The Russian town of Essentuki is a microscopic dot that borders Georgia and Azerbaijan on the very tip of Eurasia, a place so small we never knew it existed until MA Fashion Photography graduate Turkina Faso explored it in her latest project.
Before graduating with this year’s postgraduate cohort, Turkina headed to her hometown in “the middle of nowhere” to visit old memories and start a new photography journey that addresses issues close to her. We recently talked about her projects, photography and time at LCF. Read the full interview below.
What inspires you, and how would you describe your style?
I’m inspired by things that are real to me. I’m trying to involve past experiences in my projects, hopefully they seem more real but not obvious. I’m still trying to find my personal style. It feels like it changes every month, and I don’t want to be known as a fashion photographer who does commercial jobs for designers. I want my photography to talk about social issues and take people on a journey.
Many of our alumni say MA Photography helps individuals find their personal style and creativity. Was this the same for you?
It helped me to concentrate on myself, my aims and feelings. Its really important to work and think about your real interests before you get stuck in a flow of work. The course also allowed me to embrace my crazy side, it really helped me feel confident in myself. You should never stop, do as much as you can even if it seems impossible!
Can you briefly describe your latest photography Me and Them project?
I put all my interests together and started to do several projects at the same time. Me and Them: Back home with Alice was a personal experiment between my sister and I. We explored blindness, fashion and the idea of Me and Them: Transient Torque about hybridisation. All of them are linked to real issues and part of some research which I want to further expand in the future. The story ‘Back Home With Alice’ was based on my childhood memories. Its a spirit of my past, a time when I was growing and becoming who am I today.
I went back to my hometown in Russia in the middle of nowhere (Essentuki city, North Caucasus) and tried to imaging Alice as if it was me 15 years ago. It is not some kind of precise reconstruction of photographs or particular moments, it is a narrative of real memories mixed with experience, becoming a new reality in my head. She lives in the same house, walks to the same places, she even has similar interests. Its kind of a fake documentary about her and me together.
Reflecting back at your time at LCF, what were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was keeping yourself in the photography and fashion community. It can be hard finding new people to work with, losing your mind to constant inquiries, then dividing up your real interests and what you aim to do. You need to be hungry for new things and challenges, don’t fall asleep in the middle of Oxford Street because your so tired!
What about your project, Me and Them: Transient Torque?
The idea of my project Me and Them: Transient Torque came from my previous experience and research about reality and its changing in time. The body is a part of evolution, it changes and adopts a contemporary state. The project was a series of pictures with disabled people. They all had special needs, but technology allows them to be on the same stage as others. I found it interesting to visualise the idea of birth and living, and also how we value a human when their living compared to when they die. In between birth and death, our bodies don’t only get older, they also become special depending on certain situations. Technology is starting to change humans, we don’t only adapt to nature, we’ve also started adapting to synthetic environment, this process is starting to become symbiotically.
What tips can you give photography students leaving LCF, what’s the best way of growing your reputation?
Be clear and honest, respect yourself and others. This industry is so small, don’t waste your time on bad projects and rude or ungrateful clients.
What was your top five highlights of being MA Photography student in London?
People to collaborate with.
Libraries to read, explore and get inspired in.
Connections to work after university.
London’s youth vibe.