While trawling the world wide web, I came across the beautiful Alena Zhandarova’s work.
Beautiful as you see her in some of her pictures; beautiful as the magic world that she creates in them, that mimics the one I live in, if only in my head.
A 24 year old Russian artist, Alena has two series of photographs that have both received critical acclaim – Cornflower Tea and Concealing Chocolate which are self portraits, and The City of Brides where she has photographed eligible women from her home town of Ivanovo which is famous for its textiles, and has a high population of single women.
Here is Alena (who so kindly answered my questions about her inspiration), interspersed with images taken from her website.
On her degree in Economics –
I just did what I liked to do and in one moment the balance was outweighed, I found that with the time and power I have, I now want to devote to my art, my photography. But this does not change my humanitarian knowledge; it even helps me a lot and forms a secure base.
On her inspiration for The City of Brides –
Ivanovo is the city where I grew up and live. My country is very big and multifaceted, but a lot of the cities are as if they are all identical. I therefore like to ask the question – what unique feature does my city have? We have a legend in Russia, that in Ivanovo everyone can find a bride, because we are “the city of brides”. And this inspired me to create my own story, my own view of it.
On her favorite photograph –
All the photographs that you see on my website, have a special story behind them, and I enjoyed and enjoy all of them to the same degree. This is very important for me. I have a lot of material, where the visual part of the photograph is very clear and beautiful, but that’s it; nothing happened. If I don’t feel a story behind the image, why should I force other people to see it?
On Cornflower Tea and Concealing Chocolate –
This was actually my first series. The title was something I ordered in a bakery, and when I pronounced it something happened, a vibration. From that time on cornflower has become the series’ and my own talisman. During the process I searched for a place, where I could feel this vibration and could connect with it more deeply, and there I would put the camera on the tripod, and trust the moment and myself.’
On how she creates the magic and picks locations for her photographs –
I go where I feel a force and a sense that something will happen, something that will give me the answer I am searching for or the hint of it. And if this feeling is an honest one and since I trust the world and world trusts me, we create something very unexpected, unplanned and something truly magical.
On her new project Run Forest –
It’s about my own way to ‘self’, through different traditions, cultures, nature, people, situations. It’s about magic in everyday life, which everyone can create by living his their lives consciously and with gratitude to the world.
On her aspirations for 2013 –
I want to become wider, more spontaneous and more myself. To materialise my projects (exhibitions, live talks, exchange) and go as deep as I can. To complete and publish the ‘book’ with brides (I hope it will be ready in 2-3 months). To fall in love.
Thank you Alena. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2013.