Elena is a fashion photographer who was born in Russia and currently she lives in Reunion island (French territory in the Indian Ocean, near Mauritius). She specialized in beauty and fashion commercial, and her aesthetics are strong and elegant, and are reflected by her passion for photography.
How is the fashion in Réunion?
Réunion island is very far from the fashion capitals and but I do my best at styling with what I can find in local boutiques. I also love to make use of different objects that can create graphic lines, like in my story “Laguna,” the day before the shoot I went shopping to a Chinese store and bought all the colorful accessories.
How would you define beauty?
I do not know how to define it… It’s so ephemeral and so fragile. Maybe for me it’s elegance in the first place. It seems like nowadays in fashion photography it’s very trendy to produce awkward and unpolished imagery, the contrary of “beautiful” in the common sense of it. I’ve tried to embrace the trend, but I do not think to be capable of following it. So my comprehension of “beauty” is quite conventional then.
Were you educate in photography or are yourself taught?
I am self-taught.
What camera do you use most of the time?
I use my medium-format Hasselblad H5D for most of my personal and commercial work, and occasionally my Nikon D810.
Which photo are you currently most proud of?
I think I still didn’t take a photo that I would be completely proud of! Let’s wait a couple more years lol. Ok, I think it’s better to talk about a series, not a single photo. You should be able to produce a great story in one shooting, with a few strong images. Currently I am quite proud of my stories Laguna and Ooli
Comparing where you are now with where you are when you first started, what could you has done differently to get to where you are sooner?
I wouldn’t have spent that much time on following conventional glamour portrait photographers when I was just starting, whose work is gorgeous, but I feel that it has influenced me to take up a too conventional approach to photography at the beginning; I feel that my work could have been more edgy. Then, the formation of an artist is a unique and very long process, so at the end of the day I am grateful for all the opportunities and lessons I’ve had…
You’ve clearly worked with a wide range of models, what tips can you recommend to people looking to expand their portfolio?
I am used to work with unprofessional models, so I always give very precise directions. It may sound very banal, but your model has to trust you to be able to give the best of herself. She has to feel that whatever she does, she won’t be judged as ridiculous, you have to make her stop trying to be pretty; otherwise, the images will look fake.
Describe a typical shoot.
Most of the time (when it’s not a commercial shoot) there are only I and the model. I always prepare the styling by myself and most of the time I do the makeup too. Normally, half a 2-3 hours is enough to shoot a story for me, as I don’t like to waste a minute on the set.
How much time do you spend taking photos, versus retouching photos?
Culling and retouching take a few times more time that the shoot itself!
A glass and a straw! Makes the model look so classy and ads some graphic lines to the composition
Who would you like to work with most?
Young Kate Moss… Or Lara Stone.
Favorite photography book?
Irving Penn Beyond Beauty
To know more about Elena, please visit: Elena Iv Skaya