A World Wise Photographer from “Down Under” Captures Beauty From the Inside Out…
Featured Guest: Kira Likhterova, Award Winning Photographer
Location: Sydney, Australia
Special Focus: Capturing Beauty from the Inside Out…
Welcome to World Wise Beauty Kira. With no pun intended, you caught my eye with a video posted on LinkedIn of all places. Capturing beauty from the inside out is your specialty and World Wise Beauty’s mantra is to be “comfortable in your own skin”. Once I saw your video about your photography, personal philosophy and art, I knew I needed to share your work and your story with my readers! Being comfortable in your own skin is no easy task for most of us and you share this in your video from a personal perspective and via the female clients you feature. I will share your video later in post but first let’s have a chat and focus on how you apply your philosophy to your artistic photography.
Lauroly Q- We learn through watching your video that you really are a storyteller using the photography medium. It’s interesting you did many other things before you became a professional photographer and received industry awards. You were a late bloomer! When did it all “click” for you? What lead you to the camera?
So I changed to a photography course, and that is where I first held a camera. For me, the connection was instant. While not technically proficient; I could always use it to see and capture the things around me. I started with landscapes, because that was a way of taking a few days away and alone; capturing beauty as a form of release for me. I tried to sell my images at weekend fairs and markets; but that never worked. I had already photographed some people, including one of my sons; whose picture won a local district award. So I managed to convince a couple to allow me to photograph their wedding free, so I could build a portfolio. I loved that. The romance and emotion of the day coupled with seeking out and finding beautiful light to capture who they truly are on their special day. That led to another wedding, and another; before I knew it I was regularly photographing weddings and getting rave feedback. My brides would tell me I had delivered their “dream”, their “fairytale” for their wedding. I was also able to grab those moments, so often missed; of powerful emotions. That was great for my self-esteem! So I guess it was about that time it started to “click” for me; although I always felt I was somehow a fraud.
During this time, I joined the peak Australian professional body [AIPP] as a student member; and was encouraged to enter competitions. That first year, to my great surprise I won NSW Student Photographer of the Year. Feeling that was a fluke; never the less I was encouraged to enter the second year, but was warned that no student ever wins twice. I was so convinced; I did not even go to the award ceremony; only to be called to say I had won again. I did not believe it, thinking that somehow I had deceived the judges and they would eventually find out I am a fraud! So it was adversity that led me to the camera; as an escape. A way to find something that expresses “me”. Despite having won many awards; I still struggle with belief in myself and my ability.
Lauroly Q- You emotionally connect with your clients and help them to connect with their sense of self from the inside. But you also are an artist with a wonderful rich imagination. You see things that others don’t see. This to me is a sign of a true artist. How do you come up with the creative concepts for the women you work with?
So the concepts I find are actually those within the person themselves. Newly rediscovered and released in a way that is undeniable. That is why I make sure my subjects see at least one image in the back of the camera early on in the shoot. They realize this is no post-production Photoshop “trick”; as many believe. This is actually them; shining through. The concepts I have in my studio, the props, sets etc are merely ‘fantasy’ tools that most people would relate to at some level; and these get applied in a playful way to a lot of clients. Sometimes, the simplest prop or set is the best.
Lauroly Q- Some might say you are creating another “persona” for the woman—almost like a reinvention. But I would counter this with the idea that all of us are multi-dimensional and sometimes we go through our entire life almost typecast into one look and part. How do you feel about this and how would you address the idea of true natural beauty?
For her, this type of photo was a release; empowering her to break the mold her family and society was putting on her so she could be more comfortable in her own skin. If this were ‘simple’ Glamour or Boudoir, that would not happen, would it? This was not another ‘persona’ thrust upon her, was it? I can see that people would think this is ‘re-invention’ but in reality it is highly personal for the subject and ultimately comes from within. I simply take their hand and lead them to themselves. No two are ever the same, and thus can never be viewed as ‘formulaic’ where the subject is plunked into a set. That is what others do. That is not what I do. True natural beauty, is therefore inside us all.
Lauroly Q: Bravo Kira! I encourage everyone to read your personal profile on your website because it is so honest and so interesting! [Meet Kira] You were born in Moscow and then moved to Australia. Which culture shaped you and which one had the most influence on you as a woman? How did you become comfortable in your own skin and in touch with your own colorful dimensions?
Lauroly Closing: Thanks so much for stopping by Kira and sharing your worldly wisdom with us! May you continue your exceptional creative artistry in photography. Your greatest legacy just might be touching so many women’s lives with your gift for seeing the “whole” person inside… and out! We all want to be “seen” for who we really are and ultimately loved.
As promised, here is Kira’s story and video Blog entry Behind the Scenes where you can learn more about her authentic passion for capturing beauty from the inside…out.