Through our travels we have the opportunity to sometimes meet some really great people.
One person in particular we crossed paths for the first time in Tarifa during The Butterfly Effect and then finally again in Dakhla where she was accompanied by her trusty sidekick Kari Schibevaag. One week in the company of these two girls was a week or sharing, laughing and working, but also discovering the huge talent of this young photographer who is now the official photographer of the VKWC, Svetlana Romantsova.
KSm: Hi Svetlana, could you please tell us a little bit more about where your’re from, where you are now, and more precisely, who is it hiding behind the lens.
Svetlana: Hi Sophie! I was born in Moscow, Russia which is where I spend my time in-between travelling. I am not a fan of the big cities now, too noisy, but I go back to spend time with my family and friends. I change location so much these days that you could pretty much say that I live on the road but the majority of the time I am in Tarifa.
I have been taking photos for over 10 years and I started shooting snowboarding but after that I discovered my passion for kitesurfing and so started shooting as I was travelling.
KSm: It is not often with see you without ‘your’ Kari :) How did the two of you start working together and what is it like working with the amazingly unique Kari Schibevaag?
Svetlana: Haha. We travel a lot together. My freidn Gemma (who is the organiser of kiteboardingcamps.com ) introduced us and we travelled together during her “girl camps”. Sometimes we also shoot for RRD also. I love travelling wit Kari because I love her way of looking at work and her crazy ideas. Kari loves photography so it is easy to explain to her what I am looking for. If the light or the background are beautiful, she will go out and risk it all in big waves or jumping in shallow water just to get me the best shot.
KSm: You work for the magazines InsideKiteMag and TheKiteMag where you regularly publish a number of your images. Can you tell us a little bit more about working with the kite magazines as a photographer?
Svetlana: It is not always easy to work for the magazines. Printed magazines are dissappearing fast and being replaced by digital formats which on one hand is sad, but then on the other hand it adds more value to the printed magazines that remain as they become more sought after and unique.
This is why we have to try to do the most artistic images, the most interesting, to be chosen for the next issues.
KSm: Having had the honour of working with you and your lovely lighting assistant we have seen your professionalism and determination to get ‘the shot’ with our own eyes. Do you always know exactly what you want before each shoot or is there often room for improvisation?
Svetlana: Not always, sometimes I have an idea which I then pursue and try to achieve technically, but at the same time an image can often be born out of a chance of circumstances whilst trying to achieve something else.
KSm: What first interested you in photography and were there any notable inspirations or mentors in your life?
Svetlana: My first trip to the mountains really inspired me, I saw the beauty and power of nature but my little camera was not able to reflect this.
Once I got back I bought a reflex camera and I signed up for some photography courses. I draw inspiration from many of my favourite photographers, directors (in the sports industry) and painters. If I see something interesting, I jot down ideas for the future.
KSm: When did you first start to realise that you had a talented eye?
Svetlana: haha, I still have not completely accepted that. I try to see the interesting things around me and reflect thins in my photos, …and then remember that the rules of classic photography always work.
KSm: We know you work on many different aspects of kiting and beach lifestyle which we see regularly, however we also know that this is not the only subject matter you choose for your lens. Can you tell us a little bit more about the other types of projects you like to shoot?
Svetlana: I do shoot kitesurfing most of the time and also the thing that go with that industry (lifestyle, nature), but I also love other extremem sports like snowboarding. I also love to shoot fashion, working with models and makeup artists. I do miss studio photography a bit as I love working with the lights. Also I love shooting yoga.
KSm: We know you also shoot some film but mainly focus on stills. What differences do you find between the two and which do you prefer?
Svetlana: Sometimes I make small videos but most of the time this is for riders profiles. I like filming as you can sometimes capture more than you can in a single still image especially when the movements are so important. I would like to work in a team and gain some more experience, but currently shooting takes up so much of my time… all of my time in fact.
KSm: We know that you can also kite. How long have you been kiting for and what is your favourite spot to ride?
Svetlana: I have been kiting since 2007. Most people think I am the water all the time because they see me constantly at the spots but this is unfortunately not the case. Often there is not even even enough time for a little session during my travels as I work almost all the time.
But I love Tarifa, this is not only a great place for kiting is also a very good spot to photograph: nature, food, people. I also love my Russian spot at the edge of the Black Sea, not far from the city of Anapa. It is a strip of land (sand) on one side there is the sea, the other – lagoon (40 km), with shallow water, a steady wind, and very few people even during high season. And of course I love Dakhla.
KSm: We know that you recently start working for VKWC… can you tell us a bit more about this new job?
Svetlana: It’s very interesting experience for me. I’ve been at the Fuerteventura and Tarifa stops. Unfortunately, I don’t get to go to Germany because I knew about it too late and it was complicated to change plans for these dates but hope that it will continue for next stops.
In Tarifa it was easy with the angles and to find amazing backgrounds, I know this place and Balneario is my favourite spot for photography. But is was harder organise the selection and editing process and it’s always hard when you do something first time.
On Fuerte it was different, there where not so comfortable conditions for shooting and the big problem that we was unlucky with the wind meaning we didn’t finish men’s finals in freestyle, but I tried to shoot more lifestyle and portraits to show what was going on. I really hope riders and people who follow the tour likes it.
KSm: What do you wish for in the coming year?
Svetlana: Amazing trips, good conditions for shooting, interesting projects and the best shots.
Svetlana, thank you for your kindness and professionalism, it’s always a pleasure working with you. We thank you for taking the time to answer your questions and wish you all the best for your current and future projects.
Svetlana: Thank you!