Polina Vinogradova’s Squarespace website
Looking through the portfolio of Copenhagen-based photographer Polina Vinogradova is a bit like receiving a jolt of electricity, like being transported into a fantasy wherein colors shine brighter and shapes more bold; her editorial spreads and live event snaps have that je ne sais quoi that costume designer Edith Head might have called an instinctual understanding of the “language” of fashion. Vinogradova herself calls it an “energy,” something that pulsates at the center of her diverse body of work, visible on her Squarespace website.
Vinogradova skyrocketed onto the scene when she was discovered by VICE Denmark, and she soon found herself attending everything from underground parties to exclusive events. She collaborates frequently with industry-shaping brands and publications, approaching even the most meticulous studio session with the same whimsy and dynamism required when shooting candid moments within large crowds.
In addition to showcasing her editorial and commercial portfolios, Vinogradova uses her Squarespace website to maintain her blog, a journal of her adventures around the world and amidst the inner circles of fashion’s elite. We spoke with Vinogradova about her instantly recognizable aesthetic, her thoughts on what it takes to be a fashion photographer, and why she chose Squarespace to to build her website.
What first attracted you to the fashion world?
“I remember I was 10 years old when I saw David LaChapelle’s pictures for the first time – I just couldn’t get enough. It was a whole other world for me. The people, colors, set ups were beyond beautiful. It was exciting to look at. I’ve done many things since then, but LaChapelle is definitely the guy who pushed me into the fashion world. Creating a universe different from the one you are living in makes me happy.”
Your work has a lot diversity; you can shoot both edgy and colorful editorials and softer, more minimal spreads. How would you describe your aesthetic?
“I think people recognize my work by the energy my images are carrying. Whatever I do, if it’s a fashion editorial or a super trashed party, I will always make it look appetizing – I guess that’s the right word!”
You’ve shot for some pretty major brands. When you are given assignments, how much creative control would you say you have?
“I would say I have a lot of creative control. Almost all bookings I get are based on the energy I’m able to create in my pictures. Clients are counting on me to bring that into their images, so they let me work as I do. They want to have a piece of that in the final product. The two biggest jobs I’ve had were based on my nightlife photography.”
You photograph both live events and look books/editorials. What’s it like to transition from a party scene back to a studio setting?
“When you work in the nightlife, you are pretty much on your own; the final result depends on you only. Working in the studio means working with other creatives. There is not a huge difference for me working with fashion or in the club scene. I always focus on my goal and adapt to that.
VICE x WiMP Live Sessions
What has been your favorite project to shoot?
“I have been a part of a lot of memorable projects, and it is impossible to define what my favorite project has been – but to mention a few, working with Mads Nørgaard on the ‘Bright and Bold book,’ Jack and Jones Australia campaign and the recent editorial I did for Soundvenue have all been amazing.”
Mads Nørgaard “Bright and Bold Book”
Could you tell us a bit about your journal? Are these personal photos, other projects, or a mix of everything?
“I use my website to showcase both my editorial and commercial work. I needed some kind of platform to share my nightlife photography, and a journal/blog was the right solution. I also use it for more personal stuff like my favorite music and my polaroids. In two weeks, I will be going to Roskilde festival with VICE, and I’ll be covering the festival through my blog everyday.”
What is your favorite trend going on in fashion photography?
I really like that the fashion industry is reaching more and more out to the streets to get untouched (by the industry) guys and girls. We see a steady tendency of magazines and major brands using a streetcast for editorial and commercial purposes.”
Are there any fashion cliches you try to avoid?
“I find it difficult to define what a “fashion cliche” is. I really think that people should feel free to create and evolve.”
You got your big break with VICE Denmark. What advice would you give to emerging photographs looking for a similar opportunity?
“Really just be yourself. Focus on developing your own recognizable style, and never sell out. People, colleagues and even clients will sometimes tell you “You should go more like this, or like that, or like him.” But in the end, if people want to have a flash on a white wall, they would hire Terry Richardson.”
Bibi Chemnitz Campaign + Lookbook
Why did you choose Squarespace to build your website?
“It’s super easy, user-friendly and effective.”
Your Squarespace site immediately draws us in and shows us what you’re about. What were you looking for when building your homepage, and what template did you use?
“I chose the template Flatiron. I wanted to make sure people could recognize me when visiting my website, and I wanted it to be fun. The idea was to create something that looks and sounds like a post Soviet photo service kiosk. That’s one of the reasons I used red, white and blue as the three main colors and a very simple font. Not too many sub-menus to make it easy to navigate.”
Why was it important to have both your blog and your portfolio in the same Squarespace site?
The reason I chose to have both my blog and my portfolio on the same site is because i wanted people to have insight in my work outside of my editorial and more commercial jobs. My hands are always busy with a lot of projects: nightlife, music, festivals, VICE projects, etc.”
Mads Nørgaard “Bright and Bold Book”
You have your own Instagram (@themisspopo), but you also have a hashtag (#vildpopoliv) that posts onto your own Insta-feed, directly on your Squarespace site. Was this easy to set up?
“Connecting my Instagram account to my Squarespace website was actually very easy – just a few steps and Squarespace provides you a full description of how to set-up!”
All images © Polina Vinogradova
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