Lifestyle: Exclusive Interview With OTSM'S Most Inspirational Photographer Of The Year - Kristina Makeeva.

by - 01:26:00

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Kristina Makeeva is a professional photographer who uses her photography to inspire us all. Kristina Makeeva creates captivating scenes through her whimsical aesthetic and she has won our hearts. She has gathered a whooping social media following of over 1million followers as of January 2022. Her photographs portray an otherworldly magical and beautiful realm, she makes me remember the saying " Everything you can imagine is real" I always say social media is an escape when used right and if you are lucky enough to bump into one of Kristina's photographs consider your eyes blessed because you will be blown away by her work, she is one photographer that truly dreams with her eyes wide open and she lets us into her world.
Kristina’s photos bring together magical places, unique dresses, and props that fit perfectly into picturesque landscapes.
Enjoy her interview below and don't forget to share with everyone you know so they can also tap into this blessing.
Interviewed By Linda Bella
OTSM: Hi Kristina, Please fully tell us about yourself and what life was like growing up?.
KM: Once upon a time, at the age of 16, I took the camera in my hands, and since then I have been shooting. I did not study photography at the University, but there were related subjects on graphic design, web design, Adobe programs, and so on. At school, we did not have such clubs, but I often did my own presentations with pictures in Photoshop for school courses, for example, a course in physics and so on. I've been working with Photoshop since the age of 14 this is when I discovered I had a passion for photography but I started shooting at 16 years of age and I have not stopped. 
My first camera was a Panasonic video camera, which took pictures with a resolution of 640x480 pixels in JPG format. It was 14 years ago. I took pictures myself. I got a related education at the university, I studied as a graphic designer. It strongly influenced my work. Designers always create their worlds out of nothing. As I am now - I always need to embellish reality.
Traveling began much later - about five years ago. I was not traveling to chill or rest, It was for work and vocation. Traveling opens up a new world for us, It expands our consciousness, inspires, and makes us tolerant. All these experiences greatly influenced my work. Photography is something I can't help but do. I just do it all the time and never stop. I spend all the money I earn on the implementation of my projects and on new trips.
OTSM: In your own words please describe your style as a photographer?
KM: Often the term "magic" is applied to my photos. And there is magic in my photos. I, as a person who grew up in the usual gray and ugly city near Moscow, always tried to get into a fairy tale. In those fairy tales that I read in my childhood. About hobbits, Moomin trolls, Alice in Wonderland, The Silmarillion, fairy tales by Russian authors like Max Fry and others in the fantasy genre, and so on. With age, the perception of fairy tales and the tales themselves change. With travels to my fairy tale destination, the national flavor of those countries that I visited or read about has been an added bonus to bringing my work and vision to life.
For example, in a project with flowing fabrics, I most recently spotted an Asian flavor. Another example, in many Chinese or Japanese fairy tales there are girls with fabrics flying in the wind. The simplest example is probably the Japanese anime of our childhood - Sailor Moon. Tales of Miyazaki.
Those. everything has an impact on us, and this is logical.
What do I want to show through my work? I want to show everyone that there is magic in the ordinary. We have a project that is permeated, probably, by all the photos, which are called “Simple Magic Things”. With this project, we want to show that everyone is surrounded by the amount of magic that he can see. As the gray dank reality, there are little things that make our world magical. That life is not somewhere over the mountain in the gardens of Sakura (which are overflowing in the spring, by the way), but here, in our apple orchards, or in a cup of herbal tea, in the rays of the setting sun. I want you all to know that any piece of fabric can turn into a magic train and that there is nothing impossible in principle.
Photography has tremendous power. Sometimes I receive letters in private messages that my photo has helped to cope with sadness. Sometimes they mention depression, and that it becomes even better for a moment - and I am glad. In fact, we initially began to work in order to carry the light of beauty into the world, however pathetic it may sound. And I see through the responses that light sometimes helps.
In fact, this is what I want to bring with my photos - light and wonder.
OTSM: Wow, You are amazing, I felt it when you said people mentioned depression in their messages, I do believe that sometimes there is healing in what we see, and I am happy your photos can somehow help many souls feel a sense of calm and peace. So, How big a role does photography play in your life?
KM: All my time, all my fees, all my attention is occupied only by photography. But maybe also a little - food.
OTSM: Let's take you back in time to 2017, when you did the photoshoot with the "Lotus Dress" in Cappadocia, that photo blew my mind when I saw it, did you ever think that it would go viral like it did and turn you into a "trendsetter"? because it just showed me how one could do magical things with dresses and photography.
KM: It is very accurately noted that it was from this photo that my main project with dresses began, which made me more famous, and now I see my followers everywhere, although most of them do not even know that such a project and such a photographer exist. They just take and repeat ideas from Pinterest.
How did it happen? We had a photography tour in Cappadocia where I showed the participants how I take my pictures. One girl had a dress with long stripes of fabric. We shot it at sunset, and then I spent the whole night showing how I process the pictures in Photoshop. No one endured until the end, since it is really a lot of work - to bring the photo to the ideal. Not just to combine frames, but to draw shadows, light, color, etc. Paying attention to the smallest detail. After all, the whole point is in the details.
OTSM: I noticed how you blend the dresses perfectly with the backgrounds in your photos, your photos also spread such a beautiful vibe and spread such positive love and light, how do you get inspired when picking a concept for your next photoshoot?
KM: In our photos, the main thing is that all together they create a feeling of unreal reality. As if we are now on a familiar planet, but as if from the inside. We look at it with different eyes. What will play a leading role is not important. Sometimes the main thing is a glass ball.
Sometimes I shoot one shot without processing. Sometimes I collect the universe in pieces. But I always insure myself with backgrounds, this is another secret - something that does not fit into an ordinary lens but I make sure it fits in during the post-processing stage.
It is also important to understand that over the years of filming I have accumulated a huge amount of objects, airplanes, flowers, fabrics, snow, clouds, sunsets, balls, drops, and so on, that I can use in my works. These are my personal stock photos, in doing this I have put together my own universes.
I can also just finish at home what I lacked in location. Tapes or other items, for example.
There is one more thing - often there is a lot of people at any natural or city sights at the right time - it has to be retouched. Or very cold/hot. Then we shoot as quickly as possible and remove all the shortcomings in post-production.
And sometimes it happens that we take a model before the trip or after it. Like all the necessary details.
Do you understand how extensive the deception is? But the viewer must believe. How to believe movies. Especially how they believed in movies during their childhood days.
But in any case, the photo was originally a hoax. When we remove a beautiful temple, we frame it, and behind us, we see rubbish or a road with dusty mopeds. There was even some kind of photo project where the photographer was shooting, standing with his back to world sights. This is certainly interesting, especially when you do not leave the house, but we often already know what is behind us. By the way, it is very beautiful in Moscow, if you stand with your back to St. Basil.
OTSM: You are an influential female photographer in the industry. Do you think that female photographers are fairly represented? There are a lot of discussions online about women not having equal opportunities to men in photography, what are your opinions on the subject?
KM: Art is remarkable in that it has no boundaries, no nationalities, no gender. So talking about it is pointless. If a person has something to say, he will say it with his creativity.
OTSM: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers out there?
KM: Nothing in the world can replace perseverance. Therefore, there is nothing more important than practice. Talent is not magic, but the number of hours invested in skill.
OTSM: If you could change one thing about the photography industry, what would it be? What would you improve?
KM: I would cover the issues of copyright and respect for authors, in general, more widely in the world.
Let me explain: for example, in our country, for some reason, many people think that if they find a photo in Google, or in another search engine, in Pinterest, they can use it to advertise their services, most often tourist services, or print on their products. Of course, the law protects us, but, for example, recently on Instagram and Facebook, they have become negligent in resolving issues of copyright of photographers.
The second question is about the respect of the authors. Often people take someone else's idea, reshoot it, or even make their own masterclasses based on it. At the same time claiming that they are awesome artists. Of course, this is a fine line, but sometimes everything is immediately visible without a magnifying glass. I consider it normal to use no more than 25 percent of the author's original idea because art is not born from scratch, but it is nonsense to consider art re-shot with someone else's face.
OTSM: Tell us what is the most challenging part of being a photographer?
KM: The most difficult thing, perhaps, is injustice. The rest eventually ceases to be a problem.
OTSM: What are some of the biggest hurdles you have been faced with as a photographer and how did you overcome them?
KM: Of course, with burnout and subsequent depression. I Overcame this with the help of friends and the sun. It is not customary for us to turn to psychologists for help, and I believe that an artist does not need to "treat" his head, without all these psychological deviations there will be no creativity. After all, art is always about some kind of emotional anguish. And my best psychologist is my photos. Normal people make almost no contribution to history, as far as I have observed this issue.
OTSM: What Would You Consider the Most Important Components of Your Style?
KM: Unreal Reality. I do not feel my style, but my subscribers and supports feel it, I get to know more about how to make work makes people feel through their reactions to it.
OTSM: What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
KM: You know, this whole situation with the coronavirus greatly depresses me as a creator. The world has turned into some kind of an endless drag. So for now, that's all I am feeling.
OTSM: What sort of aesthetic do you bend towards? Also, how does color influence you, or how does it affect your work?
KM: If the art is aesthetic, complex, and harmonious - I will admire it regardless of its direction. But I love the colors I work with to be bright.
OTSM: What role do you think social media plays in the life of a photographer today?
KM: I feel it plays a huge role. I was promoted by social networks, like many visual artists. Now, being an introvert, you do not have to go somewhere with legs, look for galleries or producers. Now you are your own producer. This is one side of the coin. The other is that many people have seen this opportunity and are trying to go upstairs on someone else's talent. There are always pros and cons when it comes to the role social media plays.
OTSM: I am always blown away when I see dreamy and beautiful photos, and your statement 'Often the term ‘magic' is applied to my photos' made my day.
What is your current favorite photography gear, what do you always have in your photography Bag/Kit?
KM: Now I don’t have any favorite equipment, because every place and every idea needs its own gadget. I have a drone, telephoto lenses, super-wide lenses, beautiful bokeh, 360-degree cameras, and underwater boxes. So it makes no sense to talk about something beloved or to select just one favorite gear when I know I use various devices for unique purposes.
OTSM: What has been the highlight of your career as a photographer to date?
KM: Honestly, I do not know. At one time, my life consisted only of bright moments, meetings, travels, I was so tired that I could hardly live these moments. And when they asked me: what do you dream about, I always answered - sleep. And now, in the midst of the coronavirus, I just dream of finally not getting enough sleep and returning to an active life.
OTSM: This is a question I always love to ask my Queens during interviews what does the word Women Empowerment mean to you?
KM: Probably, I was lucky to be born near Moscow, to meet people who are able to think broadly and freely, so I never felt infringed on my rights. But even in our country, there is a lot of injustice: when a woman is perceived only as an incubator and a machine for cooking and cleaning, for example. Yes, as a child, I had to face the fact that on the street they could insult and even grab my ass. In general, it is psychologically difficult, especially when you are still a child and do not know how to fight back. Therefore, I always advocate that both men and women have equal rights. Do not infringe on the rights of some for the sake of others, namely equal. And even women sometimes use their privileges to the detriment of the rights of men.
Now, in the era of the development of intelligent technologies, power has become unimportant. The brains of men and women work exactly the same way. And everyone can work the same way.
OTSM: When it comes to post-production what tools, editing programs do you use, and what would you recommend to upcoming photographers?
KM: I've been using Photoshop for 20 years now. And this program is my age. Its first version came out the year I was born. So, this is the best I can recommend but there are various programs out there, it's always advisable to experiment with programs and choose which one suits you best.
OTSM: Any exciting 2022 projects that your fans should know about?
KM: In principle, I believe that until the project is completed, no one should know about it.
OTSM: That's also true, I always say- work hard in secret and let success speak for you, We know whatever it is you are working on will be amazing as always.
What was the most surreal moment you ever experienced during a photography shoot?
KM: I am such a down-to-earth person, like many storytellers, because they know who makes a fairy tale on earth. Therefore, I do not remember exactly surrealism. I always admire what nature is capable of - her imagination is limitless. There is a luminous sea, blue lava, and purple northern lights.
To take a look behind the scenes of Makeeva’s photographic process, watch a short feature on her work produced by SmugMug, and see more of her finished works via her -Instagram page.
OTSM: Lastly, What are you up to when you are not working?
KM: Sleeping. :)
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