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Masha Demionova

Work / Photography

Moscow-based Masha Demionova’s portraits capture the multi-faceted personalities of women

Masha Demionova’s work has a strong focus on women; her works portray her subjects with strength, sensitivity and a sense of freedom, weaving her own understanding of womanhood into her work. “It’s impossible to [capture these women] in any other way,” she tells It’s Nice That. “Photography, being an art form of expression, brings your personality right to the viewers’ eyes. They are there but so is all of you.”

Masha’s beginnings in photography were “pretty usual” she tells us: “I took my parents’ simple film camera to school and found an incredible pleasure in taking everybody’s picture.” Her excitement at capturing moments hasn’t slowed down since. “I don’t think I’m trying to express something on purpose in my work,” she explains. “I think I’m just greedy, I want to capture everything I catch with my eye… faces, symbols, everything.”

Despite being prevalent in the fashion world for her editorial work, it was Masha’s ongoing analogue work focusing on women that caught our eye with her at once poignant, powerful and dream-like images. To Masha, the “type” of photography she engages with “doesn’t matter”, it’s all about capturing these women’s personalities.

“As a photographer, each time you make an image with a new person you need to understand their personality. Your picture will always be closer to complete if you have a certain connection with the one you shoot,” she muses. “This works best based on your sense of intuition,” she continues thoughtfully.

What does she aim to put across with her work we ask? “I wouldn’t say I have a specific aim,” Masha explains. “I grow up, change, discover more about myself and the world around me… the good and bad parts. Photography always comes along on this journey with me. It’s the medium I choose.”

If photography is the medium Masha chooses, Moscow is her chosen location, despite admitting that “Russia is a bit behind culturally and some things aren’t appreciated here as much as they might be appreciated abroad.” That said, she stands strong in not leaving Russia. “I love being in Moscow, I have a studio here, and a cat. It’s a place to stay low and rest, to have time to think about the work you have done and all you want to do.”

“Being in New York, for example, is fun,” she continues. “But this crazy chase for fame and money there drives me insane. I lose the ability to create when stressed. That said, trips are good. I think it’s important to leave a place at times to keep loving it.”

It’s a more ethereal sense that really drives Masha’s creativity and inspires her – “a fantasy, a dream or a memory,” she puts forward. “Things that lay outside of reality.”

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Masha Demionova