Daria Sannikova's View of Young St Petersburg

Welcome to Hero of the Week, an ongoing series sharing stories from some of the best photographers in the Pexels community.

Currently studying to be a produce at the Institute of Film and Television, Daria Sannikova is also a photographer capturing captivating views of what it's like to be in your early 20s in St Petersburg.

Shooting on both 35mm film and digital, Daria's photos balance playfully staged shots with perfectly candid realism. We talked to Daria about her inspirations and why sometimes grainy, low-quality photos are her favorites.

Pexels: How did you get started with photography?

Daria: I've always loved taking pictures, but three years ago my friend gave me his Canon 600d and I started learning this business.

What camera gear do you use?

I use Sony Alpha a7 Ilce-7b and Sony Sonar T 35mm f/2.8 lens. Also, I use some film cameras such as Olympus mju ii and Canon 3000N.

Interesting that my film photos on Pexels are more popular (are downloaded and used more often) than digital, although they have worse quality.

What's your favorite type of photo to shoot, and why?

Street photography is my favorite genre because I like history and I like to learn something about people, places, cultures, habits, etc through art: photo, video, music, and others.

I love to be involved in some life stories through the lens of my camera. I love this moment when you catch something that disappears in a second; when you leave some people and occasions in our common history. And I really like to make street photos with a film camera.

Also, I like art photos. I can think up some story or image for several days or weeks and then gather a team of interested people and make something abstract or figurative, for instance. I like to play with colors, shapes, light, poses on set. I like post-production too, when you can change the pictures for your needs.

Photo by Darya Sannikova · View Photo

What inspires your photography?

I'm inspired by people (who's not?), environments, interesting light, strong stories (from life or cinema).

Tell us about a favorite photo on your Pexels profile.

Photo by Darya Sannikova · View Photo

I think this is a hard question for all photographers because every photo means something special for you.

I chose one of my last works because it was filmed in New York City and I associate it with good memories. It is poor quality but you can still see life in the picture. And I like it.

Who are some other photographers or artists who inspire your work?

Helmut Newton is my favorite photographer of all time!

Also, I like Ren Hang, Emmie America, and many street photographers; for instance, Harry Gruyaert, Stanley Greene, Arlene Gottfried, Gil Rigoulet.

I like Edward Hopper's art. I like Asian artists and their perception of art. I like the American street style (I recommend the documentary Everybody Street from 2013).

Cinema inspires me too, of course. My favorite directors are Denis Villeneuve, David Fincher, and Jean-Marc Vallée.

Photo by Darya Sannikova · View Photo

What is one goal you have for your photography?

I know that it's not my main life's work. I think that photography will accompany me all my life because this is my way of expressing myself.

I think I would like to be famous in this area, but it's not so important. Maybe by the end of my life, I wanna have a certain number of photos that I will look at and say, "it was worth it."

Pexels Heroes is our invite-only community of the top photographers on Pexels. Find out more and apply to join here.

Photo by Darya Sannikova · View Photo

Photo by Darya Sannikova · View Photo

Photo by Darya Sannikova · View Photo

Say Thanks To Darya Sannikova

Written by the Pexels Team · Jun 02

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