Anita Anti is a self taught photo artist, professional photographer, and retoucher from the Ukraine, now living in New York City. We love the dream worlds she creates with her delicate, feminine images—women wandering through fields and forests, playing instruments, communing with animals, lying amongst scatterings of petals. Who wouldn’t want to step into one of her photographs? We recently asked Anita about her inspiration and the stories behind the photos. Learn more at Anitaantiart.com.
How did you first get into photography?
I’ve been into photography since 2009. I was always a creative person; as a kid I was good at painting and crafts. But my passion for photography started rather unexpectedly. I fell in love with it and started shooting the world around me, getting all my knowledge and inspiration through social media and online photography communities. A year and a half later, I began creating the fine art female portraits that I’m doing now. Installations, costumes, and Photoshop manipulations help me to embody my fantasies into a finished piece of art. I like to cooperate with different creative people but often I prefer to do everything by myself.
How do fairy tales inspire you? Are your photos ever directly inspired by specific fairy tales & mythology?
I love fantasies and mysticism. I’ve never been a fan of any specific fairy tale or fairy tales in general. As a kid I loved Disney movies, but who didn’t? Sometimes it’s just fun to play with associations of well-known tales, characters, or movies and make my own version of that. But I have only few works of that kind.
Can you tell us about the cover photograph? How did that come about? Where did that shoot take place?
I was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Sleepy Hollow. I’m a big fan of Tim Burton’s work. I made this image in my hometown, Dnepropetrovsk, in the Ukraine. It was a cold February day. I made this tree crown the day before, using wire, golden foil, and spray paint. We went to the city beach, which was empty due to the time of day and season. A hairstylist helped me to attach the model’s hair to the crown. Yes, that is her real hair!
What was one of your most challenging shoots?
I guess one of them was my photo named “Bad Dreams.” It was made during my workshop in Dnepropetrovsk. I had to find a real vintage bed and take it apart,
and find a car to bring it to the abandoned park, and then reassemble the bed and hang it from a tree. And it was raining the whole day! Also I couldn’t light the lamp and I had to literally draw all the light coming from the lamp and the shadows in Photoshop afterwards. It was a disaster! But I hope people like it.
You’ve worked with a lot of animals, like the foxes in this spread. How does that usually happen? Which animals were the easiest and most difficult to work with?
We usually rent them. All animals are difficult to work with. Usually you have just a couple of hours to work with each of them. You can’t just tell an animal to sit straight and look to the camera. That’s when you have to be creative and react quickly. Like the fennec fox can’t just sit on someone’s shoulder, so we had to ask the model to lean on the tree branch and the fennec fox sit on it. Or little foxes didn’t want to sit together at all so the model just had to grab them into her arms. And there’s a lot of editing involved, replacing faces and removing straps.
Do your photographs have a message at all? Is there something you’re trying to convey?
I’m a dreamer. Photography is not only what I love and what I do, it’s also a gentle and romantic side of me. It’s a reflection of my deep emotions, passion for the unknown, and craving for beauty. What I’m trying to show is a beautiful image and photography techniques, but also convey an idea, mood, atmosphere, and associations. I want people to stop for a moment, use their imagination and feel the beauty. I try my best to make my art understandable and self-sufficient. It doesn’t need words. If you listen carefully, my silent pictures will tell a story.