Interview by:

New Norm Magazine



Hong Kong


My name is Sofya and I am a people and lifestyle photographer based in Russia, Moscow. 


My major is graphic design. I graduated from the Art Academy in Moscow. I’ve been connected with Art for my whole entire life. From an early age, I went to art school and it was the beginning of my interest in photography, taking pictures of my friends and family. Then there was a big break in photography: studying at the Academy, working as a graphic and web designer, passion for calligraphy, floristics and wedding organization. But I continued to take pictures on my phone of everything around me every day, it gave me great pleasure. Three years ago, I moved to live in China in the incredibly beautiful city of Hangzhou (near Shanghai), where I completely moved away from design and clearly realized that I really want to start professional photography and make it my main job. It is this long journey that has brought me to photography now.


In my photos, you will not see very fast dynamics or a lot of color in one frame, strong retouching and color correction, I try to convey through the frame that elusive moment of beauty all around. Very often in my frame you can see the setting sun, a shadow or a slightly noticeable silhouette of a person, all this creates a sense of the elusive for me. I like the ambiguity in the frame. I also try to capture a moment of life: it can be transmitted in touches, in the wind, the hero's thoughtfulness and his emotions. I try never to get into the state of the hero who came to me for shooting, not to force him to emotions and feelings that he does not feel now. This applies to both fake laughter and smiles, and fake sadness. For me, the moment of "now" and awareness is very important. Perhaps with this I want to introduce the reader to my work.


Embracing slower living

Where are you from / call home?

I was born in a small city near Moscow in Russia. All my family and friends live there now. But I can't say clearly that I live in Russia, because all the time I want to leave. 

What are some simple pleasures that you’ve rediscovered during the coronavirus pandemic?

The most important thing I have learned during this time is that nothing is more important than you and your inner state. No external atmosphere/interior/city/people will help if you can't be alone with yourself. And again I realized that at home you can cook delicious and it is not as difficult as it seemed before and a very interesting pastime.

How have you and your creative process changed?

I was able to reset myself, finished all my shots that I couldn't edit long ago. This is about my personal shooting, which I did for myself and kept putting off. I also started practicing web shooting. And it turned out to be very interesting and beautiful in its own way. For me, it is very difficult to communicate with a person on the Internet, whether it is a close friend of mine or a complete stranger to me, I prefer live communication. But this kind of shooting and quarantine brought me some new experience for myself.

What are some of the things that have changed in your country as a result of the pandemic? What is the new normal?

My country is still under quarantine. A lot of people are in a panic and fear. We just started going out on the streets and meeting all our friends . It is difficult to say anything, I try to watch the news less and walk the dog more. One thing is for sure, a lot of people in Russia are most worried about traveling.


Travel from home

What was your favourite destination and why?

At the moment, it is China. I can't say exactly what made me fall in love with China, but I feel at home there. I lived in this country for two years, and went there as soon as I graduated from the University. The first half of the year was very boring and not comfortable, but after a while I started to open up to this country and it gave me an understanding of myself, what I am now at the moment. It was the people who gave me my freedom and are not afraid of anything on their way. Living in another country gives you a certain extension of your personal borders and your subconscious. Everything is perfect in China, from ancient culture, calligraphy, tea drinking to modern high-rises, megapolis with a rhythm. I also fell in love with nature and the love for it among the locals. In Russia, too, there are many forests, fields and they are very beautiful, but they are not as protected as in China. But I haven't been to other Asian countries yet, my next dream is to go to Korea and Japan.

What are some of your most memorable moments during the trip?

Xihu lake in Hangzhou city. This is a huge area of the Park with a lake that is very difficult to get around all day, because it is incredibly huge. Every time I went there, I found new inverted places, paths for walking, plants. The lake itself, with its view of the hills, has an incredible power of calm and peace, which always reminded me :" there is no need to hurry anywhere, everything is most beautiful in the moment now." The lake is beautiful both in the morning and in the evening, and when there is fog or the setting sun. It is beautiful in any state. I also love Chinese calligraphy. This is a subtle sense of beauty and a kind of meditation. I advise everyone to try it.

What does travel give you that everyday life doesn’t?

Sense of the moment here and now. Inspiration every day from seeing new things. But the most important thing is the unique nature that grows in a particular country and of course the local people. People inspire me to take pictures. I even have a small project-portraits of people from different countries of the world, which is updated after each of my trips.

You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, where would you go?

I always go somewhere where I can be alone with nature. So I would go to the mountains or to the ocean. It would be ideal to go to a wild island or beach for 24 hours, probably it would be an island in the Philippines.