Kateryna Chulkova: It was a bit scary for me, big responsibility, as a new photographer
Kateryna, can you please briefly introduce yourself. How your interest in the fashion industry has sparked?
My name is Katherine Chulkova. I am Ukrainian photographer based in Kiev. I started my career in 2009, it happened without a further goal to become a photographer.
Before this, I almost didn’t hold the big professional camera in my arms. My target at the start was to make travel pictures during my travels. Afterward, during my first travel abroad with my first professional camera, I realized that becoming addicted to photography, that I am enjoying the process, and even imagined myself as a travel magazine photographer and played this role during all my vocation. I liked to make both pics of landscapes and simple people in process of their work.
On my way back home after my traveling, my friends decided to organize fun shooting in gangsta style. That was also fun, for us and I shared the final result on the Russian social network. Soon people got interested in my works and started asking me to take pics of them. It was a bit scary for me, big responsibility, as a new photographer I didn’t know much about photography techniques, lightening. Just vision. For the first few years, I was looking for my personal style and in which field of photography to develop myself and work.
Frankly speaking, was never following new fashion tendencies before, I was never buying magazines etc until I met interesting young Ukrainian designers who liked my those days style and attitude and proposed to work together. I always was keen more on art photography, for my first photography years my icon of photography was Tim Walker. I loved his fairy tales and it beautifully was connected to the world of fashion. And I tried to invent my first photoshoots, to become a designer and decorator for them.
We admire the exquisite level of detail in all your works. Does your creative process start from a certain image in your mind, or do you seek inspiration as you progress?
If to talk about this photoshoot, I called it Sea Extravaganza, first I was inspired by the location. It is located not far from Ukrainian city of sun and clubbing, Odessa, at the seaside of Black sea. I have never been there before, but since saw pictures of that location online I told myself I must do shooting there. Called to few Ukrainian designers, asked for some clothes from them.
Organized car transfer, took one model from Kiev and another one, Karina, from Odessa. I never saw Karina before but I was magnetized by her beauty and red hair and was happy she agreed to participate in. Before making any shooting I do a mood board, I know already in my mind the approximate posing, and mood of this shooting.
How has photography influenced you as a person and what do you love most about being a photographer?
I love photography. I think it was challenging to become a photographer without any serious background. I can bravely say that becoming a photographer is my destiny. It's not only to take pics and find nice perspective for me I like to feel myself as art director, producer of my photoshoots. I like to feel how my mind creates snd invents. And of course, I love adventures.
How important is it to be knowledgeable about fashion and the latest trends to be successful as a fashion photographer?
I think on one hand it’s quite important to be knowledgeable about the latest trends in the fashion world. To be always in trend need to be always in a stream. But from another hand, I think having good vision and good taste also plays a good role. Fashion usually dictates smth new, interesting, and creative on my mind. Art and fashion go very close to each other.
How do you feel about digital manipulation and post processing programs? Are they important to your photography?
Since I do digital photography all these programs like Lightroom or Photoshop are very important in editing digital pics. I am not a big expert on high-end retouch but all my pics I do and edit by myself. I am watching time for a time some new lessons and tutorials of editing just to be acknowledged with this. Especially it can help in editing beauty photography.
Could you please share the secret to capture a great photo?
I don’t know if either it exists... just to love what you do, not be lazy to know smth new about photography. Light plays a big role in any good picture, to try to play and experiment with lightening. Accident pictures are often better than any good posed picture.
How long does a shoot day typically last and what is the preparation like?
Usually, I prepare beforehand for any photoshoot. I like when everything is in its place. I like everything well organized. Good organization- pledge of success of photoshoot. Sometimes it happens that smth goes wrong, so here I switch my creativity, trying to react very fast.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photographic art in vogue?
Time for the time I do my personal photo project which I am thinking to show on my own exhibition in future. This always keeps me motivated. And of course, I am trying to do photoshoots for magazines time for time, to be always in touch with designers, people who create all this beauty. Print in some nice magazine always keeps me motivated and raises my self-esteem.
Who is the person that inspires you the most and why?What will be the suggestions to new photographers?
As I already mentioned before at the start of my photography career( about 10 years ago) Tim Walker was inspiring me the most. Since 2011 I do my best to go to Paris each year on Photo Paris. There are many galleries in one place, a lot of new and old photographers are exposed there. I love watching them snd to find out some new ideas for my work and my personal artwork. This expires me a lot. When I was a very fresh photographer I was watching a lot of Vogue magazines, a lot of shootings, a lot of art and photo books. From each of my travel, I was bringing with me dome new photobook of different photographers from different times I liked.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and what are your hopes/dreams for the future?
I was lucky to be involved in one movie: Hands of stone with Robert de Niro in the cast. I kindly and with love remember few years of my life in Paris. This period of time positively influenced my photography career. My hopes are connected with holding exhibitions with my works, to be published as other famous photographers. To have my own photobooks. And to dedicate my time to travels as more and possible and to be print as travel photographer too.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
You can find me on Instagram: @katherinechulkova and on Facebook on my own page: Photography by Katherine Chulkova. I have also Tumblr: katherinechulkova-blog.tumblr.com