Some Velvet Morning

In the photo:  Jihoon Jo
 
 
 

Lena Pogrebnaya, through her deep desire to explore creativity and art, shifted her perspective to the sphere of photography. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Lena has moved to Turkey and currently enjoys the landscapes of Bodrum in Mugla Province. The background of a professional architect grew its roots and led to develop the visual aesthetics in photography that evolves from this experience.

Lena creates images in which a character is an element in the world designed by a human, a part of the whole that continues the atmosphere established by the buildings or the mood of the natural surroundings outside the city. Every work is a result of a thought process in which positioning of a person in the frame, the specific shape of the posture is carefully selected, at times including a sharp stare to the lense.

We speak with Lena about topics as a decision not to work with professional models, her best selling print, the Assimilation series shot in Tel-Aviv, and of course the preference in architecture as her main occupation.

 
 
 
Lena Pogrebnaya by WUL Magazine
Photography  Joanna Legid  Talents  Ebi ,  Steph    &  Romuald  Styling & Production  Anna Baur  MUA  Victoria Reuter  shot for the Radical Soft issue of  Blonde Magazine
 
 

LENA GRADUATED FROM ODESSA STATE ACADEMY OF CIVIL ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE AT 2011 AND DEVELOPED A GENUINE APPRECIATION TO BRUTALISM, MODERNISM AND THE ITALIAN ARCHITECTURE OF THE 20S, SYMMETRICAL, RESEMBLING THE ANCIENT ROME STYLE. HER SUBJECTS BECOME A PART OF NATURE OR ARCHITECTURE STRONGLY AND POWERFULLY TAKING OVER THE COMPOSITION WITH UNDENIED PRESENCE, THOUGH ALWAYS BEING IN COMPLETE HARMONY. LENA WORKED WITH CLIENTS LIKE MUSE, TINY, JEALOUSY, AND OTHERS.

 
 

‘WITHOUT ARCHITECTURE, I WOULDN’T BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER. IT AWOKE MY URGE TO ART’

Hi Lena, tell about your love and passion for photography? What makes it special for you?

Photography, to me, was always the easiest way to express my art. As an architect, I mostly obliged to satisfy clients' desires, and creative part is always cut to a minimum by the end of projects. But at the same time without architecture, I wouldn’t become a photographer. It awoke my urge to art, and due to architecture, I’ve learned all those things which I use in my photography from light to colors and location selection. Except for using interior and exterior architectural locations, I shoot nature as well, but even there you can find some silhouettes and compositions which can remind architectural shapes. Nature inspires people in design, and I’ve got it in reverse.

 
 
Lena Pogrebnaya by WUL Magazine
 

‘I RARELY USE A PROFESSIONAL MODEL, I PREFER ARTISTIC PEOPLE WHO ARE ABLE TO SENSE MY IDEA AND LIVE IT ON THE SITE’

 
 
 

How did studying architecture and environmental design find itself in the shoots, in terms of the vision you developed in photographing outdoors?  

The most challenging set for me was the campaign for Muse clothing brand in Rome. I had just one day for shooting, and I wanted to capture my favorite Mussolini era buildings which are 20 km away from each other and most of the roads were closed that day because of the marathon. Also, I rarely use a professional model, I prefer artistic people who are able to sense my idea and live it on the site, because standard poses make picture soulless and worthless. I took two girls from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, and it took pretty much time to awake them and explain what I need. But the result which I got, in the end, was good.

What is your best-selling print? What do you think makes it popular?

My best selling print is from my Salt photography series, and at the same time, it is my favorite from this shooting, what happens quite rarely. Usually, people give preference to photos which I like less. But this photo perhaps has a combination of both things which I like and others. It has very atmospheric light, interesting color palette, and composition, the blue tights coincide with a blue reflection on the water, and as I am guessing what attracts people the most is posture, because I caught her floating on this unbelievably salty water and her pose was completely natural and accidental.

This shooting was the quickest project realization which I’ve ever done. I came to Israel two weeks after that conversation, this country is the best choice to expose this topic because it represents assimilation in its purest state. The location selection is always easy for me because I love modernist architecture, and Israel is rich in these buildings. I chose the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. It is a whole scientific town with amazing architecture and atmosphere. The model Sophia was also chosen because of her life story. She is a Belorussian Jewish emigrant, who is currently living the topic of my story, strangling of leaving her old perspectives and still having a challenge with getting in touch with Israel.

 
 
 
Photography  Joanna Legid  Talents  Connie ,  Steph  &  Kokse  Styling & Production  Anna Baur  shot for  Refinery29 Germany
 
 
 

What were the main challenges for you when you decided to become a freelance photographer several years ago, and what are those today?  

I have no difficulty with freelance photography at all because I have my main job, which covers my life spendings. So I can afford to choose with whom I want to work and with whom not. I want photography to remain my stream of art. Otherwise, it can turn into routine and lose its soul if it becomes the only source of income.

 
 
 
Lena Pogrebnaya by WUL Magazine
 
 
Photography  Joanna Legid  Talents  Connie ,  Steph  &  Kokse  Styling & Production  Anna Baur  shot for  Refinery29 Germany
 
 
 

What was the most memorable vacation you had?

The most memorable and the only real vacation which I have ever had (because usually I work while traveling) was my trip with a friend to Tbilisi, Georgia 3 years ago. I fell in love with this beautiful country from first sight, it is absolutely unique, and it was my second visit to Georgia that year. I love the most how it develops and integrates with the modern world but at the same time remains its hot blood spirit and not only in a touristic way. Nature, architecture, food, their famous wine, language, how they live and express themselves are really incredible. The most memorable part of that visit was our one day trip to ancient monasteries around Tbilisi. Our guide was an Orthodox priest dressed black, the cousin of my friend, and he was driving the Mercedes among the beautiful mountains and listened to rap music.

Your recent work Assimilation shot in Tel-Aviv features modern buildings and exterior parts of design. Tell about scouting for locations and the decision to choose the specific places that will fit the desired aesthetics and the mood that is created with the model, the poses, and styling.

The idea of Assimilation series was born while I was discussing difficulties which you encounter after moving to another country with my friend who moved from my hometown to Tel Aviv 4 years ago. And this is a hot topic for me due to my moving to Turkey last year. The most discussable topic was assimilation, how much important it is if you want to live fully in a new culture but preserve yourself and roots as well. It is a pretty complicated task to find this balance, but you don’t have another option, otherwise, you lose all connections with your past and don’t gain new ones, stick in the middle and stop developing yourself which leads to very sad consequences as for me.

 
 
 
Photography  Joanna Legid  Talents  Dinah  Styling & Production  Anna Baur  MUA  Victoria Reuter  shot for the GIRLBOSS issue of  Blonde Magazine
Lena Pogrebnaya by WUL Magazine
 
Lena Pogrebnaya by WUL Magazine
 
 
 

What were the main challenges for you when you decided to become a freelance photographer several years ago, and what are those today?  

I have no difficulty with freelance photography at all because I have my main job, which covers my life spendings. So I can afford to choose with whom I want to work and with whom not. I want photography to remain my stream of art. Otherwise, it can turn into routine and lose its soul if it becomes the only source of income.

In your work, you use different color palettes, and you keep on exploring it. What is favorite color in interior design?

It is very difficult to choose one color. My taste changes with time. When I was 20, I used to love black color and brink in interior and was sure I won’t change my mind till the end of my life. Now I realize that surrounding changes you all the time. People, new places, art and etc. all these affect your life perspective, and you slowly turn into another person. After I moved from Ukraine to the Aegean, the coast of Turkey, I noticed that my taste for many things has changed, and now I prefer natural colors in the interior as white, straw and green represented by plants. And as it comes to my photography... I am still inclined to vivid colors such as blue, red, and yellow.

 
 
 
Lena Pogrebnaya by WUL Magazine
 
 
 

Who are the leading, most extravagant, groundbreaking photographers in Ukraine today you would suggest following? 

I really respect Ukrainian duo of photographers Synchrodogs. They have their own style and mood in photos and never betray it.

What’s next?

Currently, I am working on a new big photography series named All Vanishes and already have released a preview set from it. This series tells about the brevity of human life in our world, about the ability to leave a trace or just vanish without any affection, about the quality of these traces, are they for good or bad?

 
 
 
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