The Life Of A Photographer At HSE SPb: How To Keep Talent If You Are An Economist?

Is it difficult to combine study and hobby?

The Life Of A Photographer At HSE SPb: How To Keep Talent If You Are An Economist?

Interview with Victoria Ivanova, a photographer, curator and student of Bachelor Program in Economics at HSE in Saint Petersburg.

How long have you been photographing? At what level?

I learned about photography when I was 16, but a serious awareness that this is the thing, which I want to do came to me only in the last school year. Now photography for me is a self-expression, beauty and style, new acquaintances and inspiration. I consider myself a professional photographer.

As far as I know, economists have a lot of mathematics and do not have free time, so creativity is out of the question. How do you manage to combine study with what you love?

As a person who has an endless depression because of the huge amount of math, I can say that any kinds of creativity are the light at the end of the tunnel, which helps to survive. Thanks to photography, I forget about numbers and remember art and inspiration. The HSE Art Union plays an important role in my soul satisfaction, integrating people with desires and goals similar to me. 

I have known about the existence of the HSE Art Union for a long time, but only in general terms. Could you tell our readers and me more?

Our club is for everyone who loves photography and wants to develop in this area. It is not necessary to be a professional to join the AU, we need only motivation and desire to develop. Usually, we invite beginning specialists and experienced professionals to give lectures on relevant topics: from lectures on setting up the camera to the SMM. Sometimes we organize atmospheric evenings to discuss the history of photography, arrange photo contests, and go to museums, exhibitions. You will never get bored with us!

In which genre do you prefer to take photos? Who exactly is your club looking for: journalist photographers, models, makeup artists, videographers?

Everyone in our club has shoots in the genre that he or she likes. Someone likes to take photo-reports, others – people. Personally, I like fashion photoshoots. Nevertheless, we all have something in common – the click of the shutter and the love for photography. In addition to photographers, we are happy to invite models, videographers and other people close to photography to join us.

Is it possible to learn to take pictures from scratch in HSE Art Union?

Yes, sure! Moreover, it is necessary! We have many people who do not know what aperture is or why exposure is needed, so we will teach you everything. All you need is desire.

You often have lectures with speakers. What was the most useful lecture for you?

Lectures with speakers are organized several times a month because we believe that information should be presented gradually, but for a good result. My favorite lecture is retouching from Alina Gubaidulina. It was very useful and better than any expensive courses.

Could you tell us about your most unusual photoshoot in the previous year?

The most memorable photoshoot for me in my first year is shooting at a contact zoo. My idea was to show the rural life of two tender girls – provincial women and to tell about their natural beauty. I put together a team – a stylist, make-up artist and two models. The location was a zoo in the Leningrad Region. We spent seven hours there, two of which we waste on the shot with goats that did not want to look towards my camera. However, cool atmosphere and the crazy result were worth it!

How do you prepare for shooting?

Every time I understand that a successful photoshoot involves a very thorough, high-quality preparation, pre-production. I create a mood board before every shooting – a file where the image, make-up, location and idea are kept. I look for suitable models, makeup artist, stylist and videographer; they are my faithful friends on the set. I believe that if you take into account all these factors, my shooting will be excellent!

Where can one get inspiration and motivation for developing the photographer’s talent? Could you give a couple of tips?

I need to look at something inspiring and beautiful. Firstly, I love fashion magazines. There are many photoshoots and I analyze the work of an entire team on them, learn about the latest “trends” in photography, I mean about new shooting styles, camera angles, techniques, fashionable colors of photography. Secondly, Instagram is another source of inspiration for me, because there are so many cool creators. Thirdly, people from HSE Art Union are the strongest source of motivation for me. 

Text by
Yuliya Pilipchuk