Fotografia

Kristina Varaksina: “All Artists Have the Power of Influencing People”

London-based photographer Kristina Varaksina is out to challenge the ideas of what beauty means in her latest project

Award-winning photographer Kristina Varaksina creates concept photography, often with powerful stories behind them. While she’s worked with the BBC, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Telegraph, in this Domestika Creatives, we follow her on a much more personal project.

Inspired by her own experiences of growing up in Russia during a time of political and economic restructuring, women’s beauty became a commodity. Her upbringing, along with the world she finds herself in now professionally, often shooting for commercial bookings—in an industry whose beauty standards have been discussed and challenged in recent years—have led Kristina to explore what beauty is in her personal project, The Essence of Beauty.

Exploring self-perception and self-discovery

Kristina says she wanted to, “Explore the psyche of women and the issues of self-perception and self-discovery” in this project. By selecting subjects who challenged the ideas of what "beauty" is, she has created a project full of women empowered not only by how they look, but the experiences within their stories that have shaped them.

Sometimes these women are found through the traditional casting agency route, but as her project grows, so too do the number of willing models who want to represent their beauty in front of Kristina’s lens, and they’re found through more organic routes.

Jas, the subject of her shoot in this Domestika Creatives video is just nineteen years old, but an advocate and campaigner for the beauty industry to represent everyone. She says working with Kristina on this project appealed to her because she, “wants people to know that they don’t have to hide how they are because of what other people think… They’re beautiful the way they are.”

Nineteen-year-old Jas is an advocate and campaigner for the beauty industry to represent everyone.
Nineteen-year-old Jas is an advocate and campaigner for the beauty industry to represent everyone.

A personal, intimate project

The Essence of Beauty is a passion project for Kristina. She explains that being able to juggle a side project on top of paid commercial work relies heavily on a small but dependable team of people around her, “who can help [her] manage an atmosphere on set"—one of whom is Laura, the makeup artist for The Essence of Beauty.

As Laura says, “Probably one of the reasons Kristina works with me is that I don’t fancy a lot of makeup,” which is an important point for Kristina, who wants to emphasize her models’ natural features.

Preliminary sketches drawn up to share with Kristina's makeup artist and model.
Preliminary sketches drawn up to share with Kristina's makeup artist and model.

Kristina carefully plans out all of her shots before she begins. By creating preliminary sketches, she’s able to work with both her makeup artist and models to share the looks she’s going for.

Minimal make up is used in order to capture the model's true essence.
Minimal make up is used in order to capture the model's true essence.

As well as using minimal makeup on the models, Kristina explains, “seeing how I can translate the character with light is a big part.”

Lighting is an important factor in Kristina's conceptual shoots.
Lighting is an important factor in Kristina's conceptual shoots.

The shoots themselves are personal and intimate. By opting to shoot from her home studio rather than to rent out larger, commercial spaces, Kristina can create a comfortable atmosphere for her models, to help them feel more relaxed in front of the camera.

Kristina's Essence of Beauty shoots are small, in order to keep a comfortable atmosphere for her models.
Kristina's Essence of Beauty shoots are small, in order to keep a comfortable atmosphere for her models.

Sharing an important message

Kristina’s Essence of Beauty project is ongoing, but she plans to exhibit the project when it’s complete. For her, it’s important to have personal side projects along with her commercial work, and there seems to be an overwhelming responsibility that she feels as an artist to create work that provokes thought and influences those that see it.

As Kristina says, “Any visual artist always looks for ways of expressing themselves… All artists have the power of influencing people and delivering messages on an emotional level, rather than a logical level.”

Final image of Jas, from "The Essence of Beauty", by Kristina Varaksina.
Final image of Jas, from "The Essence of Beauty", by Kristina Varaksina.

Did you enjoy this video? If you’d like to learn more about how to create striking conceptual photography, like Kristina, check out her online course Introduction to Conceptual Portrait Photography.

You may also like these creative profiles:

- Domestika Creatives: Dave Buonaguidi
- Domestika Creatives: Loo Nascimento
- Domestika Creatives: Paula Bonet

Corsi consigliati

Creazione ed editing di contenuto per Instagram Stories. Un corso di Marketing, Business, Fotografia e Video di Mina Barrio

Creazione ed editing di contenuto per Instagram Stories

Un corso di Mina Barrio

Scopri i segreti della fotografia e del video per trionfare su Instagram

  • 242238
  • 98% (6.1K)
72% di sconto
Prezzo iniziale $24.90CAD
Acquista $6.99CAD
Fotografia professionale per Instagram. Un corso di Fotografia, Video, Marketing e Business di Mina Barrio

Fotografia professionale per Instagram

Un corso di Mina Barrio

Impara tutti i trucchi per fare e ritoccare fotografie per i social network con il tuo telefono

  • 261991
  • 99% (11K)
72% di sconto
Prezzo iniziale $24.90CAD
Acquista $6.99CAD
Introduzione ad Adobe Photoshop. Un corso di Design, Fotografia e Video di Carles Marsal
Domestika Basics · 5 corsi

Introduzione ad Adobe Photoshop

Un corso di Carles Marsal

Impara Adobe Photoshop da zero e domina il miglior software di trattamento, ritocco e creazione di immagini digitali del mercato

  • 361097
  • 100% (9.9K)
67% di sconto
Prezzo iniziale $35.90CAD
Acquista $11.99CAD
1 commento