With Kathrina Zakharova

Stawberry 01 by Kate Zakharova

FA4M Mag interviews Kathrina Zakharova.

FA4M: When and how did you start working as a photographer?

KZ: I often read interviews with photographers, and so many of them say that them started shooting with grandpa`s old school Leika or Polaroid or something like that. But, as for me, I only started to be interested in photography a few years ago – six years ago if memory serves. I had a friend who needed a camera to pick up girls and so we bought it together. My friend had the camera on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I got the camera the other days. It was really fun. But when I got my turn with the camera there were always a couple of photos of naked girls on the camera’s memory. One day, as a joke for the camera’s co-owner, I took a few photos of a naked male model. “Eww, that’s gross!” my camera partner reacted. And so he sold me his share of the camera at a very cheap price. But I liked that experience and those photos, and so I started shooting men more and more. So far, that hat was the one and only successful business deal of my photography career.

FA4M: What is your motivation, your inspiration, to do what you do?

KZ: Why I do what I do, is a question I never know how to answer. Truly, I have no idea. Maybe the reason is, in part, because in Russia, very few photographers work with the naked male. And this is really unfair. I believe the male body is beautiful, strong and gentle at the same time. For me the male body is full of inspiration. Each part, every part, of it. I adore men’s hands, clavicles, neck, chest, abdominals, bottoms. It is awesome to see the growing penis, how it fills with power, and how delicate I need to be to shoot it. And I love shooting two boys together at the same time – it is a double portion of tenderness and handsomeness and strength too. Of course, in Russia, it is a bring problem, you know. My country prefers to hate, and to be afraid of gay love. Hatred of man loving man, unfortunately, is commonplace still even in large cities and in the capital too. As a female photographer, I often receive threats and hate mail too every time I publish my photographs on the web. I so appreciate, and am grateful too, for the braveness of my models. And I hope that I will not be deterred, I hope that I will not stop. And I wait for the day when this situation will change. And maybe that is the answer, that is why I shoot men.

FA4M: It might not very revolutionary anymore to photograph male nudes – at least in much of the world. But for you, it remains a revolution. How difficult is it to find willing models for your work?

KZ: It is very difficult to find models for my ideas. Most of the time, the subjects of my photographs are my friends. They are, every one of them, angels. I cannot express my gratitude enough.

FA4M: Besides revolutionary and brave, your work, your technical skill and your aesthetic are extraordinary and so well-informed. How have you learned and developed your artistic sensibilities?

KZ: Thank you for saying that. I know how boring it is to hear, but I am always invested in spending a lot of time looking at other artists: Magritte, Hieronymus Bosch, Tiziano, Vecellio, etc. Last year, I went to Venice twice and I fell in love with Vittore Carpaccio’s Apotheosis of St. Ursula. It is really incredible. For hours, I stayed in the gallery and could not take my eyes from it. The gallery staff started to worry that I was going crazy. After that experience, I started exploring crosses and other religious themes in my work. This is how the process goes: I saw something that took my soul deeper and then I just started shooting those ideas.

FA4M: Other favorite artists?

KZ: Besides Magritte, Bosch, Tiziano, and Tintoretto there are photographers too, of course. Such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Jan Saudek, Joel-Peter Witkin. Why? All you have to do is look at the genius of their photographs. Once you see one of their images, you never forget it. I have always dreamed to have even a little part of their talent – to make such a brilliant, iconic, and finished image.

FA4M: If forced, how would you describe your work?

KZ: Sex, boys, and rock n roll.

FA4M: What is the most satisfying moment of your process?

KZ: Shooting is the most satisfying moment for me. It stirs me. It makes me feel alive.

FA4M: What is the most challenging part of your process?

KZ: Really, it is the trouble of having enough friends who will agree to be my models. Maybe I need to start feeding them?

FA4M: What is your definition of beauty?

KZ: Love. I know it sounds very hippie, but for me, beauty is love. Or love is beauty.

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About fa4m

Fine Art for Men is an international online gallery showcasing the male nude in fine art as well as gay art and homoerotic art while including contemporary artists and collectible vintage works.