French New Wave Translated into Fashion Photography
Anastasiya Lisitsyna is a fashion photographer based between Moscow and St. Petersburg, who is working in a worldwide scene. The photos are romantic, tender, soft, floating, cinematographic, slightly inspired by the French New Wave film movement. Anastasiya emphasizes the feeling that transcends the photograph to the viewer as the main principle of creating a strong work. Sensuality, aesthetics of the real, warm colors and playfulness of light shining on a model’s skin work in unison to create a masterful moment in time.
We speak with Anastasiya about the start of her career, the challenges a photographer faces while building presence in the fashion scene, her favorite cafe-bar, and the importance of light and catching the right feeling during the shoot.
Hi Anastasia, what led you to start photographing?
I was born in a small provincial town in Russia, where not only fashion photography didn’t exist, but there was no normal photo studio, no photography school, and I guess, it helped me a lot to form my own vision from my mistakes.
I got interested in photography at the age of 13, just took parents’ small camera and started to make some naive still-lifes – like a cup of coffee with brother’s cigarettes, you know...
Very soon I started to photograph my friends, and portrait photography became my favorite thing. I spent all my free time coming up with ideas and studying retouching. That time I was so free to create anything I wanted.
What technical elements you have studied the theory about in the State University of Cinema & TV you actually use in your shoots?
At the university, I worked a lot with cinema lighting, and it helps me now. I love constant light and how it looks on the skin, and I love the idea of seeing lighting effect with your eyes during the shooting. You can’t see it with pulsed light.
What are the challenges the young artist faces in developing his career in Moscow or in the Saint Petersburg?
Fashion photography is not an easy thing. You have to go a long way until you start to get commercials. Do not forget about huge demands on the level of retouching and image quality, do not forget about trends, but also about developing your personal style that will set you apart from a huge number of other photographers, do not also forget about promotion - clients somehow have to find out about you. And yes, after all this, I am still thankful to be a fashion photographer. The hardest thing for me now is to keep the balance of being commercially successful and staying true to my own aesthetics. But in the beginning, the main thing was that you couldn't get good offers without a worthy portfolio, but to make a worthy portfolio – you need money and a good team. That's why young artists often have to work part-time elsewhere, and it slows their development.
"French New Wave, as it really challenged my mind once. It felt so strange when I first saw “Breathless” by Jean Luc Godard — I even thought like I’m watching a corrupted version of the film. I have never encountered such framing before".
"When shooting I’m mostly focused on catching the feeling, and I select photos on the same principles — if the frame touches me, at first sight, I do not decompose it into light and composition".
What is your favorite place in the city of your residence? Where can one see you the most hanging out?
Oh, I have one favorite cafe-bar Bekitzer with Israeli kitchen and absolutely favorite photo studio – Studio 212, as I consider it one of the best studios in Russia.
Who are the most inspiring young artists today in Russia in your opinion? What makes them stand out?
I must admit that I do not follow so much. Sometimes I even feel myself like an outsider of the cultural community, because when people discuss new artists – designers, musicians, I do not know them...
Young Russian artists who inspire me now are – Albina Zueva (the designer of the brand MY812), Stanislav Kalashnikov (a photographer who is not doing any post-production) and Zalina Shokarova (an art director and stylist whom I mostly work with).
Describe the mood and the atmosphere you wanted to achieve in your very sensual, warm, magical shoot ‘Bibliothèque’?
Honestly, it's hard for me to describe shootings this way. I mean, I’m always doing detailed pre-production work, and we discuss a lot with a team, but afterward, I prefer everything to be told by the pictures. And I really think that people should decide themselves what this image is about – someone will see just a beautiful girl and it's fine! Others will feel something or recognize themselves in a model, and it's also amazing – not better, not worse.
What is your favorite cinematic epoche, genre and who are the most inspiring directors you learned from?
To name the direct epoche, I’d say French New Wave, as it really challenged my mind once. It felt so strange when I first saw “Breathless” by Jean Luc Godard – I even thought like I’m watching a corrupted version of the film. I have never encountered such framing before – very naive and even... wrong. Also, the actors were behaving so naturally and charmingly. And I’d like to integrate it into my photography.
Your works involve very soft colors, fabrics intertwined with delicate subjects’ movements. What is the main theme in your works and which elements help you achieve it?
I am very inspired by old movies and classics of fashion photography, and I think it affected my style. Also, I always liked film colors, and I was trying to imitate them by color correction and adding grain.
A feeling is the most important thing to me. I studied the rules of composition and light and I just believe that it is in my head now, so when shooting I’m mostly focused on catching the feeling, and I select photos on the same principles - if the frame touches me, at first sight, I do not decompose it into light and composition.
What are some of your goals for 2019?
I want to start my personal project with nude photography, but I can’t tell all the details now :)
What is important while working on set to create an image you know beforehand you want to be published without any retouching?
Pre-production phase is very important, you must do big research before the shooting. I am always thinking about light, background, color schemes.