Interview with 2017 International Singles winner Kristina Koroleva
Kristina Koroleva is a Russian photographer who lives in Moscow. Her main ongoing project is about street photography and she likes to take photos either when she is traveling or in her own city. She would describe herself as being a perfectionist but, paradoxically, she claims that over time she realizes that great photography is always a bit imperfect. Kristina is a winner in the “Travels” category at the PhotoEvolution Festival (Kostroma, 2013) and finalist at the Street Photography Festivals of Moscow in 2015 and Miami in 2017.
A key moment in your work came when you realized there is no need to travel to faraway places to become a great photographer, but rather just step out of your front door and look around. Since that moment, how do you live photography as a whole and how would you describe your methodology?
I like walking around Moscow by myself, looking around and taking pictures of things that reflect how I feel. With photographs, there is always room for the unexpected, but the unexpected happens to one who is able to notice it with an eagle eye.
You have been awarded the prize of best single work by the BSPF 2017. From your perspective, what challenges does a single photo bring?
A single photograph is a story, while a series of photographs is already a novel or a play. A story needs to have an introduction, a culmination, and an outcome. The same applies to single photography: at first something catches the viewer’s attention, then they look at the photo, searching for the key they need to solve the mystery, and then they finally solve it. Or they don’t. But the whole analytical process needs to take place in the viewer’s head, not in the photographer’s words. A good photo doesn’t require an explanation.
Could you tell us more about the winning photograph? What is the story behind it?
The photograph was taken on June 12, 2017, the day we celebrate Russia Day. Traffic was cut off completely on a central Moscow street to make room for a festival called “Times and Epochs.” The participants re-created some of the most important historical events of our country. I walked through the whole street and didn’t take a single good picture. There were too many people there, it was madness. I turned and ended up on Borovitskaya square, where a monument to Prince Vladimir was recently erected. I saw a truck with a trailer, in which horses humbly waited for their turn to take part in the shows. Two women were walking by, dressed up for the holiday. The horses peaked their interest, which is what caught my attention. One of them came up to the trailer and looked in the window. That’s how the photograph happened.
What are the next projects you are working on and what is the motivation behind them?
I’m captivated by the idea of creating a photobook. The majority of photobooks that I see here in Russia look like catalogs or photo albums. I’m interested in creating a book in which the photographs will tell some kind of story, to come together and form a plotline.
What was your experience and impression of BSPF '17?
I was deeply impressed by the Brussels Street Photography Festival – its organization and the overall atmosphere. I enjoyed all the talks and walks, and, of course, I was happy to meet those amazing people who see the streets through viewfinders. I’m now friends with so many good photographers that my Facebook and Flickr feed look like well-curated exhibitions of street photography gems.