Written by Deianira Tolema
Ekaterina Belinskaya, the renowned photographer, mixes fashion, contemporary art and fairytales. After traveling the planet, working for some of the top brands in the corporate world, Belinskaya has found a sort of inner peace. The evidence is in her continuing production of otherworldly visions where she unleashes her natural talents: her in-depth knowledge of theatre, scenography, cinema, lighting, costume design, architecture and, of course, the history of fashion. Her current work is a timely coronation of her unique vision.
Deianira Tolema: You are an internationally recognized photographer. You have been published by the top publications in the world, including: Paper Magazine, L’Official, Elle, Rogue, Basic, Forbes, and Virtuogenix. How did you go from engineering to Visual Arts?
Ekaterina Beliskaya: My work has been published as editorials and covers. I think I was always an artist. When the time came to pick a university I didn’t know that art could be a career. I’m not from a family with connections in the industry. The time and place I grew-up influenced me in this way. For me it was like I wanted to be a spaceman. I always was an artist, and I explored many ways with art before I discovered photography. I used to paint, sculpt and create dresses for my dolls. You don’t choose to be an artist, art chooses you.
DT: Have you abandoned your interest in the field of ecology? Has the subject been incorporated into your work?
EB: The university never was a passion for me. I graduated more for my parents – to show them that I tried to have a normal life. I liked chemistry, but not enough to make it my the whole life.
I respect ecology and dream of creating an eco-art project one day. I don’t regret the years I spent with it. My education taught me to think logically, more down to earth. Which is amazingly helpful. Like many artists I’m a dreamer, but in the industry you need to be realistic, sometimes.
DT: On your official page, your photographs are described as, “dark fairy tales.” Can you explain what that means in relation to your research and imagery?
EB: I’m a dreamer and a fairytale-maker for sure. But with a bitterness and darkness. I call it darkness, but it is not about cruelty, or bad things. It is more about melancholy, about colors which make you think deeper and feel deeper. My work is not about happiness, it is about feelings that are hidden.
DT: What has influenced your work, other photographers and painters? How do you build one of your compositions from scratch?
EB: I spent a lot of hours/days in museums during my childhood, and I still love to visit museums when I travel. Masterpieces of the Renaissance era made me understand lighting. I educated myself with art. My composition is about my inner feelings of harmony, the same with the colors I create. Sometimes I get ideas in a flash of pictures in my head, sometimes, from dreams. And sometimes I build them from a small idea, from one word to a sentence.
DT: Creating one of your photographs requires knowledge of both scenography and advertising – among the other things. How did you figure out how to produce images that resonate and influence the perception of viewers in every corner of the globe?
EB: Thank you! It all comes with experience. I didn’t know how to build the frame right, and I am still learning with every shoot. The day when we stop learning is the day of death..
DT: What do you think about the commodification of art, and how does your work fit in the complexity of this mechanism?
EB: Great question, but I’m not sure how to answer it. Like many artists, I’m not a great seller. We all need help to understand our value in the material world.
DT: What are the most meaningful artworks that you’ve made so far? What were they meant for, and what have they been used for?
EB: My OBSCURA portraits. It is my thought and feeling about what it means for me to be an artist. It is one of the my simplest works – a B/W series of portraits of a girl whose body lives in symbiosis with a gear. It is almost my self portrait, where I’m not a model. It is about humility and acceptance.
DT: The first thing that comes to mind when looking at your work is, of course, fashion. How did you get acquainted with this world?
EB: I don’t think fashion is the world that comes to mind. I hope the feeling comes first. My work is not about fashion it is about feelings. Fashion photography is one way to create stories with fashion. Not stories about fashion.
DT: In your portraits, women are depicted as both fragile and strong, brilliant, confident, mysterious, and definitely intriguing. There is also a narcissistic aspect to them that we may want to analyze under a psychological/sociological light. How do your subjects relate to trends in contemporary art, feminism, and activist in general? What kind of message have you been trying to share with your growing audience?
EB: My purpose is to give beauty to the world. Our real world is sometimes too dark. I can’t watch or read the news. It is killing. I can’t believe in how cruel and stupid the world can be. Many portraits are about feelings of love, hope and strength. I hope that my work gives inspiration to others – to create their own worlds. I’m sharing mine. Art is reflection of the artist. For me it is not about trends! It is always about mental expression.
DT: How has your work evolved visually and conceptually? Where can we see your work in person in 2019?
EB: I started to use brighter colors. Maybe it is a sign that my depression is not that deep anymore. And I stopped being afraid that there is something wrong with my creations.
I don’t plan to exhibit this year. Maybe next year – along with a book.