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“I grew up in a gray ugly city, and I always wanted to escape from it to wonderful worlds. And I used photography and Photoshop for this.”

A Visionary Photographer’s Journey

Kristina Makeeva, known in the Instagram realm as @hobopeeba, is a photographer and traveler. She perceives her central mission as evoking the wonder of the world that too often goes unnoticed. She contends that once individuals cultivate an appreciation for the beauty surrounding them, their lives immediately attain greater vibrancy and joy. Makeeva firmly believes that there is an inherent magic in simplicity, a belief that guides her artistic vision.

At the age of 16, Makeeva discovered her passion for photography. Although her academic background at university was not specifically in photography, it included relevant subjects such as graphic design, web design, and mastery of Adobe software. As a student, she took the initiative to enhance her presentations with Photoshop-edited images, even for courses like physics, demonstrating an early affinity for visual art. She started her journey with Photoshop at the tender age of 14 and began photography two years later. Her first camera, a Panasonic video camera, provided images with a resolution of 640×480 pixels in JPG format—a humble start that marked the beginning of a fruitful career. The influence of her university studies in graphic design, a field which requires the creation of unique worlds from scratch, is palpable in her body of work.

Makeeva’s initiation into the world of travel began only five years ago, serving not as a form of leisure but rather as a vital component of her profession and passion. The new perspectives she gained from her travels dramatically influenced her artistic approach, broadening her understanding of the world, sparking inspiration, and fostering tolerance.

In her work, the term “magic” is a frequent descriptor, reflecting Makeeva’s lifelong aspiration to capture the fantastical. Growing up in a gray and unremarkable city near Moscow, she sought solace in fairy tales, from the tales of hobbits and Moomin trolls, to Alice in Wonderland, The Silmarillion, and the narratives of Russian authors like Max Fry, among other fantasy stories.

As Makeeva matured, her interpretation of these tales evolved and became more nuanced. Her travels endowed her work with an added dimension—imbuing it with the cultural essence of the countries she visited or read about. For instance, her project featuring flowing fabrics subtly exhibits Asian influences, reminiscent of the Chinese or Japanese tales featuring maidens with wind-blown fabrics. This element can also be traced back to popular culture references like the Japanese anime Sailor Moon, and the enchanting tales of Miyazaki. Makeeva’s work, thus, serves as a testament to the power of stories and cultures, morphing reality into her own unique fairy tale.

Kristina Makeeva: Celebrating Simple Magic Things

Kristina Makeeva’s creative inspiration draws from a diverse spectrum of sources, encompassing established artists as well as anonymous individuals whose work happens to resonate with her. Makeeva’s aesthetic palette is defined by its affinity for vibrancy, reflecting her broad and inclusive artistic ethos.

Her perspective on the influence of the external world reflects a nuanced understanding of the interconnectedness of experiences, emphasizing the cumulative impact of these stimuli on her work. Makeeva’s thematic focus consistently revolves around highlighting the extraordinary within the mundane, an approach encapsulated in her project, “Simple Magic Things.”

This endeavor encapsulates Makeeva’s pursuit of revealing the inherent magic interwoven into everyday life. The philosophy underpinning the project revolves around the belief that magic isn’t exclusive to exotic locations or grand spectacles, but equally present in quotidian moments — be it in homegrown apple orchards or in the tranquility of sipping herbal tea as the sun sets. The project celebrates the transformative potential of simple objects, like a piece of fabric, becoming conduits of enchantment, underscoring Makeeva’s conviction in the limitless possibilities inherent in life.

Makeeva perceives photography as a powerful medium with therapeutic potential. Her work has received heartfelt responses from followers who found solace and respite from their personal struggles through her art. Such interactions affirm her commitment to her craft and her ambition to infuse the world with the light of beauty — a sentiment that, while grand, is authentic to her artistic vision.

In essence, Makeeva’s photography seeks to imbue each frame with light and wonder, intending to stimulate viewers’ perception of the world, encouraging them to find magic in the ordinary, and to see life itself as a canvas of endless possibilities.

Embracing Reality and Fantasy

The essence of Kristina Makeeva’s professional photographic career is the joy of constant discovery – the unveiling of new professions, geographic locales, and a myriad of diverse cultures and individuals. However, she also acknowledges the tangible hardships intrinsic to her field, such as the cumbersome nature of photographic equipment and the potential hurdles posed by international customs regulations. This is particularly true when transporting drones, which often require permits, or carrying a significant number of lenses, which can raise suspicions at border checkpoints.

Raised in a city she perceived as grey and uninviting, Makeeva yearned for the splendor of more captivating realms. It was photography and her adept manipulation of Photoshop that ultimately provided her the conduit to these fantastical worlds.

In Makeeva’s artistry, an overarching theme is the simultaneous existence of reality and fantasy. Her compositions often evoke a sense of being on a familiar planet but viewed through a fresh, intrinsically altered perspective. The specific focal point of her images is flexible, ranging from something as humble as a glass orb to a more grandiose subject.

Her methodology varies as well: sometimes, she produces a pristine shot devoid of post-processing, while at other times she meticulously assembles her universe from segmented components. One vital element in her process is the strategic use of backgrounds, providing a solution when the subject matter does not naturally fit within the camera lens but can be integrated seamlessly in post-processing.

Throughout her career, Makeeva has accumulated a vast archive of elements—objects, aircraft, flora, textiles, various weather phenomena, and more—that she readily utilizes in her compositions. These personally curated stock photos provide the building blocks from which she crafts her fantastical universes. Moreover, her studio at home serves as a space where she can effortlessly add elements that were absent at the original location of the shoot, such as ribbons or various props, to perfect her visual narratives.

Kristina Makeeva: Capturing the Essence of Light and Wonder

In the realm of photography, the ability to deftly manage unpredictable situations and conditions is key. A popular location can be teeming with people, and atmospheric conditions can swing from searing heat to biting cold. The solution lies in an efficient shoot, followed by diligent post-production retouching to eliminate any detracting elements.

The process sometimes necessitates engaging a model before or after a trip, attending to the minute details that culminate in a compelling image. To the viewer, the art must inspire the same unquestioning belief reminiscent of childhood movie experiences. The art of photography is indeed steeped in a delicate deception. It is a matter of choice and frame, selecting an awe-inspiring temple while purposely excluding the detritus or dust-laden mopeds that may litter the surroundings.

This concept was vividly demonstrated in a unique photo project where the photographer consciously turned their back on iconic sights. It’s an intriguing concept for those confined to their homes, but experienced travellers often have a keen sense of what’s behind them. Makeeva has a deep-seated affection for capturing the dynamic interplay of flowing fabrics and dresses, set against breathtaking landscapes. She also has an eye for photographing animals, demonstrating her versatility and encompassing passion for the craft.

Throughout her career, Makeeva has identified four photographic projects that hold a special place in her heart. These include her series on women from around the globe adorned in billowing dresses, the surreal beauty of Lake Baikal, a narrative on an African princess, and a whimsical portrayal of her regal feline, Cutlet. Each project has resonated deeply with her audience, a testament to the emotion and soul that she invests into her work.

The nature of an artist’s work often resists stringent future planning. Artists thrive on living in the present, soaking in experiences, and channeling their emotions into their creations. However, Makeeva harbours an ambitious aspiration: to orchestrate a photography project set against the vast expanse of outer space. She remains hopeful that this dream will soon materialize into reality.

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