Give us a small intro about yourself – who’s the person behind the pictures?
I’ve been living in Moscow, Russia all my life, but I was born in Kazakhstan. I mostly shoot in the US or Europe because the industry and all the right people are there. Whenever I’m in Moscow I either hang with my friends and just rest in between trips, or I shoot some random stuff if I’m the city for longer than a week. Sometimes I don’t even take my camera out the backpack when I’m home. That’s weird. Lack of inspiration, I guess.
So, you just won the Best of Instagram Category in February, how does that feel?
I’m really excited that I have reserved my spot in the finals! I’m now looking forward to submitting my photos to other categories in May, to test them against the judges as well.
Do you use Instagram for your career, or more to have fun and share experiences?
I’d say my Instagram account is a mix of everything. It’s obviously made for fun first and to show all the beautiful locations I get to travel to. I don’t mind posting photos of myself and sharing stories of my friends partying, though I’m pretty selective with what I post.
You made the top 275 of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 at the age of 23, what impact did that have?
Well, it didn’t make me instafamous or anything but it sure did give me some needed motivation to keep doing what I do and gave me a better feeling of what judges are looking for. Also, having a photo printed in the Red Bull Illume book alongside other 274 amazing images simply made me happy. Some friends of mine and people who I didn’t even know would tag me in their stories or send me photos of themselves with the book every once in a while, which was pretty fun.
How did it feel taking on so many established adventure and action sports photographers at such a young age, were you nervous?
I didn’t really stress about other photographers’ submissions. I mean, I expected all those photos to be insane so I just wanted to see how people from a non-snowboard industry would react to my work. Also, I almost blew the submission deadline. That was ridiculous actually. I was on a trip in the mountains when I got a phone call and the guy said ‘Hey Dasha, we saw that you’ve signed up but we don’t see anything submitted from you. And just for your information, we extended the deadline for another 12 hours’. Of course, that was the first thing I did when I got back down to the hotel! I wasn’t sure if any of my photos would make it through, especially when I made a selection so chaotically, but somehow one of them did.
What advice would you give to young photographers that are thinking about entering the new Emerging Category?
Don’t compare your work to other people’s.
From your experience, would you recommend the Image Quest 2019 to young photographers as a way to get noticed?
For sure. Starting with motivation and inspiration that you would get from taking part in this, then some social media hype, and ending with a possible exhibition traveling around the world is all together a great exposure and experience.
Did you choose snowboarding or did snowboarding choose you?
Good question. I’ve never been asked about snowboarding this way. On the one hand, it’s me because I was studying at university and was trying to go snowboard once a month and eventually I escaped and combined snowboarding with photography which led into having a job as an action sports photographer. On the other hand, I didn’t know snowboarding existed until I was 16 years old or so. I quit playing tennis and fell in love with snowboarding after randomly watching some of the snowboard movies and magazines and actually trying to ride down the hill outside of Moscow.
Are you excited to see women making big moves in the sport, both in front of and behind the camera?
Always! Especially in front of the camera. The girls are seeending it these days. So much progress within this winter season, it’s crazy!
Describe a typical day shooting…
I’m gonna describe one of the days from our trip last week; Landed in Sochi, Russia, took a car and drove it across the border to Abkhazia at 7am, just over 2 hours later we were at the lake at the bottom of the mountain, then we got picked up by two sleds where we had another 18km ride deep into the mountains, reached the base at around 12pm. After lunch, we grabbed our snowshoes/splitboards and went up to explore the mountain, got a couple shots and rode back down to the base at 6PM. Then we made a stove, ate dinner, went to bed. We had no hot water due to low water level in the river the whole time we were there so that was quite a challenge. We were seriously in the middle of nowhere with no phone service for 5 days, but I loved it!
See more from Dasha.. follow her on Instagram!
Want to join her in the finals? Submit to Best of Instagram by SanDisk