shards of the sun

photographer MAYA SHISHKINA


I am a Russian born and Singapore based visual artist working in fashion and beauty photography.

How long have you been a photographer?
- I have been doing photography for 18 years now.

What pushed you on this path in the beginning?
- I was born and raised in Russia and I often visited Bolshoi theatre in Moscow in my childhood with my mother, I was deeply passionate in ballet, and I think it was there my first perceptions of the body lines and beauty was born.
I was mesmerised about storytelling, set, lighting design, make up and costumes.
Another big moment was when I met Gueorgui Pinkhassov personaly. He is a member of Magnum Photos.
That was a real game changer, because I suddenly understood that a photo can be made like the painter make a painting.

Have you always wanted to make art?
- I bought my first camera in 2001, when i was seventeen, and from that moment photography and visual art always have been my sole purpose in life.
Once I started shooting my photos, I knew I wanted to do photography full time.
I realize that photography is the visual language we can use to communicate with each other – even if we are from different countries and cultures.

Tell us about your favourite shoot.
- I never want to have to choose. I fall in love with them all for different reasons.

What inspires you?
- People in general and the diversity between them. Very often I am inspired by the model. I love unique features, like gap teeth, freckles, beauty marks, etc, and also ethnic diversity. So when I find a model who has a look that I am inspired by, I will build an idea, light and set up around them.
I am also inspired by paintings, fairytales, art and cinema. I especially like Julia Margaret Cameron, Diane Arbus, Michelangelo Antonioni, and so many others...

How would you characterize your style?
- I like to highlight feminine part of my models, but at the same time its alwayse a visual dialogue about beauty and body perceptions, which does not vary only with culture, but also by the personal story of everyone.

What advice would you give to a beginning photographer?
- At the very beginning of the career, in my opinion, the most important thing is to find the right collaborators and try as many different things as possible. I am talking about both teams and ideas.
Try not to think about what other people want you to do. Be passionate, inspired, and always believe that you are worth those feelings.

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