Art & Culture

Snapshots with Sofya Svetlaya

Photographer Sofya Svetlaya on the current debates in the sphere of photography, modern and classical inspirations, the emotions at play in front of and behind the camera and her very own style of photography.
Reading time 2 minutes

In spite of your young age, your photography style can be described as being timeless. How did you perfect this timeless style?

How you take pictures depends heavily on what you see and who inspires you. I have studied the work of many classic photographers whose images have remained relevant to this day, despite being taken such a long time ago.

How do you succeed in balancing the retro look and feel of your photographs with modernity?

This balance is created naturally, through the mixture of an idea that is inspired by the past and the modern circumstances and influences under which the shooting takes place.

Is it a contradiction to rely on granular analog optics despite the existence of digital photography?

Yes, it is a contradiction indeed. Unfortunately, analog pictures take a lot of time to develop, and therefore we are forced to imitate their style using digital photography.

Is it correct to assume that you have been strongly influenced by photographer Peter Lindbergh?

I really appreciate Peter Lindberg’s work. When I look at his pictures, I understand how he felt the moment he took them. I want my pictures to evoke the same emotions in their viewers.

Which other colleagues inspire you?

I feel inspired by many photographers from the glamorous ’90s. Helmut Newton, Jerry Schatzberg, Pamela Hanson, Jürgen Teller, Steven Meisel, and Paolo Roversi ... the list goes on forever! Their pictures have a type of simplicity and naturalness about them, which I admire.

How would you describe your style?

First of all, although I am a portrait photographer, I can work in any style that is required of me. Vintage and analog optics as well as the American style are very close to my heart. I call my own, personal style “American Portrait”.

What trends do you see developing in relation to (fashion) photography?

Fashion photography is attempting to become more approachable. More natural ways of photographing people and models as well as photographs depicting real human emotions have become very popular.

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The photographer wants to arouse emotions with her work. She succeeded in doing so, for example, with this picture of a shooting for “My Diamond Ring by Schullin X L’Officiel Austria” starring the blogger duo Desiree and Jennifer Selmanovic.


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