothing special. Sometimes we just talk one-on-one, and I try to take some pictures during our conversation. For models this seems not so stressful, especially if we’re talking about tests with new, young models. I have the only one secret: I always talk to my models.

Photo: Paris

Going back in the history of fashion, which according to you were the best years?

Of course I can endlessly tell you about the magical fashion of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, remembering the big names and trends, but it will not be about me, though I love these periods in fashion. At about 2-3 years I liked the beginning of the ‘90s. Do you remember the first seasons of Friends, the tv show? Black leather jackets, jeans with high waists, jumpsuits, white socks with black boots and extremely white T-shirts. Maybe not the best years, but definitely a very stylish and comfortable period. I use this style very often in my daily life.

Are there any designers whose style you particularly like?

I’m a huge fan of Delpozo. And season by season they inspire me a lot : interesting cuts, shapes, patterns, textures, accessories. They break some of the rules of classic fashion. And as a photographer I would always like to work with Vivienne Westwood. Especially backstage at a men’s fashion show. It’s never just fashion, this is punk theatre with expression and challenge. With real street guys who wear rings with skulls and smoke cigarettes. And I really believe that straight after the show they will go fight with the guys from next neighborhood. I like the young Ukrainian and Russian designers LES’ and Anna October. And the absolutely fantastic embroidery of Vishyvanka by Vita Kin. I would also like to add to my ‘Best list’ Rosie Assoulin for the unique cut of her trousers and dresses and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini with vintage blouses. 

Photo: Paris

Each country has its own fashion trends, do you think most styles actually originate in France?

No, I don’t think so. A lot of people who appear in my street style pictures are not French. They come from other countries. Now fashion is a compilation. I like people who don’t follow the trends strictly, but flirt with them, mixing old with the new, expensive brands with very cheap, French and Italian, creating their personal style. This is happening now and not only in France, as it was a hundred years ago.

What projects are you currently working on? What could our readers be looking forward to in the near future?

As a freelancer I always have projects in the works. I try to do new things constantly and try to approach the old ideas and directions differently. For me it’s important to explore something new, and I’m constantly searching for new sources of inspiration. Now I’m starting something very new for me: working with still life photography, but not the usual way, using color paper. I have never done it before because I love to work with people and am not very patient about still life, but it looks like a cartoon and I’m trying to use a lot of colors and different light and shadows and textures and things. I will work with shoes, with accessories, etc. We’ll see! And I’m still committed to street style photography, of course.

Where do you see yourself in 25 years? Would you like to do what you do now or is there any unknown area you might want to explore?

I’m dreaming about movie making. More precisely about music videos or just short fashion videos. Maybe in 25 years? All my plans are about this beautiful life.

What do you do when you are not working? What are your hobbies?

When I’m not working, I’m trying to find work. Hehe, the reality. Actually I just finished my first animation video with cartoon pictures for kids 3-5 years old. A very exciting experience! You know you are becoming very kind when you spend almost a month drawing little cakes
(these were delicious stories). Sweet meditation! My advice for everyone after a tense work week. The technical part of the process drives me crazy, but I will try to be more patient. And lately I’m in love with modern embroidery. In my head there are a lot of plans about that. I have a job that allows me to work in different countries as well as travel, which is a passion of mine as well as photography and illustrations. And taking pictures for my Instagram blog: nature, design, little details, resturants, atmosphere in general…My Instagram is a mess with different kinds of hobbies and work. I was a bit worried about that considering all the serious bloggers out there: it looks so chaotic! But it looks like what’s in my head, it’s the real me, and I don’t want to change it, or make jokes about that.

Photo: Milan

What does your perfect day look like?

I open my eyes, have a cup of tea , take my suitcase, and go to the airport. And ahead of me is a long, interesting day with new people and a new project. And at the end of the day to fall asleep immediately, I like to be very tired after working hard all day. Honestly, the simple things in life drive me and give me the power to go on. 

Is there anyone inside or outside your profession who really inspired you?

There are so many people … I love being inspired and with so many amazing ones out there it’s hard to choose. All the classics such as Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Ellen von Unwerth, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Weber, Richard Avedon. All their pictures are an endless inspiration. Street style guru Scott Shuman. He has a very special view of style, a good eye and intuition. And I have seen how he works with people, delicate and friendly. It’s not just street style photography, it’s psychology, it’s philosophy, marketing, and humor. I like Chris Craymer with his positive pictures full of emotions and colors. And I always follow the new works of Francesco Brigida. He’s a genius of soft light and a minimalist. Charlotte Hadden, Marianna Sanvito, Henrik Purienne, Bruno Staub, Dario Catellani… I always try and keep open minded and discover new approaches and new names. 

Was photography the field you always wanted to be in?

No, I always thought I would work as a journalist or an editor in chief or a fashion editor. But fortunately, life is full of surprises and changes all the time. And I am glad to think: what will be around the next corner? The main rule: to be brave enough to accept all the changes and go ahead.

Describe yourself in 5 words. What would characterize you best?

Straight, stubborn, optimistic , creative, and purposeful.

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