I am a separate person, but, at the same time, an integral part of the single, huge organism that is the universe.
For Nina Sinitskaya, all things are connected through the universe. Her life and work reflect this idea through images and collaborations.
You have a tendency, through various techniques, to blend your human subjects into natural environments. What are you trying to say with this?
I have a strong feeling of being an essential and inseparable part of the world around me: I am a separate person, but, at the same time, an integral part of the single, huge organism that is the universe. This feeling of unity makes me happy and this is what I’m trying to share with my viewers, I guess.
Many of your subjects appear with non-traditional make-up, sometimes to a body painting-like extreme. Why? Are you also a make-up artist?
No, I’m not a make-up artist and I don’t think I would be good at this. The thing is that I love to collaborate with talented people who are able to think outside the box and express themselves by various means. I admire those people and I learn from them, using my camera to capture the fantastic things that they create and adding a bit of my vision to it—the best things happen to me during such collaborations. In my daily life, I’m pretty monochromatic myself, but I love using colors in photography and I cannot get enough. I often have colorful dreams and the make-up artists I work with help me to transfer those dreams into real life.
You seem to favor portraiture. Is this a professional or personal interest?
Both, I guess. It began with the personal and transformed into the professional. Interaction with people in photography allows me to expand the boundaries of my own perception, absorb beauty and share it with others.
When you shoot non-human subjects, there is a geometric quality to your work, with pronounced lines and circles. Why so different from your model work?
Perfect symmetry and geometric shapes bring harmony and peace into my life. Probably, I’m not very good in applying it into portraiture yet.
I find your images that use hands to be particularly striking. Can you tell us about them?
This is not something that is usually done on purpose; it comes naturally when I’m building the composition. Often hands help to put accents or draw attention to emotions, mood or states that I want to be highlighted in the image. Sometimes working with hands help me to create symmetry or expressive movement, which is necessary for transmission of a particular thought through the image. I must admit that sometimes I don’t plan poses in advance. Rather, it’s a collaboration between photographer and model—I explain what I need to be shown and then let the body language of the model speak for itself. Well, I’m glad that you find it striking, means it works. 😉
Although it has long fallen out of mainstream headlines, our office is in a Ukrainian neighborhood here in New York where the situation with Russia is still subject to a lot of interest. If at all, how is it felt in Kiev? Does it affect you as an artist?
This is a huge and complicated subject to discuss. People in Kiev and all over Ukraine are stressed with the never ending war Putin began and is trying to keep ongoing in Ukrainian lands. So many horrible deaths and accidents happened; so many informational manipulations by mass media were held from both sides that now, personally, I am not sure I really understand what is actually going on. I feel sorrow and I feel fatigue, people should not die because of the ambitions of politicians and those who are struggling for authority and power. People should not hate each other just because someone tells them to on a TV screen. I try my hardest not to be affected as an artist by this topic, as I am already affected by it as a human being. That would be too much.
You can see more of Nina’s work here: