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Meet Anastasia Antonova of Unblock Stas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anastasia Antonova.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Anastasia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
A photographer and filmmaker. I got started doing photography when I was a young girl, taking pictures of either natural spaces or friends in dresses in “model” poses. My subject matter hasn’t changed much, but hopefully it’s gotten more refined! I also wrote a lot when I was young but didn’t find it very fulfilling: the solitude of it. Mid-college, I found that filmmaking offered the storytelling nature of writing along with the collaborative aspect that I felt deprived of with writing. After college, I moved to LA and have worked mainly in portrait and docu-style photography and experimental, short-form film. Generally, I incorporate aspects of social politics into my personal work, particularly around topics of mental health and healing.

Right now, my main photography project is a series on water which will have a written component on self-love to go with it, and my on-going film project is a series called “Fashionably Political” which are satire beauty ads that each educate on a certain social-political topic packaged as a beauty product.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The struggles I find most challenging are creative blocks. It’s where my nickname comes from – unblock stas. I got it when I first read Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” and was first introduced to the concept of unblocking your creativity. My blocks usually come in questions of whether I really love doing what I do or if it serves any real purpose. All of them are usually tied to a fear of failure. Nowadays, exploring blocks have freed me up to continue to create or to tap into those vulnerabilities–like the fear of failure–and use them in my work. But somedays, I know I am going to make bad art and that’s fine too.

Another challenge is navigating the industry and understanding how to get to where you want to go. I reach out to people and read books as much as possible. Also the internet helps A LOT. If there is someone whose work or job I love, I try to see how they got there. However, patience is key. The “hustle harder” mentality doesn’t work well for me, so I instead practice allowing myself balance and celebrating accomplishments.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Unblock Stas – what should we know?
I work mainly in creative portrait and docu-style photography and experimental, short-form film. I am particularly interested in infusing social politics into my work, as in today’s media landscape, audiences are looking for work with a culturally conscious element in it. My main focus is mental health. I use photo and film as a form of activism for mental health.

Once I heard someone say that “It is important to stand for something rather than against something.” I love that. I stand for creating space for people in my images and videos to be seen because I know what it feels like to not be seen. It’s a universal feeling. My work is always entertaining and meaningful. I want the most people possible to be interested in it – that’s how you create a movement (or at least discussion) towards change on something important.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Perhaps allowing time to be creative. With this comes so many gifts: seeing priorities, practicing discipline (emphasis on practicing), flowing over forcing, learning from mistakes.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal photo: Bobbie Bunn

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