Previsualizing Your Photography
Artist Interview with Polina Plotnikova
Polina Plotnikova with Lensbaby Edge 35
Q: When did you start taking photographs? Why did you continue?
A: I got my first ever camera when I was 14, fell in love with it and since then I've been treating it as my pencil - sketching things I see or imagine.
Q: Which is your favorite Lensbaby lens and why?
Polina Plotnikova with Lensbaby Velvet 56
Q: What tips do you have for beginners just learning how to use Lensbaby Gear?
A: Pre-visualise what you are trying to say with your image, shoot with your camera on a tripod, use zoom-in view to double check your focus, focus at narrow aperture then open it up to increase the effect.
Q: What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
A: Irving Penn and John Blackmore are my heroes when it comes to still life and flowers portraiture, two of my favourite photography subjects. I do my best to be as precise and meticulous when creating my own set ups.
Polina Plotnikova with Lensbaby OMNI Stretch Glass
Q: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer?
A: Not to compromise. Sometimes it's tempting to create a "pretty picture" that would appeal to everyone. I love taking pretty pictures, but based on my own visual definition.
Q: Do you have formal training as a photographer or are you self-taught? What was that journey like?
A: I work with photography all my professional life liaising with photographers, curating exhibitions, looking after commercial photography archives, but my own photography has always been just a hobby. Almost 15 years ago I was invited to run a few workshops. I've been teaching still life and flower photography since.
Polina Plotnikova with Lensbaby Sweet 50
Q: What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?
A: My own approach is to create an image in your head first and than work towards creating it in front of your camera. I am a studio worker and pre-visualising my pictures is the key for a successful result for me.
Q: What inspires you most?
A: I love being fully in charge of every single element in my picture, creating everything from a scratch as it were. If it's an outdoors shot I like researching the best time of the day, light conditions etc in order to be there on location at that precise moment and capture the mood and atmosphere. When shooting in the studio it's all about original idea, sourcing props, setting up my lights and starting effectively from a blank canvas.
Q: Tell us your favorite quote!
A: Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, it's not the end.
Q: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
A: Still Life and Flower Portraiture.
Polina Plotnikova with Lensbaby OMNI
Q: How would you describe your photography style?
A: It is somewhat eclectic, influenced by my favourite artists of the past.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
A: Expressing things visually, creating, not just capturing.
Q: How do you bring the best out of your models? What tips do you have?
A: Whatever my model is - a flower, an object, a doll - I try to uncover it's unique characteristics and create an image based on this uniqueness.