Kamilla Hanapova

Born in 1996, Russian photographer Kamilla Hanapova is based in St. Petersburg. Usually working with fashion/portrait photography, she also shoots architecture, which she finds to be more of a hobby.

Self-portrait, 2018
© Kamilla Hanapova

What do you try to achieve through your photographic work?
I always try to say something, to express myself, to show ordinary things from a new point of view so that people can view them differently and open up a new way of thinking. I don’t aspire to document reality, I want to create my own reality according to how I personally see it or how I would like reality to be.

How would you describe your photographic style?
Besides architecture photography, I do fashion and portrait photography. I also create handmade collages where I mix different styles and approaches. I’m always in search of new techniques and ways of processing images. I am not the type of photographer who hates photo processing and supports ‘pure’ images. This is not my way. I love to change, to connect various techniques, to print my photos, use them as a canvas and then scan them back into digital form. No limits.

I don’t aspire to document reality, I want to create my own reality according to how I personally see it or how I would like reality to be.

What inspires you/your work?
Most often I get inspiration from my experiences, but usually from those that are not my happiest ones. I’ve noticed that I’m the most productive when I am sad. Perhaps this is ironic, but in these moments, I need to express myself more than ever; photography is my best tool to do this, not words or any other form. In general, I find my inspiration in installations, sculptures, performances, land-art, and paintings; in modern fashion, movies, books, and music; in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology. From all of this diversity, I get an incredible dose of energy that fills me like nothing else.

What is your Masters series about?
My project, highly influenced by the genius artist James Turrell, is about light, space and color. It’s an investigation of how light builds space and how light changes space. Although I won the Masters title with black and white images, I decided to do this series in color; to me, light itself is not only about brightness and darkness, but also about different tones and tints. With a focus on composition, I made sure that all of the colors in the photographs were balanced, creating a complete picture that would trigger people’s imaginations.

How was your experience using a Hasselblad medium format camera for carrying out your project?
The Hasselblad camera made a big difference. Most pictures were taken in low-lit conditions. Despite the fact that I raised the ISO quite high, my pictures looked like the ISO was only about 100. I was always satisfied by the colors which were perfectly represented. I used the Hasselblad X1D with the XCD 45mm lens. This camera was really lightweight, which was important for me as I walked with it a lot and I never felt uncomfortable. Such an amazing and professional camera inspired me every time I used it!