I firmly decided to become an artist when I was 6 years old ... But there was a long way from childhood fantasies to the profession of a photographer. Art school, art college, personal watercolor exhibition at the municipal museum. Then many years of a television career as a news anchor, journalist, author of my own television program, creator and project manager in the production of video advertising. Then there were 2 universities (the Faculty of Journalism and the University of Economics), a rapid career in business in the positions of top managers of large holdings of a national scale, directors of various firms. But creativity eventually won out and led to the opening of my own marketing and production agency. I took the camera in my hands by accident and for the first few years I hid from everyone that I was photographing. And the way to fashion photography seemed like a coincidence then. And now it seems like a lucky break.
Fashion Designer/Accessory Designer: Elen Godis @elen.godis Model/Creative Director/Photographer: Nataliya Nagorna @nagorna Model: Hanna Boyko @itshannaboyko @NovaStarsModels Fashion Designer: Bendus Karina @bendus_official Lighting artist/Photographer: Serhii Boiko @boy_kos Makeup Artist: Anzhelika Podhaiets @podgaets_makeup Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Ekaterina Furtaeva @ekaterina_furtaeva_
Nataliya, could you please briefly introduce yourself, and tell us about your first encounter with photography? Who has influenced you to start taking photographs?
Nataliya Nagorna. Director of "Nagorna agency" (marketing, photo and video production), professional artist, photographer, journalist, marketer. I graduated from art college and then 2 universities (Faculty of Journalism and University of Economics), I worked a lot in television journalism and advertising production. To be honest, I have 12 professions and they are all closely related to each other, woven by a biography. Therefore, I define myself more simply as "the author". As a person who loves to develop, create, make this world better, more beautiful.
For the first time (in the mid-80s) my father introduced me to photography. He has not been with us for a long time. But I still remember these photo lessons, reagents, jars with developers and fixers. For me, a small girl, it seemed very difficult technically. And instead of my father's camera, I chose a brush, pencil and art school.
Then many years passed. The first time I picked up a camera was in 2015, by accident. My daughter (now she is a professional model and you can see her here in the photo) decided to become a photographer. We bought a camera for her with the ability to use, among other things, for filming the content of social networks of restaurants. I tried photographing for social networks. I was so carried away by the shooting process that I could not let go of the camera ...
What is one last impression you want to leave in your photographs?
In photography, I prefer versatility, different tasks, and a creative approach. It will surprise you, but for me even management, organization of projects is also creativity. Each photo project I first come up with confidential, think over to the smallest detail, collect bit by bit. I really love taking pictures in nature, in a location where you can achieve the maximum transfer of atmosphere, lightness, air. I love fine art style, watercolor technique in photography. For me, the main thing in a photo project is to convey the idea, meaning, concept and use artistic methods for this. After viewing my photos, I want a person to feel the fleetingness, the true beauty of this world, to realize the value of the moment.
You've clearly worked with a wide range of models, what tips can you recommend to models looking to expand their portfolio?
I have worked and am working with models of different ages, different nationalities, races, experiences. The model should pose well (be able to show maximum poses in a short period of time according to the shooting concept). For me, in addition to external data, the acting abilities of the model are also important. Her ability to "enter" the image, the role, to look natural in front of the camera lens. I would recommend models to try themselves in different "roles", in different images, to feel where they can show their abilities to the maximum. And all this comes with experience. It sounds obvious, but not everyone understands it. Take more pictures, look and analyze each of your shots, ask the photographer why it turned out better here, and worse there. Constantly learn and develop!
What are the most important lessons you have learned about photography so far?
For me, photography is subject to the same laws as in academic art education. Everyone who has such an education will understand me. The laws of composition, color science, graphics, frame dynamics, drawing, correspondence of architectural details, tonality, psychology of color, texture, air work. Everything obeys a certain logic. And you can apply all these parameters in your work after ... 5 years of very intensive practice. I believe that the first years should not be limited to genres. I did a lot of food photo shoots, interior shootings, event photo shoots, portraits of children and adults, photographed models. And all of these make a valuable experience, step by step, day after day. Only after 5 years of very intensive practice do you finally master the technical issues, find your own processing style and move on to creativity. Learn every day, analyze, be strict with yourself, go ahead and everything will work out!
How long does a shoot day typically last and what is the preparation like?
I have the most common format for a conceptual fashion photo shoot - 4 hours. The model or models manage to change 4-8 looks and not get tired, as a photographer I need to be as collected and ready for creativity as I can, create on the set, invent, experiment. Photo sessions lasting for 8 hours are mostly for food photography with the participation of staff models and a chef, shooting the interior. Sometimes i got photoshoots lasting 12 hours. But it is very difficult physically. Or a catalog photo shoot may last 8 hours, but it is less creative work. Preparing for shoots is a separate topic. I am a maniac of my work, I always prepare thoroughly for photo them. And even so, on the set, I'm in a creative search, a process.
Are you the sort of photographer who plans for every minuscule detail or are you more spontaneous with your creations? Where do you find the majority of your inspiration?
Yes and no, all factors together. I prepare thoroughly for each photo session. Especially if it's a fashion campaign. It all starts with the idea of shooting. I discuss it with the clothing designer (the client). Then I propose the location, the selection of models, together with the designer we think over the images, with the make-up artist and the hairstylist - the visual part of the image. With the lighting and special effects designer - we solve his possibilities and limitations. I prepare detailed references, paint the storyboard of the photo session with text (what and how I want to shoot). And that doesn't stay on paper. Not only do I have to understand step by step what I want to do, but the whole team must know this, act in a coordinated manner, clearly, quickly. But it is impossible to foresee everything 100% in advance. The weather interferes with the situation and many other reasons. Therefore, opportunities for improvisation are essential. You need to act according to the situation, quickly and efficiently.
For inspiration, I look at the works of other very strong and experienced photographers, advertising photography projects on a global scale with large budgets (this gives them other technical possibilities). And also, the best and most modern movies. Cinema is another passion of mine that I may come to in the future.
You bring a very high production value to your work. What is your retouching/production philosophy? How important is Photoshop in your final images?
In my opinion, advertising is not only commercial, but also has a very high social value. It is more important than many people think. Advertising forms the worldview, the culture of people, and influences public opinion. I have been doing marketing communications (advertising is a part of them) for over 28 years and take advertising very seriously. Campaign is advertising, visualization of the designer's collection idea. It is very important for me to conduct a professional shooting and take into account the maximum factors on set. The less postproduction, the better. But I pay a lot of attention to color correction, frame composition, color psychology. I do post processing and retouching myself. I prefer retouching with preservation of texture, as natural as possible. For me, the more work is done on the set, the higher the professionalism of the photographer.
In your opinion, what is the difference between fashion and beauty photography? What's your favourite?
Difference in tasks. I like both. In fashion photography, the idea is to highlight the aesthetic qualities of clothes, design, fabric characteristics, comfort in wearing these clothes, and conditions of use. And in beauty photography, the emphasis is on the beauty of the model's face, hairstyle, jewelry. There is an opportunity to emphasize the inner world of a person, but to do it theatrically, not casually, artistically, but also effectively.
In your own eyes, what was the moment that your career took off?
There have been many highlights in my career. I held a personal watercolor exhibition in the municipal museum (1996), won the regional popularity rating "People's Recognition" as the best TV presenter (2003), and received an award from the Faculty of Journalism of the National University "Shark Pen" (2006). I opened my agency in 2015. But I have been doing photography for only 6 years (this is a short time, in my opinion) and all the major achievements in this area are still ahead of me.
Outside of photography, what else blows your mind?
I have experience in creating large corporate video films and promotional video projects as a director and project manager. I am into developing the direction of advertising video production. And, of course, I am drawn to work in marketing for the restaurant industry. Photography skills are essential here (as a food photographer, as a fashion photographer, and as an advertising photographer). My agency has been working with restaurants in the area of social media marketing for 6 years and I consider myself a good specialist in this area. I think that different spheres of activity do not limit us, but develop. The world is so beautiful and so diverse that there is no need to set limits and restrictions. Try, experiment, go new!
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
This year I managed to carry out the first international fashion photography project. In the future, I plan to do such projects in different countries. I will be glad to communicate in person, and on the pages of my website as well as social networks:
More of my work can be seen here: nagorna.com
Try new things, always go forward to creativity and development!