Photographer Q&A Series: Kate in St. Petersburg

Name: Kate
Location: St. Petersburg
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm f1.4 Canon, 24-105mm f4 Canon, various Soviet lenses

How long have you lived in your city?
For two years. Before that I lived in Prague for 11 years and in London for five years.

How did you come to be a photographer? Tell us a little about your background.
When I was a moody teenager in high school, I picked up the camera to deal with my "depression." I went to take photographs around the neighbourhood and was surprised at how many details I could notice through the viewfinder, which I otherwise wouldn't. Since then, I became the official family reporter, capturing all of our travels, birthdays and daily life. Later, I had an opportunity to do a postgraduate degree in photography at LCC, University of Arts London where I learned more about photography as a business, editing, different genres and much more. My professor, my family and friends helped me believe in myself and I finally got the guts to leave my office job and focus on my creative passion.

How would you describe your personal photography style?
I would say that less is more and a shot is successful if the emotions captured are genuine. I think it's important to embrace who you are rather than try to pretend to be someone else for the camera so I don't like to over edit and prefer to keep everything natural. My favorite genre is street photography because it is completely unpredictable and unposed, so I like to use the same principle in my portrait shoots. I think my style has more of a reportage/photojournalism feel.

Where do you find your creative inspiration?
Definitely from travelling! I love discovering new places, watching people go about their daily lives in different corners of the world. To see them do the same things, in such different ways. I think people are fascinating. For instance, the latest inspiration came when I met the Flytographer team at the Florence meetup. It's truly a unique group of creative and brave people and I feel so honoured to be a part of it.

What album is on repeat when you’re editing photos?
I usually put on a popular travel show on TV so it plays in the background.

What are you currently reading?
Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Birth of the Modern City by Jonathan Conlin.

Where is your favourite place to shoot in your city and why?
Peter and Paul Fortress because it just has this unique aura, perhaps because that's where the history of the city began when Peter the Great founded it in 1703.



What does a perfect day in your city look like?
A perfect day would start with a delicious breakfast and coffee in a café on the canals. Then, I would go for a walk around my favourite streets with my fiancé. We would go to an interesting exhibition at one of the museums or have a picnic in the park with our friends. In the evening, we would take a boat trip on the river to see the sunset and then have some cocktails at a rooftop bar.

Where are your favourite places in your city to get a coffee and or a cocktail?
My city has so many nice places and new ones open up all the time, so I always try something new. A few weeks ago, I discovered a micro cafe called Tchk. It's hidden in one of the typical yards of my favourite Petrogradsky district. They serve freshly made desserts and yummy coffee! Another great place is Zaymemsya kofe, which literally means "Let's do coffee." For cocktails, I'd go to Madbaren. Their cocktails are unique and always different because they're made using seasonal ingredients from local producers.

Where was the last trip that you took? Tell us a little bit about the experience.
In April, I went to Israel with my fiancé. We spent a day in Jerusalem with a guide taking us to all the holy places like the Hurva Synagogue, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. I was blown away with the Garden of Gethsemane where 2000-year-old olive trees are still growing! What?! We spent the rest of the week sunbathing and exploring Tel Aviv. The two cities are complete opposites and it was such an interesting contrast.

Most of all, I loved the food and the people. Everyone is extremely kind and open to talk to you or help you out. If you are planning a trip to Tel Aviv, I would recommend staying in one of the smaller boutique hotels in the city and avoid the beach line hotels - they are overpriced and the quality is not worth it. We stayed in Hotel Nordoy and it was one of the best experiences in my life. Also, don't be afraid to bargain, eat lots of hummus and avocado, and explore local jewellery shops - we found our wedding bands there!

If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would you live and why?
New York - hands down! It's my dream to move there one day.

What do you most enjoy about shooting for Flytographer?
The people, of course. I am always curious to ask the customers why they have chosen to come to Russia, what their experience has been like, and what they've enjoyed the most. It's so interesting to hear their story too; where they are from, where they work, etc. Also, it's a great opportunity to look at my home city as a tourist again and again. On the other hand, I love the sense of a family in the team. I think it's difficult to achieve that in a business, but Flytographer made it possible!