Seeing Angelina’s image for the first time gave me a wired sense of Deja Vous. I was certain her style of capture was familiar, and then after scrolling through her Instagram feed, it was clear her style had a monochromatic reference to the great Helmut Newton and his own style of capture.
A sense of freedom and expression in her work and the unconstrained look to her photographs which to the eye are refreshing and more so as her images capture the essence of beauty with strong, rich blacks and warm mid-tones reminiscent of the great Agfa papers I used to work within the darkroom. It’s clear to see Angelina, with her free spirit, is going places and right now getting attention with more and more gallery exhibitions, so here we have our interview with Angelina for you to enjoy…
More about Angelina
Originally, I am from Latvia, but as I travel around the globe and change my home place from South America – Paraguay to Switzerland – Geneva, I call myself a world traveller.
For the moment I’m in the moving process again to beautiful Portugal.
I’m a portrait and studio-style photographer, I like to work with people and find the best way to see them from another perspective, different emotion or ambience. I enjoy the production process as well as creating more elaborate things, backstage and completely crazy and unexpected photo sessions.
While living in Geneva, Switzerland I had the opportunity to discover different Leica cameras and my heart found one special Leica, the M monochrome “Drifter” embellished by Lenny Kravitz. This is my favourite one and explains why most of my photos are black and white than colour. I find monochrome more interesting as well challenging to express.
“For me, photography is “like a form of therapy between me and the world. To see life through the eyes and lens of a camera so others can see as well.”
Angelina, can you tell me why you wanted to become a photographer?
I love to take photos, but initially, it was more for private use rather than for a specific purpose. Once I was a model in a photoshoot and I really enjoyed seeing how photographers can adapt light and camera settings to any circumstance and get amazing images. It was a challenge to me – I can learn to do that as well I thought!
Most people get the idea of being a photographer, however, did you go down the industry way of assisting or did you dive right into being a photographer and taking on clients or shoots?
As photography offers different styles and fields, the most important is to try different ones and understand what you don’t like.
I went to the different masterclasses, and meetings to discover different techniques and styles to know what I like and what photography field I would like to work within.
I worked with different talented photographers who helped guide me in my own process, and I was an assistant for 1-2 years learning how to shoot and learning the many points during their process and workflow, which helped me to discover what I really like. However, there is so much more to learn and people to learn from and discover. I think assisting a professional photographer is a good thing as it helps you learn quicker many things which are important in running your own successful photography business but most important is not to forget your own style and what is inside of you as an artist.
You’re a traveller I see from your bio, but where are you located?
For the moment I’m between Portugal and Geneva. I’m trying to settle in Portugal but at the same time, I’m going back to Geneva to do photoshoots and different projects. Even though I don’t have one working place for now but I can move around and take my shooting gear with me anywhere.
Our heading makes references to Helmut Newton and I see your style appears to have some visual influence from Helmut Newton. I have a picture book which is all about Helmut Newton and by Taschen. Inside there are some strong images including some night street scenes which reminded me of his work – How would you define your style of work?
My style of shooting is of course influenced by Helmut Newton, I just love his way of taking pictures but also Jeremy Spierer, I learned to master my Leica monochrome in different circumstances to get the sharp black and white density is seen in their photography, provocative and no limits. Working in Geneva with other photographers we are searching out fantastic images. We always look for some crazy shots and compositions with different models and places to get unique pictures.
« I have got a sincere crush on Angelina’s work since our first projects together. When our minds met, crazy things started happening. We produced iconic images in a kind of magic alchemy born out of a desire to revisit classical black and white imagery and make it spontaneous. » J. Spierer
Your style seems to be mainly monochrome do you sometimes use lights?
I fell in love with Leica monochrome. I just love to see a world like this – it’s more pronounced. Of course, there are situations where you can’t express red lipstick with black and white but then I try to look at the emotional side to show how it has been put on. Like a backstage process. I think black and white for backstage moments fits just perfectly.
Lighting depends on the situation and when I need to shoot, what is the light condition at that moment. But my main camera step right now is the Leica M10 camera with flash on it and I take Leica SL2 with Profoto (m10 or m10B) studio lights. In one of my last productions with the Lili Elbe Show, I use full studio light sets, with different softboxes, reflectors and build black background. It was very interesting but at the same time a very intense project to develop different light situations to express main show elements. I really enjoy this project so much working with professional ballet artists and creating amazing images.
Where do you find your inspiration for your photoshoots and composition?
I think people themselves and places inspire me. I try to travel and see different locations; I try to imagine how I will put my model in this place or that – like full picture.
Do you like art?
I like art a lot. It’s a form of expressing and telling a story. There are many talented artists out there with different ways, styles. In my new project, I would like to mix photography with artwork, it’s my new mood board for Portugal.
So Angelina you mentioned your camera a few times please can you list your cameras for your main shoots.
Leica M10 (monochrome) is always with me.
Leica SL 2 More for the studio.
Leica M10P Traveling with as spare one.
I have mainly 2 cameras with me at any photo session.
Leica M10 Monochrome with lens 28. For Leica SL2, my favourite is fixed Lens 50 and Lens 35. Additional I take with me Leica M10P I have an amazing lens of 50mm.
Many photographers now exhibit work and also sell prints, your work seems to be suitable for both prints and exhibitions. Have you been involved in an exhibition of your work at all?
This summer I had my first exhibition “The Monochrome Night” in Geneva at Gallerie Fahid Taghavi and the book presentation at Leica store Geneve. It was a Masterclass project with photographer Jeremy Spierer. We developed different scenarios with models to challenge the special Leica M monochrome camera by Lenny Kravitz.
Is there anything else you can tell us about you and what you are currently doing right now?
Sure, I have produced a book and the book was part of the exhibition “The Monochrome Night” project, it was presented at Leica Store Geneve this summer. It includes pictures from different photoshoots with models and backstage moments, mostly taken with Leica M monochrome. The book is available by special request. (email below)
Angelina, I would like to thank you for giving an insight into your work and your process. It has been great having you share your work with us and we wish you every success with your next piece of work.
If anyone would like to follow Angelina you use her links below. Give her a good follow and like some of her work in her socials. It’s great to share the love…
Artsy: Angelina Bertrand www.angelinabertrand.com