A great story today on the blog with professional photographer Ilya Nodia from Russia. Ilya explains to us how he can create complex compositions from stories and people around him.

Commercial, advertising and artistic photographer, but also traveler and storyteller, let's discover Ilya's interview and work in 16 photos!

A few words about you, how did you start photography?

I started taking pictures about 10 years ago. At that time, I was a young guy who was very interested in technology, computers, and drawing. By the age of 18, I was already working in Photoshop, creating a design for my school website and making digital pictures. However, something was missing.

Then I got my first camera in my hands (it was Canon 1000D), and a lot of things changed - I realized that I could not just draw on a blank sheet, I can use the world around me as a canvas. It sounds a little poetic, but I really felt it. At some point, I even started to draw directly on my photos and showed it to my friends. That's how I began to take the first steps in post-processing and shooting.

Can you briefly explain your creative process for a great composition?

As for composition, I'm a little shamed, but the truth is - I don't have any fundamental academic skills in art. My University education is an IT engineer, and I have never studied photography. But I loved to watch.

My visual experience is my main instrument. Every day I watch a lot of excellent photos and projects. Website Behance.net for me is like a reference book. I have many US and European photographer whose biographies and projects I study. I also love movies and computer games. It sounds a little ridiculous, but game designers and screenwriters are doing now so great gaming experiences that it visually gives even more than photos. And experience, of course. I have a lot of practice, I shoot almost every day for 10 years and sooner or later it gives you a vision. It really works!

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from people and stories. One day I realized that I was not a great creator. I can't wake up in the middle of the night with an incredible idea and run looking for props, locations and all those things. I try to look for stories around me.

For example, once I got to a lecture to the oceanologist Sergey Smolitsky. I never listened to lectures about oceans and I was incredibly interested. It turned out that this man helped on the set of the movie Titanic with Cameron, and this story shocked me. I go with him to Kaliningrad to shoot a story about him, opposite the deep-sea apparatus MIR-2.

People and their stories are my passion. I also work on game projects. I shoot advertising for theaters, escape rooms, virtual reality - they already have stories too. And after some time, I was able to break through the wall of the advertising market and began to shoot large commercial advertising, in which my skills are also useful.

Is there someone in the world you dream to photograph?

Now it is difficult for me to answer whom I would like to shoot. Stars, tribes, historical figures - all of them have already been removed. Photography for me is a tool for studying life and dating. Photography opens doors for me to other people's lives almost every day. I think I just want to go with the flow and that's my dream.

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About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?

Surprisingly, if we talk about the tools, I'm not a big fan of technology. I love to use large and soft octabox, sometimes color filters. I try to get mostly pure colors, but lately, I've been looking towards a technical lifestyle - this is when the picture looks natural, but in fact there is a lot of work inside. I often use composing and editing in photoshop, but the further it goes, the more unknown these effects become.

Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series or travels?

Now we started working with Sony in Russia, and I often do lectures for them. It doesn't make a lot of money, but I strive to find a new audience for which I try to talk about how important the story is, and how the technique is the second number here. I travel a lot and have working contacts in the US, so I will be back in Los Angeles very soon.

To see more from Ilya:

His Website

All photographs copyright Ilya Nodia and used with his permission.

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