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A conversation with Yana Rits

How did your journey start in photography?  What sparked your fascination for photography?
Really simple, I got a present – a photo camera. Then I realised that my pictures look very different from other people’s snapshots and I took it further. Although it took me a while to realise that this is where my heart is.  Photography is rather magic – its frozen time and possibility to tell a story within one frame.

Can you name some of the artists that have inspired you? And please tell us your favourite art piece from them. And why?
Photographer Herb Ritts. I don’t have a favourite one, mostly all of them are amazing examples of turning a human body into an art piece. The way he worked with form, shape and shades is astonishing. Another inspiration is Salvador Dali – his surreal worlds are so unique and multilayered that you can get lost there for hours.

What I have found fascinating about your work, it is how you use your body to express yourselves in your photography.  What is your process?
Locations usually inspire me and “suggest” a new theme for a picture. Locations are my stage where I create stories and links between my characters and position them as figures on the chess board. I like being on my own when I create pictures, hence I use my own body. Not having clothes or colour instantly take images out of the real world and add another dimension to them.

What do you think is the role of an artist?
A warrior, a witness, a documentarian, an interpreter, a prophet, a messenger … Whatever role they choose for themselves. Mine is to play devil’s advocate. If i feel for example that the movement against objectifying a female body is taking ridiculous extreme forms (like forbidding female only! nipples on Instagram), I’ll go against it and turn my characters into objects of pure sexual desire and show as many nipples as i can fit into the picture

How would you like to be perceived as an artist?
With no prejudices against human body as an artistic tool. With an open heart, mind and ability to smile at yourself.

What has pushed you to go out there and exhibit your work?
Lack of femininity celebration so to speak. I also am a cinematographer in film. Its a profession, which doesn’t allow femininity to flourish, quite the opposite – it suppresses femininity to accommodate it to the demands of the industry. So photography has become the way to celebrate it for myself and for others.

What are some of the topics that you like to explore in your art?
Time and space, femininity, sexuality, humour.

What is the piece that you have produced, which has been subjected to debate?
The very first one of the nude series – Angel, Demon and Slut – because of the arguable nature of a woman which i stated.

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