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Learn From Experience: Inna Malinovaya

Inna Malinovaya is a stage photographer. She feels people very well and she knows how to manage emotions in the frame. She creates photographs using people, imagination and simple props. These skills allow her to have full-of-live portraits.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

To be honest, I do not have any specific rules in my photography work.
But I believe it is really important to know the theory: how the camera works, the theory of composition and how manipulate the light. In my opinion, rules are made to be broken but before broke them you have to know how it works.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

Especially for me the analogue camera and film pictures are very different from digital. You have only 24/36 attempts and you can not make mistakes. It makes you think more about each picture while thanks to the digital camera you can take an infinite number of shots and at least 1 will be successful. I don’t say it is bed. It just feels different.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

The internship with the professional photographer was the best experience for me.
I was doing my internship with Beowulf Sheehan in NYC and frankly speaking, these 4 month gave me much more than 4 years at the university. If you really want to become a professional you have to learn from professional and watch the process from inside. It is so important to see how to communicate and work with the client, how to build your network, how to organise everything yourself. Also, the feedback, critic and advice are priceless.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

Oh, my whole life the last two years is one continuous difficult situation. Sometimes you face the situation that you can not solve. You can not do anything. The solution to the problem does not depend on you and all you can do is get distracted and wait. But in order to distract yourself, you must find something that will help you to switch from the problem. The occupation / job that will absorb you and where you will grow and develop. For me photography has become such an occupation, and I can say with confidence that only thereby to my work and projects I managed to hold on and not give up.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

I always look for the “right” mood and atmosphere. As for portraits I don’t look for the idol, perfect body or the perfectly symmetrical face. I’m interested in characters, charisma and texture.
As for subject, landscape and architecture I mostly search for the vibe. I like to show and create the mood through my photograph and objects in it.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

I guess my main trick is simplicity. I don’t like to complicate pictures. If there is a person I want precisely focus on the character. I don’t use extra editing / props / equipment. When I need to balance the active background and the person on it, I prefer to choose the more dynamic model. Thus the viewer’s attention is drawn to the model and her personality, and the vivid background is just an addition.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I am the type of person who consider that equipment is not as important as the ability to use it. For instants, you may have the last and the most expensive camera and lenses but without knowledge and skills it will not bring you any result. vice versa, you may have the most ordinary camera or even an iPhone, but your skills and knowledge will allow you to achieve an amazing result.

As for me, I love Nikon and use 2 cameras: D600 for digital and F60 for analogue plus Tamron 24-27 and Nikkor 50mm 1.8. Both are oldie but goldie.

How do you relate to your customers? Do you choose them or do you let chance bring them to you?

My most important rule in working with clients is that the client should like my style and what I do. Without it it’s very difficult to reach a good result with which the client and I as a photographer will be satisfied. So it makes me incredibly happy when a client tells me “do whatever you think is right. I trust you and your vision”.

Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?

I don’t think so. I believe there is no perfect age for anything. It is never too late to start something new or change your life. You’re never too old or too young. If you feel it is right way for you just follow it.

What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?

In one hand, since my direction in photography is people, covid 19 made me experiment more with self-portrait and still life. Also, the lockdown gave me a lot of time for rethinking my ideas, plane shootings more precisely and structure my goals.
In other hand, for sure there are a few negative consequences I think we all faced. If you’re doing photography for living and this is your business – it was and still is tough. Much fewer clients, opportunities and resources.

Are there any books you would recommend?

The first one that came up to my mind was Still Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. This book fully reflects my point of view regarding the inspiration of other artist’s photographs and art in general. This is okay to got inspired by someone’s photograph and recreate the same idea with your own vision. Everything in this world was already created and invented.
For sure some classic ones: On Photography by Susan Sontag and Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes – you can either agree with the authors or not, but this is a classic that you need to know. The same principle as with the rules: you have to know them before breaking.

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

Recently I’ve understood one simple thing. No one can inspire you more than yourself.
Every time when I see the result of what I do – it makes me feel that I want more and if I want more I can archive it. The process of growing up in the field is a huge part of inspiration for me.
In addition, some artists are an inspiration for me. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe you’ve heard such a phrase as “place of power”? So, my place of power is the first row at the concerts of my favorite performers.

Inna Malinovaya

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