These pictures are what dreams and fairytales are made of—Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova creates beautiful portraits that balance between the real and surreal. While she nails lighting, composition, and other important aspects of the craft, arguably the most impressive feature of Plotnikova's work is her feature of animals that we aren't used to seeing in fine-art photography. Like a bear. Or a moose.
While seemingly dangerous, these ideas were made possible with the help of professional animal trainers.
And even if Plotnikova includes a more "conventional" animal, every pixel of her photos radiates such rich mysticism, her work is absolutely enchanting
Plotnikova has been interested in photography since childhood. "I was fond of drawing, did courses, went to art school, and entered university for a specialty related to design. One of the subjects was photography, and completing the assignments for this course fascinated me so much, I began to explore the world of photography," she told Bored Panda.
Katerina finds inspiration in just about anything. It can even be a simple element like a dress and the rest of the photo simply builds around it. Plotnikova also gets a lot of her ideas from flea markets, secondhand stores, and even garbage bins. Sometimes people throw away stuff the artist finds simply priceless. However, more than anything, Katerina is inspired by nature—a landscape can make her fly.
The animals find their way into Plotnikova's photos in a variety of ways. "At the moment, I am collaborating with several farms," she said. "We can say they lead a 'transparent' lifestyle and are active on social media, with numerous videos where they talk about how their pets spend their days, and each follower can watch and make sure that the animals are fed and loved."
As you can see, the animals in her photos also look at ease. Comfortable. Katerina said there are a number of reasons for it. "The most important thing is that the owners of the animals inspire their confidence, they are professionals in their field, they are present next to their pet during the entire shoot and, as a rule, with a supply of treats," she explained. "This helps both the model and the animal to relax. Another thing is, in most cases, I photograph an animal in its territory next to its home."
Of course, animals don't always pose the way we want them to. Katerina said sometimes they just stand or sit on the set. For example, a deer might get hungry and it just starts eating. For them, shooting becomes lunch. If that happens, Katerina just tries to make the best out of the situation and might brush up a few things in post-production or glue a few shots together.
"To me, every detail matters. Especially the location. I can go anywhere for a good location," Katerina said.
Note: this post originally had 52 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.