«I like to explore human beauty.»
WHATEVER: How did you get started in fashion photography, and what initially drew you to this ﬁeld?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: I like photographing people because it's all about communication. Live communication. I like to explore human beauty. At ﬁrst it was hard to ﬁnd people who would agree to be photographed by an aspiring photographer, so much so that I even had to persuade my friends. After about half a year I met a manager from a modelling agency and so began my way in the ﬁeld of fashion. I began to study this direction in photography both theoretically and through shooting.
WHATEVER: Can you share a speciﬁc moment or experience in your career that deeply impacted you and inﬂuenced the direction of your work?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: When at the beginning of my journey I managed to organise a shoot with a model, attract a stylist, make-up artist, come up with an idea, I was very enthusiastic and happy. And at that moment I realised that I really like it, I like that my idea has become a material embodiment. I was really energised by the experience. And I ﬁnally realised what kind of photography I wanted to do.
WHATEVER: How do you approach building and maintaining a unique style in your photography?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: I think it's simple. All people are diﬀerent. And if you give the same task to three diﬀerent photographers, they will all give diﬀerent results. So here it is important to sincerely do what you like and what responds inside you, and of course try to make today was better than yesterday.
WHATEVER: In the era of social media and instant sharing, how do you navigate the balance between staying true to your artistic vision and meeting the demands of clients or trends?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: For me, this is still a burning question. If the customer chooses you, it means that he likes what you do. So in my opinion, it is important to focus on yourself. To be able to drown out the noise, and listen to your inner voice. Because ﬁrst and foremost, the balance should be with yourself.
WHATEVER: How do you stay updated on the latest trends in fashion and photography, and how does this inﬂuence your work?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: I used to pass through a lot of information related to art, it was books, exhibitions, communication with other artists. Also various fashion magazines, watched shows, watched colleagues in social networks, studied the history of fashion, watched ﬁlms and emphasised in them interesting light and colour solutions, from the point of view of composition. Now I try to focus on myself and as little as possible to look around.
WHATEVER: If you could collaborate with any fashion designer, model, or creative professional, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: Martin Margiela. I really like what Maison Martin Margiela has produced and is producing, in terms of clothes, shows and shoots, the incognito image he has created around him.
WHATEVER: We also know that in addition to photography, you do color grading. You have a huge experience working with a variety of productions, mainly for TV series and music videos. How did you ﬁrst become interested in the art of color grading, and what led you to pursue a career as a movie colorist?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: I was told about this profession by a friend of mine who is a ﬁlm director. I liked the name and started to study what this profession is, and the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to become a colourist. And most importantly, it's also an art profession. And I love to create visual images. And to this day I continue to develop as a colourist and as a photographer. In my opinion they are related professions. At ﬁrst my experience as a photographer helped me to become a colourist. And now my experience as a colourist helps me to develop as a photographer.
WHATEVER: Every ﬁlm has its own unique atmosphere and mood. How do you approach creating a distinct visual identity through color grading, and how do you adapt your style to different genres?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: To be honest, I don't think I have a particular style. I probably don't even think about it. It is more important to get a result that would satisfy me and satisfy the client as well. I put the question in this way, what can I do for the project as a colourist to make the audiovisual project harmonious.
WHATEVER: If you had to describe your photography style using three words, what would they be, and how do these words encapsulate your artistic vision?
ILIA ZAVIALOV: Tough question. To be honest, I've never tried to describe my style. But I think it's romantic, mysterious and natural.