Spotlight Feature: An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.

by - 18:01:00

Aleksandra Sachenko is an art photographer, whose current creative goal is to draw society's attention to two vulnerable aspects of human life - ecology and women's rights - through the medium of art. With extensive experience in human rights activism, Aleksandra Sachenko delicately navigates the artistic boundaries and places emphasis on the vulnerability and simultaneous beauty of these two spheres through photography, creating artistic photo projects, some of which have been published in magazines around the world.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
Please fully tell us about yourself and your personal background.
Hello everyone, my name is Aleksandra Sachenko, and I am an art photographer. The main goal of my work is to show humanity how I see the world through my eyes. Perhaps, after reading this, you might think that my goal is too difficult to achieve or even pointless.
However, I sincerely believe that each of us needs the skill to explain complex things in simple words or through other means, just as I do it through creativity. Therefore, at this stage of my life, I use photography to shed light on two areas that, in my opinion, deserve more attention: women's rights (in the broadest sense of the term) and ecology (by conveying both the importance and vulnerability of nature).

I’d love to start off by asking what motivated you to pick up a camera and shoot originally.
To provide a more detailed response to your question, allow me to share some information about my education and profession to help you better understand me. I am a practicing attorney with a bachelor's and master's degree in law, and I have been engaged in legal advocacy for 8 years. Among other things, I had a particular interest in environmental law and the protection of rights stemming from social inequality, particularly women's rights. Through my legal practice and courtroom appearances, I worked daily on how to explain complex matters in simple terms. This became the starting point for my creative journey: I contemplated how to merge two spheres - ecology and women's rights - while highlighting the most vulnerable aspects of both.
Subsequently, I began creating photographs of women against various natural landscapes, within which I tell the story of the unity between women and nature, emphasizing the absence of boundaries between them. For instance, I use different translucent fabrics instead of conventional clothing to convey this concept.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
In your own words please describe your style as a photographer?
I must admit, your question has left me somewhat puzzled! Because I genuinely believe that any form of art should, first and foremost, evoke emotions. Any emotions. So why confine one's creativity within the boundaries of a particular style? In my view, it's better to do the opposite: not conform to the constraints of a defined style, but rather mix and experiment with them, try new things, and create something unique. Speaking about my own style, it is important to remember that my main task in creativity at this stage is to attract attention and emphasize the fragility, vulnerability, and at the same time the strength of two amazing phenomena - women and nature. In this regard, we can safely say that in my work I combine 2 main directions - landscapes and artistic female portraiture (in the broad sense of the word).

Have you always been a visual person with a form of creative expression?
Absolutely. Creativity is about creation, and creation is life. I've always adhered to the principle that even my legal documents should reflect not only professionalism in terms of their content but also their visual presentation and proper formatting. So, I can confidently say that creativity has always found its way into my work, especially now.

An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
Do you remember your first experience with a Camera?
Certainly! I was less than 8 years old at the time. My parents gave me a film camera with some leftover frames, and I would photograph everything I saw. Back then, there were no phones with cameras, and "capturing the moment" was something out of science fiction. I remember thinking that I could stop time.

Haha, It simply goes to show how imaginative you have always been, I also believed I could stop time and fast-forward or rewind events whenever I wished. How big a role does photography play in your life?
I don't even know how to quantify it, not in a percentage, right? But one thing I can say for sure: when I photograph, I create something new, and I feel alive. After all, what we create ideally should live on beyond us. The fact that I feel truly alive most of the time (especially over the last six months) gives me the confidence to say that the role of photography in my life is definitely at the forefront.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
How do you get inspired? And what inspires you the most? Movies, books, or magazines? Or is it just what’s around you?
In my opinion, inspiration is like a capricious lady whom you can never predict how to please! That's why, personally, my inspiration can arise from completely unexpected things. For example, recently I saw a magnificent tuna at the market! It was so large, iridescent, and simply mesmerizing! I found myself thinking about how beautiful it was, yet it was already lifeless. Do you understand? Such a dreadful juxtaposition... At that moment, I came up with a new idea for a photograph, which I can't reveal just yet, but I hope to bring it to life soon. So, for me, inspiration is everywhere, but you never know when it will wash over you like a wave.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
Personally, I love photography and creating unusual concepts, I see it as an escape, a way to express what and how I am feeling at that very time. So, in a few words, what does photography mean to you?
What a wonderful association you have with photography! For me, photography is about multifaceted experiences. On one hand, it's the opportunity to freeze time, to capture fleeting moments, and then revisit them repeatedly, feeling those emotions over and over again. On the other hand, it's an incredible tool for self-expression of one's worldview, a tangible means to showcase one's perspective on various issues.

When you are in the conceptualization stage, do you have a fully planned vision for your image, or does the story evolve along with the process?
In my case, the story always "lives" alongside me. As I've mentioned before, you never know when and where inspiration will strike and what it will bring to your creative process, whether it's during the preparation phase or while you're already implementing a project. However, in my work, I always strive to create a "skeleton" - a kind of starting point in the concept and then proceed with controlled improvisation.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers out there?
Not stopping in your pursuit of learning, from lighting to retouching, and not comparing yourself to others because we all see and feel differently. Exploring various directions to find your own path and not getting fixated on trends. And, of course, having unwavering belief in yourself. I'm confident that all individuals possess talent; it just manifests in unique ways for each person.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
If you could change one thing about the photography industry, what would it be? What would you improve?
It's indeed a challenging question. I would probably provide even more opportunities for young photographers to showcase their talents. You never know where you might encounter someone truly brilliant. In this regard, I really appreciate the concept of your magazine. I thank you and your editorial team for the attentive and caring approach to people in creative professions. It is truly invaluable.
Model: Ignatieva Yulia  Photographer: Aleksandra Sachenko
It's our pleasure. Everyone needs a stage at some time in their lives to freely express themselves so that the world can see and hear their narrative, and we are honored to be able to give this opportunity to so many incredible people like yourself.
What are some of the biggest hurdles you have been faced with as a photographer and how did you overcome them?
The devaluation of labor is indeed a concern. Art is a narrative, and it involves clashes of tastes. Sometimes, people are quick to label something as "unattractive" when they don't understand it, thereby not only devaluing the effort put in by a team to create a photograph but also dismissing the underlying idea. In my opinion, this is highly unethical. In my work, I once encountered such an attitude from an individual, but it's important to remember that it's not a story about you; it's more about that person's perspective. It's solely their viewpoint, nothing more. Again, it's the emotion your art evokes. Does the character of that emotion really matter? Sometimes, it doesn't. After all, the worst thing for art, in my view, is indifference toward it.

What was the first ever photography gear you used when it came to photo shoots and what is your current favorite photography gear, what do you always have in your photography Bag/Kit?
A camera of course!) is my essential tool. It's challenging for me to pinpoint just one thing because it depends on the specific concept. However, I always carry one lens with me in addition to others – a portrait lens (50mm), and a reflector is a must.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
In your own words, what does the term “Women Empowerment” mean to you?
As for me, this is a marker of a healthy, free society and a democratic state in the broadest sense of these words.

There’s so much talk these days about inclusivity and diversity but is enough really being done?
From my experience, I can say that any significant change cannot happen overnight. In this regard, the integration of parameters such as inclusivity and diversity is already a huge step forward for society as a whole. Personally, the most prominent example of inclusivity for me is the increasing inclusion of models with vitiligo. Just a decade ago, this would have been unimaginable! Therefore, in my view, society is moving in the right direction on these issues; it just requires patience.

What are the qualities of an empowered woman? And how can women be empowered while maintaining their femininity?
A wonderful question! It seems to me that many women lack self-awareness of their own worth: many of us tend to undervalue our achievements and potential even before we start working in that direction. The reason for this phenomenon is still a mystery to me, but I genuinely believe that when every woman can feel that inner self-confidence, in her beauty as well, issues related to limited opportunities will naturally dissipate. After all, women, like nature, are incredibly strong yet delicate. The key is for each of us to remember this every day.
Model: Olga Efimenko Photography: Aleksandra Sachenko
What does a “typical” day in the life of Aleksandra Sachenko look like?
I'm a happy person, so it's hard to fit each of my days into clichés. However, I can confidently say that every day, I allocate a significant amount of time to my family - my husband and my beloved, most fluffy cat (smiling). They are my pillar of strength and my most crucial support, so I can't imagine any of my days without them, just as I can't imagine my life without creativity in any of its forms.

What has been the highlight of your career as a photographer to date?
I must admit that it's challenging to single out one particular moment and call it the brightest because each time I do something new, meet new people, and receive incredible feedback, I think, "This is the coolest thing that has ever happened." Then, I create something new, maybe get invited to publish, and again, I think, "This is the brightest, for sure!" It's a constant cycle. So, allow me not to pick one but simply say honestly and openly: every day in the building of my career brings me vivid emotions, like a beacon, indicating that I'm on the right path.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
When searching for models to photograph, do you have a specific character or look already in mind? How involved are your subjects in the start-to-finish process? Do you fill them in on the final vision for the image before the shoot to help them get into character?
Absolutely, the process of finding models is incredibly engaging! When I select a model, I always describe the concept I want to see in the frame, outline the emotions I hope to experience from the final result and provide detailed information about what specifically inspired me. This way, before we even start working, both the model and I have a clear understanding of each other.
The same goes for makeup artists, for example, although I rarely seek their assistance.

Regarding involvement, it's worth mentioning separately. We are all human beings, so ideally, if a project resonates with everyone, the involvement is total. However, if I sense that someone just wants to put their name in (only for their portfolio) but doesn't share the core idea and simply wants to do their part and leave, I try to filter out such individuals at the very beginning of the preparation stage. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work out.
An Exclusive Interview with Photographer of the Month Aleksandra Sachenko.
When it comes to post-production what tools do you use, and what would you recommend to upcoming photographers?
I use Photoshop and Lightroom. As for recommendations for aspiring photographers, I'll take a conservative approach here - in any contentious retouching situation, I advise beginners to prioritize naturalness in the early stages. Because, in my view, natural beauty is a constant. If you know how to enhance it correctly (both during the photo shoot and in post-processing), mastering subsequent retouching skills becomes much easier.

What are your latest and upcoming projects?
"Ephemeral Boundaries" is the name of a project I'm working on, and it sounds wonderfully motivating and thought-provoking. With semi-transparent textiles, I will continue to explore the connection between women and the environment, which is a creative and significant strategy. For me, this is an excellent chance to promote and highlight the work of brilliant female designers from Serbia and Montenegro while also contributing my distinct viewpoint. I will be working on lookbooks for these designers.
Model: Marina ,Photographer: Aleksandra Sachenko
What was the most surreal moment you ever experienced during a photography shoot?
I'm not sure how surreal, but definitely funny. We were supposed to do a photo shoot in a village in the mountains of Montenegro. It's an amazing place! So, the headliner of this shoot was supposed to be a chicken because I really wanted to take a photo of the model delicately holding it in her hands (a kind of symbiosis of a woman and nature). In the end, we never managed to catch the chicken, but we laughed until our stomachs hurt. I hope we'll bring this story to life soon.
If you want to keep up with more of Aleksandra Sachenko's work, follow her on social media;
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