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“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon J. Suenes

Anya Anti has certainly done so. With her incredible talent and imagination, Anya takes us all on a journey to faraway lands to encourage us to do just that – dream a little. Her creativity seeps through photographs, unraveling stories we’ve never seen before.

Anya opens up to viewers through her collections of photographs, revealing her dreams and a little bit of her imagination. For the artist, it is a point of reflection, a way to translate some things that cannot be put into words.

She encourages us to stop for a second and take a moment to reflect on something really simple. Beauty in every sense of this word. Although words aren’t needed to appreciate Anya’s art, hearing her speak about her work is just as encouraging and motivating:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional career.

Hi! I’m a New York based, internationally published and award winning photo artist who specializes in on-location fine art and conceptual female portraiture. I’m originally from Ukraine, but I moved to the United States in 2014. I’ve been into photography since 2009 and as a self-taught artist, I gained all my knowledge and inspiration through social media and online photography communities. A year-and-a-half later, I started creating fine art surrealistic female portraits, which became my preferable genre and a hallmark of my work.

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Installations, costumes and Photoshop manipulation help me to embody my fantasies into a finished piece of art. I shoot mostly with old vintage manual lenses like Helios and Petzval. Their imperfections help me be more creative and achieve that dreamy effect.

As a workshop instructor, I’ve already taught in different countries. I’ve showcased my work at exhibitions and have been published all around the globe. In 2015, I was a lucky winner of Broncolor GenNEXT sponsorship and took 2nd place at Fine Art Photography Awards, the Professional Fine Art category.

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2. Your works are very surreal and fantasy-like, who has influenced you as an artist?

I don’t have idols and I can’t really give any specific names. There are just too many of them:) I have favorite artists in almost every genre but my work wasn’t influenced by anyone in particular. I’d say it’s more of a complex of my lifetime experience, my passion for art, reflection of my deep emotions.

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3. What is a source of endless inspiration for you?

My favorite artists and all kind of visual art. I always say – inspiration comes to an inspired person. An artist should always try to find beauty and unusual things in the usual, everyday life. And to achieve that you need to give your brain food and information. It is visual experience. The more you search, observe and look over different kinds of art the more chances you give yourself to come up with an idea.

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4. How do you come up with concepts for your photoshoots?

Pretty much like I get my inspiration, it’s the same process. Almost every art work starts from the idea. Very rarely I go out not knowing what to shoot and I don’t usually do tests. So my ideas come from inspiration. It can come to me from different sources whether it’s a research, brain storm or seeing something that I like and find interesting.

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5. Is there a particular theme or topic you like exploring through your projects?

I’m a dreamer. Photography is not only what I love and what I do, it’s also a gentle and romantic side of me. It’s a reflection of my deep emotions, passion for unknown and craving for beauty. What I’m trying to show is a beautiful image and photography techniques, but also convey an idea, mood, atmosphere and associations.

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6. You’ve made photography look like art, what is your favourite part of the artistic work process?

I love the whole process from the beginning to the end. I guess my favorite part is to actually the finished project; to see how it slowly turns into a complete piece of artwork and also publishing it when it’s all done. I love sharing my photography with the world, see how people react and get valuable feedback.

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7. How do you come up with a character for your models? Do you try to execute an idea in your head or do you let the models guide your fluid photo shoots?

Model’s character is always a part of my concept. Like I already mentioned, I don’t do just test shots and always try to come up with an idea. So I always have a certain image in my head, I draw sketches and search for photo and references.

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8. Do you create your own props, and if so do you pursue other art forms besides photography?

Sometimes I do create props, sometime I collaborate with other creatives, sometimes I rent. It always depends on the idea and photoshoot. At this point of my life I don’t really pursue other art forms besides photography. But I’ve always been a creative person. Although I never went to any art school as a child I was good at painting and crafts. In my early 20s I was into music. I graduated from a music school, played guitar and sang in a rock band.

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9. What do you hope for the audience to take away from your collection of photographs?

I want people to stop for a moment, use their imagination and feel the beauty. I try my best to make my art understandable and self-sufficient. It doesn’t need words, if you listen carefully my silent pictures will tell a story.

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