Vanya is a freelance London photographer, within his work, you can find Fashion editorials and catalogs. His inspiration stems from Photographers such as Breton, Penn, Alvedon, Bailey, Lategan and Donovan. He was always fascinating by the play of the light and dark, strong contrast, subtlety of shadows and the main effects one could achieve with a simple image. We could not miss the opportunity to talk to him, and discover how this creative photographer start in the world of photography and why he become a photographer.
When did you first get interested in photography? What sparked it, and when did you decide that it was what you were going to do?
I picked up a camera when I was about 8 years old and always thought it was magic, the way you could capture a moment of time in a box and then a week later get the film processed and Shazam! There you have a picture for all of eternity!
Were you educated in photography, or are you self taught?
I went to art college; I wanted to paint, but always took pictures along the way. I guess after I realized taking pictures was a much more viable way of paying the bills, I decided to follow that route. The whole practice relates anyway; it’s just that taking pictures is painting with light instead of a brush.
I then went to assist various photographers and studios and that’s where I learnt my trade, so I’m self taught to a certain degree, but I certainly acquired most of the practice in studios and working with other Photographers. I would recommend anyone who is starting in the industry to go the same route.
What camera do you use the majority of the time?
I shoot on Nikon most of the time, Hasselblad with a P65 back when I can (budget permitting) and film, either 120, or 5/4 whenever I get the opportunity… just love the whole process on that front.
You mostly focus on fashion photography. Once you’ve mastered this, is there any other types of photography you’re looking to move into?
Yeah I shoot fashion and some still life.. I like street photography and have taken loads, I’ve just not put them on my site, because I think they need another platform to work off of.. I also like architectural photography and saw a brilliant exhibition recently at the Barbican Gallery, it was so cinematic. I’ve recently started making films and have a production company which should be online in the next couple of weeks. We are concentrating on Fashion and Music Videos. I also love documentaries and recently shot one about Walthamstow and art in the community. I examined how the area has changed and argued how art within a community can improve the quality of life, well-being and cultural integration. It was an amazing experience and gave me a real insight into how art influences change and a spirit of a place within the community.
Comparing where you are now with where you are when you first started, what could you have done differently to get to where you are sooner?
I wouldn’t have done anything differently, I guess I believe in fate.
You’ve clearly worked with a wide range of models, what tips can you recommend to people looking to expand their portfolio?
I work with models through agencies.. I think it’s really important to get to know them before sticking a camera in their face no matter how experienced they are.
You are showing part of their personality in a picture, no matter how staged it is, so it’s important for me to have an idea of who they are.
How much time do you spend taking photos, versus retouching photos? Favourite accessory?
I don’t do any post unless I have to, I think this is a different job, with different skill sets. I do work alongside retouchers though, like a director would with an editor.
Who would you like to work with most?
I’d most like to work with Frances Bacon, Angelina Jolie, Robert Johnson, Audrey Hepburn, Clint Eastwood and Jesus Christ.