Photographer Tatiana Kurnosova studied Japanese Languages in Tokyo but fell in love with photographing the city instead. Since then, her photography journey has set off and now she can’t think of doing something else than fashion photography anymore. We had a chat about her background, main sources of inspiration and about telling stories with pictures.
Cover photo: © Tatiana Kurnosova
Photographer Tatiana Kurnosova
Photographer Tatiana Kurnosova is a busy bee. When she moved to Tokyo to study Japanese, she immediately found her calling of which she couldn’t get enough: photographing the city, its architecture and inhabitants.
The city’s magic and photogenic surroundings triggered what had already been inside her for years: a fascination with art and fashion. Since a young age, she tells us, she’s had a big interest in drawing, painting and constantly learning more about art. Her youth, Japan and even Asian cinema were main sources of inspiration: “During my high school years I’ve discovered for myself Asian cinema and immediately fell in love with it. My interest in art and Asian culture has mixed up and grown into something really special and inspiring.” It doesn’t come as a surprise, though, that she chose to move to Tokyo – a city that intrigued here deeply: “Everything around me seemed so magical and unique that I’ve always took my camera with me and tried to capture every moment of my time in Japan: people, streets, architectural details, simply everything.”
Love for aesthetics
As the photographer originates at Russia, she moved back to finish her studies at the local university. However: “I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else rather than fashion photography. I’ve always admired unique beauty of people and loved drawing portraits, so I guess my love to fashion and art has organically grown into photography business.” Therefore, she made another life-changing choice: moving to Milan to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion photographer. The rest is history.
Kurnosova is clear and resolutely about her work. She acknowledges the fact that it often has to be commercial. After all, products have to be sold. “Fashion photography is always about selling the product and although I would love my photos being really conceptual and meaningful, it’s not always happens, especially when I work with the client and have a very strict briefing.” She continues: “But I always try to tell the story with my pictures and make them a bit more personal when it’s possible. I want the viewers to feel that it’s not only my job, but also my love. Every photo is different, but still I try to keep a part of me in them.”
“I want the viewers to feel that it’s not only my job, but also my love.”
Kurnosova isn’t afraid to be proud – and of course she wouldn’t have a reason to be afraid. Her work contains a healthy mix between a sense of conceptuality and more commercial images. “I think I’m most proud of my recent beauty campaign for AnteAGE MD. It’s a California-based brand producing anti-aging products through sound evidence-based technologies. We created a series of photos showing natural beauty regardless of age and nationality. I love working with brands that I admire and respect, it’s really important for me. For example, AnteAGE products are always 100% cruelty, cell, paraben, and pathogen free and as a woman it is what I’m looking for in any product I use.”
“I love working with brands that I admire and respect, it’s really important to me.”
“The other project that I’m extremely proud of and have to mention is my book called “All you need to know about model test shoots. The Ultimate guide for fashion models, fashion photographers & Aspiring stylists”. This book is a collection of my knowledge, my experience as fashion photographer who has been working in this industry for years and I want to help everyone to know more about this business through the topic of model tests. And I personally really love model test shoot and am an expert in it.”
Learning from her own mistakes
When asking about working in the fashion industry, Kurnosova immediately adds “it’s a tough and very competitive business.” Wondering why? According to this photographer, because most creative people are very emotive and work from that perspective. This often leads to impulsive choices and situations affected by someone’s mood. Laughing: “I am not an exception.” She explains: “When I was just starting it was really hard for me and I had this “All or nothing” mindset: you have to go all in, work nonstop if you want to achieve something. So, I often have sacrificed the time with my loved ones, my friends, and my free time for just doing work. And when you live in this nonstop rhythm for several years, there comes the time when something is going wrong, there’s some kind of as slip and everything fells apart and you just burn out.”
“Don’t let go of your projects because you think you’re not good enough or think you’ll make mistakes. This experience will only give you one more opportunity to learn and to grow.”
However, these moments can be educational. “I’ve learned on my own mistakes and now I have a work schedule and I do force myself having days off although it is still extremely hard for me. I take care of myself more and enjoy time with my friends, spa and just every simple gesture of self care. We all should. I believe this balance is the key to staying motivated and inspired.”
Over the past years she’s learned a lot. “I have a favorite ever phrase which is very popular but still so true: done is better than perfect. So, don’t let go of your projects because you think you’re not good enough or think you’ll make mistakes. This experience will only give you one more opportunity to learn and to grow.”
Check out some of Kurnosova’s best work below.
Also read: Interview: photographer 4UNG (Alex Cheung) on capturing authentic moments