Daria Svertilova

How do you define beauty?
In my opinion, beauty is a very controversial notion – especially nowadays – and every person perceives it according to his [or her] mentality and taste. Personally for me, beauty is connected with naturalness and it must be wrapped into a pleasant visual form. But I also believe in inner beauty and think the external one depends directly upon it.

Tell us about your first camera.
The first camera I held in my hands was tiny digital Canon, but the tool that is really worth a story was my second one soviet Zenit. I found it in my grandfather’s pantry, as many youngsters of the past Soviet space do. I began to shoot everything and everybody that surrounded me on film, with no exact idea and opinion about what photography was. I just took pictures of things I loved and wanted to remember. As you probably know Soviet cameras are completely mechanical – there aren’t any automatic settings – so I spoiled lots of film before achieving a good result. All these faults taught me to value every film shot and to think more then third times before clicking the shutter.

Do you prefer digital or film?
I prefer film undoubtedly. It much more suits my perception of photography than digital. However, I consider digital photography as an essential part of the modern world. That said, it is not for me.

Why is the title “Virgo” appropriate for one of your photo series?
While I prefer taking male portraits, female beauty always enchanted me. For me, the Latin word ‘virgo’ is the most proper reflection of my feelings about girls behind my camera. I mean, despite their age, appearance and all other external marks, they have patterns of pure beauty; [the fact that girls are] so different from each other shows many sides of controversial and sophisticated female nature. Using this word [virgo] I also allude to a figure of Virgin Mary, whose spirit I believe lives in every women, though I am not a religious person.

In “Endless Way,” where are these landscape photographs taken?
The majority of the landscapes were made in the most picturesque country I’ve ever visited –  Norway. The others are taken in Greece, Montenegro and Croatia.

Tell us about your one of your most memorable photo shoots.
I suppose every shooting I’ve had gave me necessary experience and memories. The shootings with animals are probably the most remarkable; I’ll never forget how difficult was to organize the shooting with a parrot. Also, the shootings with many people involved usually turned into some kind of events and it was very interesting to communicate with every member of the shooting, specifically letting all of them interact with each other and observe how the atmosphere of the shooting becomes warmer.

Having photographed many models and subjects, what do you notice are the greatest differences between photographing boys versus girls?
Well, there are some differences. Boys are more reserved and usually they feel shy, but I admire the honesty they show in front of my lens. As boys are not very interested in being photographed, they behave themselves truly, without any tries to pose, play etc.

What do you most enjoy about shooting model tests?
I do enjoy simplicity. Model tests are a kind of shooting where there isn’t any excess stuff; it’s just you, model and your connection.

We love that a beautiful dog is featured in one of your photo shoots (in Fairy Female). Can you tell us about this beautiful photo shoot, which happens to be one of our favorites?
I was inspired by a fairy character from Russian folk tales;she was called Snow Maiden in English if I translated correctly. Also being deeply in love with northern breeds of dogs, I decided to combine the two. Though it was a little bit difficult to work with dogs, they are the most obedient animals I’ve worked with.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Speaking of photographers who I consider as my main inspiration, Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi, Bruce Weber, Alexander Gronsky, Arthur Elgort, Ryan McGinley, and Robert Mapplethorpe are the favorites. Also I always was inspired by art, mainly by Pre-Raphaelites, paintings of the Renaissance period, some Medieval pictures, and surely by some antique sculptures.

What websites do you have bookmarked?
Tim Walker, Nasty April, Touch Digital, Bespoke Pixel, and L’Homme Que Je Suis.

What are your favorite movies?
Atonement, War Flowers, and Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close.

What publications do you dream of your photography being featured in someday?
I dream of being published in i-D Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and AnOther Magazine.

What songs are on your personal playlist?
Angels and Demons / Ludwig van Beethoven
Waltz / Eugen Doga
In This Shirt (Röyksopp edit) / The Irrepressibles
Nights in White Satin / The Moody Blues
Discolour Us / ID3
Wait for Me / Moby
Spanish Sahara / Foals
Knock You Out / MDMA
Sweet Disposition / The Temper Trap
My Coast / Ifwe

What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. I am left-handed and short-sighted.
2. Most of the people I communicate with think I am older until they learn my age.
3. When I was small, many children mocked me because of my elf-shaped ears. I accepted this my feature only few years ago, in adolescence.


For more of Daria’s work, check out her website.