Hear It!

An Interview with Iryna Kurhan

Welcome to our Inaugural Issue of 123RF.com's Hear It!. In this issue, we have a heart-to-heart exchange with one of 123RF's Contributors - Ms. Iryna Kurhan from Ukraine. Iryna's portfolio is filled with myriad photographs of beautiful, demure and exotic women, whose soulful and oftentimes sweet expressions are timelessly captured by Iryna. We attempt to discover what drives Iryna and her models to produce photographs of such nature...

Photographer: Iryna Kurhan
Country of Origin: Ukraine

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis:
  • Camera: Canon 20D;
  • Lenses: Canon EF 50/1.4, Canon EF 70-200/4;
  • Flash & Lighting: Canon Speedlite 580 EX, studio flashes 2*350W, 2*100W, 2 softboxes 60*90 cm, golden/silver umbrellas, reflector, backgrounds;
  • Photo Editing Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
Modern digital technologies today allow us to see the results of our shots much faster compared to film technology. I believe this gives photographers the opportunity to quickly learn from their experiences. It allows them to analyze and experiment with different techniques or even mimic the styles of other photographers quickly and at a much reduced cost.

The Microstock industry is another amazing concept; it enables photographers an avenue to earn from their efforts and this in turn can help them buy rather expensive equipment quickly. In my opinion, the photography industry these days develop very quickly because there are more and more creative people are starting to be engaged in their favorite hobby and some of them have taken serious steps to venture into the Microstock business. This not only brings great personal motivation and satisfaction but also gives huge opportunities for acknowledgment and recognition at international levels. It's incredible!
123RF has been such a platform for me and I am very grateful to be a part of its success.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I like pets, especially cats and dogs. When I studied at school I wanted to be a vet or a cynologist

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
My father was an amateur photographer. When I was 10 years old, he gave me my first amateur film photo camera as a present. Since then, photography became my favorite activity. I shot my relatives, friends and my siamese cat!

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
This formula is very simple. You should love your business and devote much time to it.

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
I had no difficulties. When I started I knew that if I love my business I will have success.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
I am a Portrait Photographer. So, I am very happy if my clients and friends love their portraits shot by me. That is the best reward for me.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
I plan and think over its conception a lot. Choice of the model, makeup and accessories. Set of the day for shooting session. There are no any special recipes.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
I think the work should describe itself without any words. However, I would describe it as "Images of the mood".

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
For best results, you need to draw up a plan. You should also know what you have to do to get what you the final result. I do always think over and plan my work. However, it is impossible to do anything without inspiration. So, I depend on my feelings. It makes my shoots vivid, bright and fills them full of sentiments.

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
I love photographing women, their face, their eyes. The eyes have something that attracts and amazes me. They reflect the inner lives of the women, their state of mind and originality.
I am a woman, therefore I understand my subjects a lot better than male photographers do. My models feel it. I'd say it is the secret of my success. During a typical 4-hour photo session, we would talk about all female secrets, our news, joys and troubles. The models become sincere and outspoken, and in such moments I take truly unique images. They are not simple female photos. They are the images of the female soul, the female life.
My clients and models say they could not feel so free with a male photographer. They often tease me by calling me a "photo therapist".

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
All subjects have "two sides". So there are no subjects are the hardest to work, or subjects are the easier to work with.

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
My philosophy is to work from the heart, find satisfaction in it and give pleasure to people.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
I take Inspiration from the life! Everything around us have left some mark on our senses.

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
I just pause and analyze my previous works. That is not a problem because if those creative juices evade me today, they will not evade me tomorrow.

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
I try to create something new and unusual.

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
I have learn to feel the outward things better. I have learn to see some "unvisible things". I have learnt to understand better the character of people and their moods.

19. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
I have no any idols. But there are a lot of beautiful photographers and I am very happy to be among them. I love all their works.

20. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Shoot what you love!
Shoot as you love!
Shoot when you love!
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