The journey is the end result
Viktoryia Vinnikava proclaims she is shy. However as she talks to inkopia about her various projects in photography, whether for work or personal pleasure, her conversation is animated and she oozes with passion and a sense of quiet pride.
She is a proud member of the Wednesday Group Photographers International (WGPI), Abu Dhabi International Photographic Society (ADIPS) and holds a FIAP Distinction (Artist FIAP) from the International Federation of Photographic Art. She has also won several awards in regional photography competitions with her proudest achievement as 1st place in the third annual ‘Spaces of Light’ Photography Competition in the ‘Architectural Beauty of the Emirates Palace’ category.
Viktoryia travelled for two years, visiting 30 countries and 65 cities. While in New York she also exhibited her work there. Her photography has featured in several magazines, online publications, calendars and coffee table books, even her own.
Viktoryia self-published a fine art photography coffee table book; the result of a long term project that is special to her heart. ‘Desert Treasures’ is a visual representation of Abu Dhabi desert scapes that took a month to collate and garner the feedback of her peers before she published. She now sells her book mostly to tourists at hotels and as corporate gifts.
Blending into the background
Viktoryia was captivated by her father’s photography when she was younger. The thrill of observing the process of taking family portraits and then waiting impatiently as the images slowly appeared in the solution in the dark room seemed so mysterious to Viktoryia and captured her imagination.
A trained computer engineer, Viktoryia took a chance on photography when twofour54 launched their freelance visa – she jumped at the opportunity to start a new career.
Working for a studio in Abu Dhabi they pushed her out into the field to be their wedding representative. She had to learn fast – wedding days only happen once in someone’s life and this importance weighs heavily on the photographer to have quick reactions and capture the large and the precious small moments.
Viktoryia has learnt to position herself so that she makes everyone look good in a picture. Improvisation plays a huge part in her ability to be flexible to all scenarios at events, including when she isn’t able to use a flash or she can’t get too close to the subject. She has learnt to blend into the background, and remaining invisible allows her to capture people more naturally and without them feeling intimidated by the camera or posing artificially.
This stillness infiltrates her general photography style. She would rather sit and wait for a perfect moment (such as in the image below of ‘Charming Lisboa’), waiting for it to happen so as not to interrupt a natural moment of time either on the street or in someone’s life. Viktoryia can sit on a street corner for hours, zoned into the action around her while melting into the scenery and unaware of time or weather!
Inspiration through isolation
For some, being stuck inside during lockdown was a trial, a test of patience, a time of too much Netflix.
Pre-lockdown, Viktoryia would take part in bi-weekly photographic society meetings, where they would inspire each other, collaborate on projects and stretch their abilities to learn new techniques. While some made banana bread weekly, Viktoryia joined weekly Zoom meetings where they took their projects inside instead. This really helped to push her creative boundaries, learn how to be inspired by micro subjects, the use of multiple exposure and photoshop processing.
With a new focus to explore different techniques, Viktoryia started to experiment more. Her love of dance and the influence of Alan Schaller’s work resulted in this image below of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. With her camera set up, positioned in front of the mosque and on a timer for a very long exposure, the light from her mobile phone produced swirls of movement while she danced between the camera and its subject to produce an image contrasting the dark of night and the abstract light patterns of the torch.
Not many people realise that the Olympic flame is literally kept alight every second of the day and even when the Olympics move from country to country the flame must also travel while remaining alight.
Viktoryia was lucky to be the assigned Official Photographer of the Special Olympics Torch Lighting Ceremony for the Athens Special Olympics and was then requested to accompany the team while they carried the flame for its celebrations around Athens and then on to Abu Dhabi. The ‘Flame of Hope’ also travelled by plane, taking over the front section of the aircraft and securely screwed in to the floor. Covered, protected and completely surrounded by security, safety engineers, and two dedicated guards to ensure it stayed alight, but with the safety of the plane and all its passengers considered. An experience of lifetime exclaims Viktoryia, who was thrilled to be asked to be part of such an exciting ceremony.
Understanding the journey
Other photographers inspire her to consider more than just the image produced. By visiting Xposure and speaking with other like-minded photographers there she realised that without the journey there is no before and after, no end image. The full process makes you feel and understand the final photo.VIEW VIKTORYIA'S FULL COLLECTION