We got an early glimpse of the neon night photography of Lomographer Yana Fedotova a.k.a. yanafedotova.I, but there's more to our multifaceted Lomographer when it comes to aesthetic. Let's get to know more about Yana's artistry in this interview.
Firstly, welcome to Lomography Magazine, Yana! How's your creative life so far in 2020?
Hi! Thanks for the invite. My creative life so far in 2020 a little bit changed. This year made the communicative side more difficult, it became more difficult to move and the time seemed to slow down. Since I traveled a lot before the pandemic and actually lived in two countries, I had more opportunities from a creative and cultural point of view. In addition to photography, I also completed my studies as a cinematographer and was going to leave to continue my studies in Rome, but the pandemic made adjustments and everything became delayed. But this situation helped me shoot more while in Ukraine and still brought some advantages to the development of my creative work.
When and how did you start with film photography?
Well, I almost completely switched to shoot on film in 2016, before that I shot digital for many years. I switched to film because I wanted to develop my skills, and film photography helped me a lot with this. Shooting on film is not only a great pleasure from the filming process but also a conscious approach to business, this is the miracle that you get as a result and digital photo can in no way replace this magic!
We are so intrigued by your LomoHome -- the range and versatility of styles, but all uniformly dynamic and clean are amazing to see. Can you tell us more about your style?
I really like to work in street style mode, even if this is a staged photo, I still like to shoot an object in a relaxed atmosphere without stress, using natural light. I also like to shoot at night with artificial illumination to walk around the city and look for any sources that I can be helped in creating the final result. But to be honest, every time, I try new things and develop my style and skills to be better.
We love that you use a lot of black and white, as well as color negative film simultaneously. When do you usually use black-and-white and color?
Thank you very much! I try not to set myself barriers in using various types of film. I love both color and b&w. Well, it all depends on the situation and on the idea. I shoot outdoors most of the time, and lighting plays a huge role in creating the final footage. When working with color film, sunlight plays an integral part, it helps to reveal its potentials. In the warm season, I try to use more color film to convey all the warmth and colors of the environment around me. I use black and white film more in less sunny times of the year, and I also use it to create drama in the frame to emphasize the character of the character. I really like to use black and white film in street photography and architecture, it better emphasizes the authenticity of the city and the geometry of the urban area.
If you don't mind sharing, what are your common tools of the trade? Any favorite camera and film stock that you swear by?
At the moment I’m shooting with two cameras, Minolta 9xi and Asahi Pentax Spotmatic using the Minolta AF 28-105 mm f3.5 and Takumar 55 mm f1.8 lenses. In my work I like to use a wide-angle, it helps to capture everything I need and add drama to the photo. As for the film, I love it completely different, from the budget Kodak ColorPlus 200, Kodak Gold 200, and up to Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Ektar 100. Portra, in my opinion, is the most versatile film, it is suitable for almost everything, although I myself use it less often because of its non-budgetary cost. I also really love Fuji Superia X-Tra 400, if you’re going on a trip where there is a lot of greenery, it is the best that you can take with you to capture all the greatness and beauty of the place. I really like to shoot at night and for that, cine-film Kodak Vision3 500t is the best option. If we talk about b&w film, then I will probably opt for two absolutely universal films ILFORD Delta 400 and ILFORD HP5 PLUS 400.
You try out a lot of aesthetic styles. When and how do you usually decide these are best for the photo?
Thank you! For me, one of the most important aspects of photography is light and working with it. It doesn't matter natural or artificial it's better to master the work with any source. If you know how to work with light, then you already have 50%. The rest is work with the composition and the choice of a character or location, it doesn’t matter if it is an artistic photograph or it’s a street photo, there should be an object or subject in the frame that will attract your attention. Street photography is the best thing that can do for improving your skill. Just grab your camera, go outside and shoot.
For you, what's that one single element in photography every photographer must be good at, regardless of the genre or subject?
Probably the most important is the vision, presentation and self-expression of the author through the work they present to the viewer. Therefore, every photographer should be able to work with himself, understand what they want to convey to the viewer, and experiment. All at the same time, learn something new, is the only way to move forward to get to know this world, thus, create something interesting.
What inspires you to take pictures?
I’m a huge cinemaholic, and the biggest inspiration for me is cinema. I am insanely inspired by the works of such directors: Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Igmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Wong Kar-wai, Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godar and others… Also my favorite cinematographers: Emmanuel Lubezki, Christopher Doyle, Roger Deakins, Vadim Usov, Robert Yeoman and John Alcott. In the creation of black and white pictures, noir film is very inspiring. The 1949 picture of the director Carol Reed and the cameraman Robert Krasker “The Third Man”. I am also very inspired by architecture, the city life that surrounds me, and street-documentary photography of the 20-21 century, some of the illustrative authors for me are: Elliott Erwitt, Vivian Maier, Regnar Axellson, Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry and others….
What are you up to these days?
These days I was shooting a new series of pictures, which I will soon be able to share with you.