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Meet Yana Kalina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yana Kalina.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Yana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in the Far East of Russia, in a small city named Komsomolsk – on – Amur. When I was 16, my mom gave me a present and bought me a simple digital camera. I was in love with it and had it everywhere with me – school walks in the park, nature. I took pics of everything around, but later I found my passion in portrait photography. I shot mostly friends in the beginning. Later I asked to pose for me random people I met on the street or subway. During that time, I tried to practice as much as I could. Also, I started to learn Photoshop with YouTube videos and some lessons I found on the internet.

After a while, I emailed some model agencies in Moscow and asked to shoot their models for collaboration. They said yes, and this is how I started to do model tests. I found this style very inspiring even though it may seem easy, but I love how you build the connection in a small amount of time with someone you just met and show their personality through the pics. I was practicing a lot, and it took me several years to get the result I wanted back then. When you do collaborations, you mostly do it for free, but you also take pictures of the models you like the most. One of those agencies saw my works, and they offered me to do paid test shoots for all other models. And that was a sign for me to keep going and do what I was doing.

Years later, in 2016, I moved to Bali, and it was a completely different turn in my life and also in my art. From studio and city vibes to the beaches and tropical vibes. Here came new clients and new goals. Now it was not only about portraits and personality. It was also about adding fashion to my art. Bali is the place where you’re surrounded by lots of creative people from all over the world. It’s was an amazing experience for me as a photographer. After a year spent in Bali, I wanted to upgrade my knowledge about photography, and I took a short course at the London College of Fashion, where I was introduced to film photography, and it was game-changing for me. The whole process is so different from digital photography. I found the London fashion scene very unique as well.

In 2019 I was traveling to the US for winter holidays and got to know some people from model agencies in LA. They saw my portfolio and offered me to work for them. I was just a tourist at the time, so I decided to apply for the O1 visa, and after some time, I was approved. My short trip turned out to be a whole different story, and this is how I got here.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think there’s no growth without bumps on the road. When I was facing some problems, I was trying to learn from it and get as much experience as possible. Photographers, like other artists, are not only creators. We also have to balance between art and business if we want to earn money by what we love to do the most. But we’re all humans beings, we all get our lessons from what we’re going through.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a photographer, I’ve tried myself in different styles, and my favorites are portrait and fashion photography. I really love 90s film photography by the quality of the pictures, colors, emotions, compositions. In my works, I try to mix it into nowadays fashion.

I think what sets me apart from others can answer the people who work with me 🙂

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Obviously, the beautiful light is one of the best things for me in LA. The only one thing I don’t like is huge distances.

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