I put probably the photographer’s best portrait as the header, since it’s in a format that suffers in WordPress themes like mine. It was my introduction to Laila Kazakeviča Schmitt, since it appeared in Child Photo Competition‘s Week 67 Inspiring Monday compilation. Laila is yet another excellent Latvian photographer (from Riga), now married and living in Haguenau, right on the French – German border in Alsace. The other Latvian photographer that I’ve featured prominently is Olesja Mueller-Astrauskas, who became an industry-renowned headshot specialist in the States, giving it all up to concentrate on editorials – see the creativity she’s capable of:
……..and don’t worry, nobody spiked your morning coffee/bedtime cocoa: it’s a zonkey: a donkey-zebra cross – not even boring old Photoshop (well, maybe the snow is…..the model is Julia Mae Lindsey from a Hooligans Magazine editorial by Olesja entitled “Winter”, see Julia’s image-link below – @juliamae138 – to find out why she’s called HooHoo – and yes, incredibly, her eyes do seem to be bigger than her mouth).
Laila has two daughters, who provide most of her girl portraiture – up against competition from her two other passions: greyhounds and horses – and her job as a baby portraitist for Boutchou Photo in Haguenau. Just to give the post some shape, I’ll start with her portraits of the girls together (semi-nudity alert: please leave any prejudices at the door – the two I’m referring to are exquisite works of fine-art photography, in my opinion probably superior to Sirène):
Laila has also managed to combine two of her passions – the girls and animals – in a touching (and technically very difficult) session:
She’s also portrayed them with two girl cousins:
…….and took them to a workshop run by an extremely creative Russian photographer – Nadezhda/Nadegda Shibina, whom I’ve featured here:
……and this is one of Laila’s results from the tutorial:
…….rather pedestrian “fairytale” imagery – but Nadezhda herself is also getting a reputation for quasi-steampunk portrayals – she’s a mistress of atmosphere as much as anything: what Laila was looking for in Sirène (her image link shows her muse, Polina Volkova with two other models in a six-image Flipagram).
Here are the girls singly (with maybe a cousin slipped in):
…….and even an attempt at Jill Greenberg territory:
With some other portraits she shows that her Latvian roots are strong – you probably wouldn’t find a cynical French photographer being this sentimental:
……while a ballerina set seems to reflect the Russian influence on Latvian visual culture:
There’s just one small set I’d like to add – firstly because the two portraits deserve to be seen – and secondly because Laila refers to the model (not one of her daughters) as being Sarah….8 ans:
Laila manages to maintain four separate Facebook accounts as well as her site – and even links to another one that’s not up and running yet. I’ve left image links below to the two relevant photostreams (including the eight-year-old marvel) since two of the four consist of horses and babies. Here she is – a striking-looking woman – proud of her grey hair, and adoring her girls:
Continuing our story – @hooligansmagazine – featuring some of the winter special occasions favorites. @olesjamueller (photo, style, art direction), @lisatbeauty (makeup/hair) and @littlehorseontheprairie (set design, animals). Here are @isabellakairice7 and @oliviakaterice7 in @tutudumonde @ma_belle_mademoiselle #fashioneditorial #childrenphoto #kidsofinstagram #tutudumonde #mabellemademoiselle
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