Licensing Contributor Marie Dashkova on creating romantic, conceptual photos

Marie is a Russian photographer who shoots portraits and conceptual scenes, often using natural lighting to create romantic and softly lit photos that help develop the creative narrative within each photo.

Q: Tell us a little bit about who you are

A: My name is Marie Dashkova, and I am a photographer from Moscow, Russia. I am 27, and I have a son. My dream is to travel and work as a photographer in different countries, shooting for brands and magazines.

I started to work in Photoshop and other image editors in 2004, and then in 2007, I started to take photos, being an amateur photographer for more than eight years shooting my friends and my trips. Since 2015, I’ve worked in the fine art style as a full-time photographer.

Photography helps me to work and connect with amazing, creative people from all around the world, and I hope that the journey has just begun. I am looking forward to more opportunities. I try to learn from all the artists I have met on my way—to see the beauty around me and upgrade my skills all the time.

I am a distant relative of princess Yekaterina Romanovna Vorontsova-Dashkova, and I am trying my best to maintain traditions of self-development and world enlightenment. I believe art is very essential for human souls—it helps me to feel alive, to create something that can inspire people I don’t even know, and to live for my dream.

I love music to help me generate ideas, traveling to give me energy and impressions, sport to maintain self-discipline, and nature, which gives the best light and locations. I also love to receive responses from other artists from different countries. Also, I am learning a lot—foreign languages (I speak Russian, English, French, and Czech) classical painting, and history. I am also going to make jewelry, you will soon see it in future photoshoots. I hope to use the pandemic as a time to develop new skills.

Q: Your photography on 500px has a whimsical and dreamlike feeling to it, what words would you use to describe your style?

A: I think the words you used are right, but I can add that I like the feeling of being out of time, exploring the beauty of previous époques, and I try to show the style and fashion of the past with the help of beautiful models from all around the world. So, I think my style is showing the female beauty, and also I always try to imagine that I am drawing a picture using my camera and programs to retouch.

redhead in light by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: What has drawn you to this style of photography?

A: I am quite a dreamy person, and I adore classical oil portraits. This style helps me to express my imagination, an image that was created inside—sometimes the idea was waiting for ages to be brought to life. So, mainly it is pictures from deep inside of me.

rococo time by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of the photography you do?

A: I work as a full-time photographer, shooting weddings, commercial photos, and other genres. It is important to save moments of human life, to catch the moments that will never repeat again, and I am very thankful to people who trust me enough to share some part of the precious moments of their life with me.

jump by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: Your shoots are conceptual and creative, are there other artists that have inspired you throughout your photography journey?

A: There are so many great photographers nowadays! I adore works of Oprisco, Monia Merlo, Marta Bevaqua. But I would like to mention people I know personally, and I was lucky to work with them—Piotr Skoczylas, Nastas’ya Parshina, and Nina Ippolitova.

Q: What can you say about discovering a creative voice?

A: Listen to your soul, be patient to yourself, work hard, move forward, be honest, money doesn’t mean everything, and never give up! It can be a long journey of self-exploration, but you can make the world better.

purple by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: Can you talk a bit about the concepts you address within your photography?

A: I think that my main aim is to inspire people, sharing the creative vibes, because to inspire means not to have more, but to BE more. It is my own tool of expressing myself and speaking to people. And, if a little spark can make a fire, maybe my art can help someone to start the creation of something unique and beautiful.

Ivan Kupala by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: Your shoots appear to be high production, incorporating props, locations, wardrobe, and make-up. Can you walk us through your typical shoot production?

A: Firstly, I would like to thank all the models, visagists, stylists, and designers that work with me. Sometimes a photoshoot is a result of cooperation between a huge number of people working together. If you select all the right people, you can see how the magic of the synergy effect happens, that gives birth to great results.

Sometimes, I prefer to work just with a model and prepare everything by myself, from the dress to jewelry to finding the location. I don’t have a typical scheme of production—a photoshoot can be created on the basis of location or costume, or I can be impressed by the unique beauty of a woman. I love shooting at home—I think a true photographer can create something unique in every place and show habitual things from a different angle.

artist by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: Can you share some tips for photographers who may be working on a small budget?

A: Work with people who believe in you and are ready to spend their time with you. Listen to their ideas. You can shoot at home or outside—find locations in your everyday life and ask your model to look through her wardrobe. Visit the flea market. You should try, find, explore, and be creative. Lake, river, forest, or sea—the place you live in can provide you with a unique location, and it is absolutely free. Show the world around you!

ballons by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: You recently did an underwater shoot. What are some of the challenges you encountered by doing this?

A: I love underwater photoshoots and am thankful to Ashnoll studio, situated in Moscow, for this opportunity and experience. It is very hard to coordinate the model, giving instructions using a microphone, and also choose the right light scheme and camera settings, because you must react quickly in order to not miss the right moment.

grace of the sea by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

Q: Can you discuss some of the concepts you are addressing with your underwater series?

A: Every underwater photoshoot is very special for me because it is a very emotional experience where you must feel the moment and the person you are working with. Water can help to create very magical and dreamy images full of calmness and stillness. All series remind me of the works of pre-Raphaelite artists, they are a huge source of inspiration for me.

caught by Poseidon by Marie Dashkova on 500px.com

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