“(…) I am doing a lot of drawing, but for now I am working on each piece for several months so there is not too many new works to find on the Internet.
(…) I can say that photography comes first for this moment, although I have been drawing since my childhood and can remember myself drawing something even at night when the lights were off.
However, I started photographing some friends and nature when I was in University and became addicted to how reality can look like on a photograph.”

photographer Ekaterina Grigorieva
Moscow, Russia

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Hello Ekaterina! We found your photography work on the Internet accidentally and felt in love with it. But you seem to be doing a lot of drawing and painting as well! What comes first thought – photography or drawing?
Hi! Well, you are right, I am doing a lot of drawing, but for now I am working on each piece for several months so there is not too many new works to find on the Internet.
Answering the second part of your question, I can say that photography comes first for this moment, although I have been drawing since my childhood and can remember myself drawing something even at night when the lights were off.
However, I started photographing some friends and nature when I was in University and became addicted to how reality can look like on a photograph.

Your photography is very subtle, a bit melancholic, but very captivating. At first, when I saw your photos, you reminded me a little bit of Tim Walker whose works have the same sense of something magical. Would you agree with that? What kind of photographer are you and how would you describe your photography yourself?
Thanks for the comparison with Tim! I am in love with his way of using light and ability to implement magic in ordinary moments. However, I never thought that what I am doing can be associated with his works; you are the first to say that.
It is quite difficult to describe my photography myself. I picture my view on people and try to disclose signs of nature that surrounds these people.

So your photography is one thing, but then your sketches have the same sense of magic. Actually they could so of being taken from one of Tim Burton’s films! They are just so wonderfully weird!
Thank you! I always draw what I can’t take a picture of.

I may be wrong, but I think you use film cameras in your photography work. Is that so? What kind of cameras do you use?
You are right! I mainly use film cameras for my photography, especially for my art projects. Commercial works and fashion I often shoot on a digital camera, because the result should be predictable. Not that I care a lot about tool selection, but different cameras lead you to make different pictures, even think differently.
I use Fuji GX680 for landscapes, street portraits and studio works. Mamiya 645 for more dynamic and natural portraits and 5D Mark III for everything. And I shoot more on the phone recently.

There is this very common trend of strongly Photoshopped pictures. How do you relate to digital technology and do you use Photoshop yourself for retouching and manipulating your photos?
I think the choice of using a lot of Photoshop or not retouching the photo at all always depends on what kind of photography we are talking about. If the result looks great and retouching is invisible for viewer I don’t mind when a photographer is spending hours at his computer.
But there is one thing I could never understand in portrait photography – lots of manipulation with human face and figure. For me if you choose a person to take a photo of, you should deal with his imperfections and try to find best angle for shooting them.
However, I am ok with using digital technology in advertising photography.

Do you do photography for living or just as a hobby? What else do you do apart from that and drawing?
Photography has become my work, my life and my way of thinking, even more than drawing; at least at the moment. I do many art projects, shoot portraits and fashion for some magazines and I teach portrait photography.

When working in a studio do you prefer to use natural or studio lighting? Your photos seem to be taken with natural / window light mainly?
Yes, for me it is a pleasure to shoot with natural light. And when it is not possible, I would either imitate window light or create any unusual light spots.

If you were given an unlimited budget to do a shoot, what would it look like? Can you describe the image of your dreams?
Unlimited budget sounds great! I can’t say what the image would look like, but I know exactly where I want to shoot – in the open space. Island, Nepal or any volcanic landscapes would also be inspiring for me.

Some photographers like to gain inspiration from media and other fellow photographers, some say it kills your own creativity. What do you think? Where do you seek inspiration?
I look through photos of many other authors every day and try to analyse them. But I seek inspiration mostly from nature, music or particular person in front of the camera. I also have my own method of finding the inspiration based on word association.

What do you think our world will look like in 50 years?
I don’t think that human world will be very different, people can’t change so fast. However, technologies will change and what surrounds us, making our life more comfortable.

How do you define success? Where do you see yourself when you close your eyes and daydream?
For me, success is not limited to work, so it is hard to say.
Probably create at least one photograph that changes the world somehow. At the same time, maintain my health and family.

Many starting out photographers want to know what makes a good photographer, where to start and what are the right things to do. Do you have any word of advice for them?
Be industrious, curious and respond quickly. Watch and analyze more. Establish contacts with other people, it often helps. Don’t listen to criticism, listen to yourself.

By the way… Did you study photography or perhaps you are self-taught? Do you think that education in this field is necessary to become successful?
I started shooting as a hobby and over time, as I got interested in certain techniques or subject matter, I took courses on that. I mean, I always choose where and when to study and what to learn.
But I think that education is a great chance for those who are hungry for knowledge. When you are in a university or college you have unlimited opportunity to read photography books in the library and you can try everything in the studios and laboratories. In addition, you spin in this area and meet a lot of people who love photography as much as you do.

If you would like to interview someone, who would that be?
It is impossible for now but if someday technology makes it possible, I would like to interview a dolphin.

Anything else you would like to say that I probably should (or shouldn’t) ask?
Can’t think of anything else. Thank you for your questions!