Originally from Moscow, Russia, Kristina Makeeva is a professional photographer who uses her photography -- above all -- to inspire. Though many of her photographs portray an almost otherworldly magical beauty, there is a bigger message that she wishes to convey: that beauty often lies in the simple, everyday, and ordinary things. In a world where there is so much going on (and going wrong), her photographs aim to be the shining light that remind us there is always beauty in the little pockets of our planet. Though her portfolio is incredibly varied (landscapes, wildlife, travel, fashion -- you-name-it), her attention to the marvel surrounding us in our natural environment is what caught our attention. We really think her photos speak for themselves, so, without further ado, we introduce you to Kristina and her world of wonder.
Your motto is "Today isn't just another day. Today I'll create something beautiful."
Do you ever get stuck with ideas? What inspires you?
No, I never get stuck with ideas, all the time I try to come up with something new, I master new methods. Travel has been my main source of inspiration in recent years. In fact, the idea can come completely unexpectedly. Most often, this is the baggage of experience, books read, films watched, paintings, listened to music, conversations, often other creative people, different people, ballerinas, artists, actors, brooch makers, even…inspiration -- everywhere.
Sometimes nature itself gives such a picture that you can't imagine on purpose.
Why did you want to join Photography for Future?
I understand the environmental problems of the surrounding world, I support the ideas of rational consumption. Therefore, it was natural for me to agree to your proposal. This is my small contribution to rectifying the harm that humans have done to our planet.
The landscapes in your photos are usually pristine and untouched, but have you ever seen effects of environmental damage when out photographing?
Of course, during my travels, I have often seen clear evidence of human damage to nature. These are mountains of garbage carried by the ocean to the beaches, and the constant smog over Asian mega-cities near huge industrial centers, and the rise in the level of the World Ocean, and the dying off of the corals of the Great Barrier Reef. You can easily see the consequences of a person's vital activity at every turn.
I am not photographing this. Let the news photographers do this, my job is different. I try to show my viewer the beauty in every object that surrounds us in everyday life. I add a little fairy tale to the gray everyday life, I make the viewer return to childhood for a second, to feel happy.
You often photograph at Baikal Lake -- where is it and what makes it so special?
Baikal Lake is in Russian Siberia, near Irkutsk city. There is around a 5 hour flight from Moscow. First of all, Baikal is a stunningly beautiful place. The first time I went for the company, and did not expect anything. What I saw and felt made me stay awake all three days while I was there. Nor was I tired at all. Inspiration was so escaping from me. I still, having traveled many countries, consider it one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater reservoir on Earth. Due to the organisms living in it, the water in the lake is very clean, practically distilled. In winter, this lake is covered with the purest transparent ice about 1 meter thick. In addition to its beauty, Lake Baikal has some inexplicable spiritual energy. The official religion of local peoples is shamanism. They worship the spirits of nature as they did centuries ago. And of course the main deity here is the spirit of Lake Baikal.
In March, 2019, Kristina shot a film with the SmugMug team at Lake Baikal. She recounts it as her most significant moment in nature photography, and you can see the final product here:
This time, together with the SmugMug team, we came to shoot a film about my work. I was preparing for this shooting for a long time, in 3 months I began to develop ideas for a photo shoot, select a model, props, sew a dress to order. We brought 6 suitcases of props to Baikal with us.
The nature seemed to feel the full responsibility of this shooting. Our location managers were able to find the perfect filming locations. Even experienced local guides told us that they had never seen such natural phenomena on Baikal before. The result exceeded all our expectations.
Do you have any photo projects you're currently working on that you'd like to share with us?
I have a project that permeates, probably, all my photographs which is called "Simple Magic Things."
With this project I want to show that everyone is surrounded by the amount of magic they can see. That in the gray dank reality there are little things that make our world magical. That life is not somewhere behind the mountain in the Sakura Gardens (which are overflowing in spring, by the way), but here, in our apple orchards, or in a cup of herbal tea in the rays of the setting sun. That any piece of fabric can turn into a magic train, and that nothing is impossible in principle.
Photography has tremendous power. Sometimes I receive letters in private messages that my photo helped to cope with sadness. Sometimes they mention depression, and that it gets better even for a moment - and I'm glad. In fact, we initially started working to bring the light of beauty to the world, no matter how pathetic it may sound. And I see through the responses that light sometimes helps. In fact, this is what I want to convey with my photographs - light and wonder.
What are your plans or ideas for the future? Will you keep photographing? Will you stay in Moscow?
Whatever events happen in the future, I will continue to photograph. I cannot live a day without taking a single shot since I picked up the camera for the first time. I try not to make any plans for the foreseeable future, it is much more pleasant for me to receive surprises from life than to achieve my goals.
We give our heartfelt thanks to Kristina for her work and her words, and to you, for taking the time to read this! We hope you carry on your day carrying some of Kristina's light with you. All her photographs in our gallery above are for sale and 100% of the profits go directly to environmental conservation work. Buying one of her prints is -- literally -- adding a bit more wonder to our planet.