In Bed With Valentina n°14: Anna Lazareva

Another wonderful journey through bodies with the magic of Anna Lazareva. Let’s read about her!

How long have you been a photographer and what’s your first memory about taking photos?

I started to be in photography about 15 years ago. At that time I used to model and participated in shootings. But quite quickly I got bored with modelling and was becoming more and more curious to stand on the other side of the camera. So slowly, but certainly I started my own way in the big universe of photography.

You are a visual artist both in Art and Fashion photography. Bodies, of course, are the main subjects in these two styles and require different paradigmas, what’s the best for you to concept, that lets you be at the peak of creativity (if any)?

I agree that Fashion and Art photography often have different goals and require different approaches. But I have principles in my photography and always keep in focus my own style. It’s very important for an artist both to keep his/her unique style and progress in it the same time. When I shoot women I avoid sexualizing them and even photographing naked body there’ll be no sexual vision in the image, but sensual and sophisticated.

What’s your creative process and how did it changes through time?

Usually before shooting I have in my mind images I want to achieve. To keep my creativity on a high level I need to learn new things, train my eye by reading about art, watch good movies and stay in a positive state of mind.

Let’s talk about the project “Metaphysical Body Landscapes” (a title that really intrigues me a lot), why “metaphysical”? What’s the metaphysics in the bodies we see?

In my project “Metaphysical Body Landscapes” there’s a connection between the human and the landscape. The term metaphysical here represents what can’t be seen and understood at first sight, what is beyond the first impression, what is hidden in the fantasy of the viewer. It’s in our imagination. I shoot bodies with the idea of going beyond reality and allowing myself to connect them to the landscapes scenes that stay in my memory since I was a child.

On your website we read it all started during your childhood. Tell us more.

As a child I was spending every summer at my grandparent’s house in Romania, it was quite common at that time to send children for all the summer to the village, so that they can live a simple life. Grandparents had a beautiful house in the village surrounded by Carpatian mountains. Though life in the village was intense, my grandmother would always find time to take me and the rest of her small grandchildren for long walks into the hills. We would stop along the way, taking breaks throughout our journey. As my grandmother worked in a hospital, she would tell me that some particular edge of a mountain looked like a woman’s neck and I would see it too. That way I learned to view the world with a wider angle, having in mind the versatility of an object. So my grandmother influenced me in a certain way and inspired me to look far beyond the simple things and be grateful for all the good I get in life.

So yeah, those curves of the body are actually landscapes, looking at your work brings us on a journey: where we’re going, in time and space?

Yes, the curves of the body are actually landscapes. But those landscapes are out of space and time, they are under the night sky for millions of years. These photographs show both immortality and fragility. Hundreds of years pass by, but these shapes remain the same. And very slowly they transform into another shape of body. And this process is never-ending.

Who’s posing for these pictures?

Many models posed for this series, both women and men. During the shootings I realized that the concepts of the series best suited young women with pale skin. The female body symbolizes fragility and at the same time the strength of nature. I was searching for thin models with an exact body type. Specific angles also helped in reinforcing an angularity I sought.

I’m in love with this black and white with such high contrasts, it seems to draw lights out of a night. How do you work to obtain these effects?

Thank you for nice words! I saw my body of work in monochrome as it represents eternity and the imperishability of landscapes. 
It wasn’t easy to reach the contrast I wanted, while retaining all the details and texture of the skin. I experimented with different light schemes, with different lenses and post-processing techniques. Finally I managed to create light schemes to reach the goals I wished. The key I found in practicing Harcourt classic photography and from my own experiments with lights schemes.

What’s the most powerful photo of this serie, to you? And why?

For me all these photographs are loved ones, they are different, but have a place in my heart. With each one there’s an interesting story of its creation behind. And I wish one day my landscapes find a home in people’s houses.

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