Contender: Kristina Varaksina
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Copyright © Kristina Varaksina
What's the story behind this portrait?
The idea behind this portrait is to show real women's feelings – especially strong in the 1950's – about their social roles. Not every woman was happy about just being a pretty thing, a good wife, or a house keeper. Years have passed, but some stereotypes about women, and expectations from them, haven't changed.
Why do you like to shoot portraits?
I like to shoot portraits because it makes me feel very satisfied when I can say something about a person that's not on the surface. When I have an important message that many people can relate to, I try to make all the details in the photo help tell that message. In some ways, I do portraits of social or cultural groups. When I approach somebody, I have a feeling that with their photo I can make a statement.
What do you think makes a great portrait?
To tell about a person's background, or to show their emotional state I use gestures, body postures, props where needed. Lighting and color, of course, help to show drama as well. I tell my sitters stories so that they can imagine themselves in a situation and get into its mood.
Whose portrait work do you especially admire or feel influenced by?
Irving Penn and Anton Corbijn are the two greatest portrait photographers to me.
Equipment used: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, 2 Profoto strobes with large and small softboxes.