February 7th, 2018
Jesse Gussow

When I gaze upon the photography of Maryna Khomenko I’m immediately transported to a magical world. There is a very "Alice in Wonderland" feel to her work, like falling down the rabbit hole and coming to a magical world where your perceptions are turned on their heads. Let’s also not forget her amazing use of colour that pops out and accentuates the images. Her use of black and white immediately invokes feelings of good vs. evil, and peace and chaos.


Where are you from?

I'm from Kyiv, Ukraine. A city with a beautiful soul.



How did you get started in photography?

My way as a photographer began in 2009 when I tried to do some photo manipulations and discovered that it was hard to find exactly the images I needed on the Internet. And when I tried shooting my friends, it seemed even more fun and interesting.



Where do you find your inspiration for your photography?

Most legends and fairy tales inspire me. Also different images just come suddenly into my head and I recreate them. I have some favorite artists who also bring me much inspiration: Tim Burton, Kirsty Mitchell, Rosie Hardy, and Christian Schloe.



What do you dream of when you sleep?

My dreams are like movies! Once I was a ranger, surviving a sandstorm in wastelands of the world looking like Mad Max's.



Seems like a lot of your work are self-portraits. How do you take a self-portrait? Is it with a timer or a button?

You're right, I have a lot of self-portraits especially this year as I have a 365 days self-portrait challenge. I take it with a remote.



What's your process on a shoot? Do you have a team of people?

Mostly I work alone at home, but sometimes when I've got a crazy idea, my friends come to help me. I have a couple of great makeup artists who are always there to take part in my little madness.



Do you prefer to shoot indoors or outdoors? What are the challenges with each?

I prefer outdoors because I like to have a lot of space for my 135mm lens. Also, I like natural lighting but this year I have more indoor shootings and it's interesting, too. I can play with shadows and highlights, and use a simple background to increase attention to the subject (I didn't do that very often before).



What equipment do you use?

I use Canon 5D mark 2 and mostly my one love, a 135mm f2 lens. Sometimes I also use a 24-70mm and my new toy, a 14mm. These are nice for indoor shootings and epic panoramas.


What is your favourite colour?

It is red ,I guess. I like a harmony of red and white.



How many photos do you take on a shoot on average? How many of those do you edit?

It depends on what I shoot. If it's self-portrait I make about 20 photos and pick the best one of them. When shooting people I make 150-200 pictures and edit all that are nice (about 70%). As for weddings (yeah, that's my job too) I make about 1000 pictures including photo report.


How would you describe your photography?

Well I think it's magical :) At least I'm trying to make it magical.


What does your work say?

Imagination is one of the most beautiful and wonderful things in life. I want to remind people and myself, with my works.


If you weren't a photographer, what job would you have?

A cameraman, as it's my education.


What advice would you give to new photographer?

Never stop trying! There will be failures sometimes but don't let it stop you. Skills come with practice, lots of practice, and you have to be stronger than your inner pessimist :)


Do you prefer Fudgee-O or Oreo cookies?

I haven't tried Fudgee-O cookies in my country for now, but Oreos are good.

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