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Interview: Photographer Siiri Kumari (Estonia)

Can you tell us a little about you?

Hello! I am a 25 year old photographer & art director from Tallinn, Estonia. I have been shooting for eight years.

How and when did you get into photography?

I was in the last year of high school and decided to pick up a new hobby. Already from the beginning I knew that I wanted to shoot people, so I completely skipped the cat photos, flower macros and sunset phases.

What does photography mean to you?

It is a way of relieving the soul from earthly burdens and showing a different world through the lens.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

My work could be best described as romantic and ethereal. Somewhat like a dark, half-forgotten fairytale.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I spend a lot of time in nature to try and listen how it speaks to me. Meditation also helps.

Think you in advance what you want in the picture?

Yes, me and my team always plan the shoot beforehand to make sure the final result is good.

Studio, on location or both?

About 90% on location and 10% in studio. I work fine with artificial lighting but nothing compares to the backgrounds nature can give you.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

For the past 3,5 years I have done nothing but shot people :)

What has been your most memorable session and why?

Perhaps the “Girl Made of Fire” - I saw this scene in a dream and tried to recreate it at one of my workshops. It has not been photoshopped at all. We were shooting at an old (very inflammable) mansion and there were no fire extinguishers, just an empty bucket that my pyrotechnics assistant used to kill the flames. Also the model was blindfolded so she had no idea how close the fire was - she dropped the burning papers only when we shouted at her. Thinking back of it, if I were to reshoot it, I would do it in a much safer way :)

What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?

The cosmos and the way it manifests everywhere, inside us all.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

Nikon and probably the 35mm is my favourite focal length.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Do not be afraid! I was rather late with my success because I didn’t believe in myself. Ask other photographers for help and mentoring, this is the best way of learning.

What do you think of our new magazine?

It’s really neat and visually appealing!

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