by Editor David Williams
I first noticed Olga Barantseva’s photography here on 1X when I saw a stunning picture that had just been published.
Of course the first thing I thought was 'is the bear real'. I got curious and looked through her published works and to my amazement I saw the best collection of animal/human collaboration photos I have ever seen. I got more curious and had to ask Olga if the animals were real or composites. “They are real of course” was the answer I got. I really wanted to interview Olga so she can share her stunning works and give us all some insight into her photography world.
Please introduce yourself to the readers, Olga. Who is the Lady behind the camera?
Thank you for your attention to my work. I am really pleased. I am a simple person who enjoys looking at beautiful pictures. One day I just started to create images by myself.
When did you start photography and what drew you to it?
The camera was always somewhere nearby since childhood. I started with a camera roll, then a Polaroid, but my first SLR appeared in 2007.
Is photography your full-time job, or do you do other work?
Photography is a full-time job. Photography is my life, that’s my main work.
Why do you choose animals and humans together in your work? Are you telling us a story or are you putting across a more meaningful message?
Because our world is initially so beautiful. All around us are living souls. People and animals are always next to each other. I bring them together in my work.
The burning question is how do you have these wonderful animals to photograph with models? Is it dangerous? Please tell us the story of how you have access to these animals.
These are special animals for filming in cinema and for photo shoots. I rent them. The main thing is that I always only work with reliable people who love and care for their pets. Such as Stepan the Bear. He lives with his owners since he was 3 months old and for 26 years now. I am not familiar with other bears, so I only take pictures with Stepan. Of course, these animals are not wild. Their trainers are always nearby.
Have you or your models ever been attacked by the animals?
The wolves almost lick you to death J… a joke. But they are very friendly animals, more than domestic dogs sometimes. Although they are cowards. They need time to get used to new people before they start to trust.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
To be honest, sometimes there are a lot of restrictions. It is not always possible to bring a certain animal to a specific place, but in any case, nature is too good to be upset from the location.
What is more important to you, the mood, /story behind your images or the technical perfection?
I want to strive for the frame content, stories with a mood like a good movie.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Love and harmony in the world, beauty, kindness and tenderness, the impossible is possible in a fairy tale reality.
Can you tell us something about your favourite photographers?
Most of all I love old photos. Retro portraits, life values that they show. Just look into their faces! Surely, classics photographers.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
FUJINON XF10-24mm F4
My bag is handmade, my friends gave it to me.
What software do you use to process your images?
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
Most often it is improvisation. I feel we adapt to the animals. For example, you cannot tell a bird to sit there, turn around, pretend you're flying, or just hug with your wing. Sometimes I feel that animals understand and know more than we do.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
This is a very difficult question. I am inspired by various creators, fortunately there are several and way to many to name them all.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
A photo called “a big friend” this is where a girl with a teddy bear is sitting on a cliff and she hugs him. We see them from the back. I was really looking forward to bringing this story to life. That day, all the way to the photo shoot, I imagined this frame only. I think this photo tells everything about my creativity.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I am very thankful for this opportunity. 1X is an excellent base; I really like the high quality content.
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