Kati Turkina

Image of Kati Turkina

Kati is an MA Fashion Photography alumna working as a freelance photographer worldwide. Here she tells us about her unconventional path to photography.

Could you introduce yourself and your current role?  

I’m Kati Turkina, but for photography I use the name Turkina Faso. I am a fashion photographer, working as a freelancer, worldwide. I spend most of the time in Moscow, Russia and London. Originally I am from Southern Russia.  

How did you find the MA Fashion Photography at LCF? 

I worked in journalism for five years. When the magazine stopped, I thought it is the right time to study. It was my dream to just concentrate on photography. I did a lot of research about courses in different countries, universities, schools. My final decision was to go to UAL. I spoke to alumni and read articles. I watched a few videos about the course and Paul Bevan in particular. Everything seemed so great.

Why did you choose to study at LCF?  

The LCF MA Fashion Photography was the best course for me. I wanted to develop my research skills, be in a new society, closer to the fashion industry and meet new people.  

What skills did you learn and are using now?

Most of things that I do in my commercial and personal work I got from university. This year gave me an understanding of the most important processes in the industry and in my everyday work. 

No one will tell you how to do this or that, go there or here. It is all your responsibility. But if you want you will find everything.

It also helped to improve my organisational skills. We used to do a lot of presentations (of ourselves, our current projects, future plans), discussions. Every submission was stressful, but important. Now I can present my work, I can speak about my photography, my aims, interests. I feel more confident and independent. I can see my strengths and weaknesses, analyse better and behave accordingly.

How did you get to where you are today? 

I was a medical student for twelve years ago. After two years in medicine I left and started to explore new areas. We didn’t have any photography education in universities, so I went for Journalism, but always did photography on the side and felt that I was a photographer.

Since then, I found my thing, my way to dream. Moreover, I can say they came true one by one, because every day I do at least something small to support this process. Also people are so important in this process. When you have friends and colleagues, you are more powerful, inspired and together you can be really strong and successful.  

What were your biggest challenges along the way? 

During my study it was a big challenge to be in UK, to live alone in completely different environment, try to make extra money and understand the language.

Our course is for people who want to discover themselves. It is not only about technicalities or fashion, nice pictures of models or commercial stuff. It is something really personal. I was working with my identity and real interests, with realities of pressure and competition. I think to find yourself is the biggest challenge. 

Tell us about an average day at your job?

I wake up and do yoga. And after I go to a shoot or do my computer work, retouching, mood boards, letters. Sometimes I work day by day without any gaps, but sometimes I have completely free time for my personal things. This is a really good thing about my job - I am flexible, I am free and depend only on my own schedule. 

How would you define your own style?

I’m still trying things, I don’t want to create boundaries, so I work with objects, clothes, bodies. I use all those things to create my stories. All of them are personal although you never will tell this. I think that all things we produce are kind of self-portraits in a way.

What is your top tip for people who want to get into roles like yours? 

Work as much as you can, explore yourself, do not stop asking. Even if you do commercial projects for clients, do not forget about your own aims and be honest with people and clear with yourself. Enjoy!