Sirène by Laila Kazakevica Schmitt (Pausing to Admire Olesja Mueller and Nadezhda Shibina)

Sirène by Laila Kazakevica Schmitt (Pausing to Admire Olesja Mueller and Nadezhda Shibina)

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:



Москва! Пополните ваше портфолио красивыми кадрами!! Стартует новый цикл уроков по съёмке. 13 мая 11:00 – масштабный урок по съёмке "Мой мир балета". Детская съемка. Постановка с большим кол-вом моделей, много балета не бывает!!! 13 мая 15:00 – Сказочная съемка на улице! Съемка в Терлецком парке с лошадьми. Модель сказочна прекрасна!!! 20 мая 11:00 – жанр НЮ. Сюжетная съемка!!! 20 мая 15:00 – Приключения Тома Сойера. Детская Съемка на улице. Занятия уникальны и интересны, как профи, так и желающим постичь что-то новое и интересное. Запись и все вопросы по тел: 8-916-517-15-67 #мастеркласснадеждышибиной #фотография #workshopshibina #shibinaworkshop #50mm #70_200mm #135mm #85mm #тамгдеживутсказки #странаШибиляндия #мирсказок #надеждашибина #shibina #shibinanadegda #сказочныйфотограф #russia

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6 thoughts on “Sirène by Laila Kazakevica Schmitt (Pausing to Admire Olesja Mueller and Nadezhda Shibina)

  1. It’s obviously heavily tweaked – to make it look like she’s got a tail, as well as the atmosphere – and I really think she took Nedezhda’s tutorial to learn how to make her photography more “fairytale” – should be some interesting developments….if I remember to check back 😌😌😌😌

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful find, I was not aware of this artist. In my opinion the header image is better than the other images. I am surprised for the need of a nudity warning. Have you encountered many complainers, which then caused you to include the warning?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just browsing the Child Photo Competition site entries, when I noticed “Sirène” : it’s frustrating, because you often find a lovely portrait, follow it up, and find it’s a hard-working mid-West baby/wedding snapper who came up with a winner almost by accident. Laila is that classic driven artist who finds great inspiration in her daughter/muses – and I’d never censor a portrait produced in that situation. I’ve only received one vitriolic written attack – and I tried to explain my rationale, without reacting to the extreme language. With nudes/semi-nudes in general, I know I’ve left out a couple (from Spanish fashion posts, for example), but only if the shot itself wasn’t particularly good, and I didn’t want to feel personally that I was only publishing it in order to make a point to small-minded bigots.
      You’re probably right about the respective merits of “Sirène” and the two straight portraits…….but I’ll just nail my belief in the intellectual and moral justification (for publishing fine art nudes and semi-nudes) to the masthead by reposting my particular favourite – an incredibly lovely piece of work:


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