What were the three most significant things that happened to you since the Winner Award Ceremony back in November?
The first one got to be the trip to Atlanta, GA, for the Big Air World Cup back in December where I was offered a job to follow Jamie Anderson for the rest of her contest season. We’ve been on some trips before, so I was extremely excited to join the journey. It was a great few months of traveling together, shooting at every top event and doing some fun stuff in-between.
Second must be the two weeks that I spent just snowboarding in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, over the Christmas holidays. This doesn't happen too often when I can simply go up and do some turns or shred in the park, so that was awesome, aIso because I was riding with my boyfriend Vlad and his friends. By the end of our time there I was able to hit the middle jump line which is pretty crazy for me! We also got a really cool sunset session going one day. I was pretty hyped to shoot at a new location and see a 9-year-old talented shredder, Nico Bondi, in person.
Last, I would say our experience volunteering during the outbreaks of COVID-19. A random circumstance brought Vlad and me to Novosibirsk in March (right when all the international snowboard events got cancelled), and none of us expected getting stuck there. So, we joined the organisation in early April after we watched the newscast covering some students who were helping elderly people in the city. It’s been an amazing and fulfilling experience being able to give back to seniors. It is something that has always been on our minds and that we would periodically bring up in conversations with each other. I’m happy we did it. If you have the opportunity, research some local organisations and try it yourself.
How did Red Bull Illume affect your professional (and personal) life?
In 2016, Red Bull Illume gave me a lot of motivation and showed me that people value my work. My submission 2019 kind of woke me up and reminded me that it’s not about the event photography, it’s about those meaningful journeys and a love for the sport and nature. Plus, the ceremony was such a good vibe, Red Bull knows how to throw a good event and bring so many talented people together. I got to see many friends I had not seen in a long time and meet new people. It was fun! Many of us kept in touch and we still support each other.
Where do you usually find inspiration/motivation for your images?
Back in the days it was the good old snowboard and skateboard magazines and movies that fueled my inspiration. Now it’s more about new destinations, people and other sports, or even something that doesn’t have anything to do with sports. New equipment also helps me to go out there and play more.
Have you ever thought about shooting other action sports or do you stick to snowboarding?
Before snowboarding, I was taking photos of BMX and skateboarding, because it was more realistic to make these happen in my hometown of Moscow which is a concrete jungle. Nowadays, I get to shoot other action sports in summer when I have time. I think it’s so much fun to explore and shoot other sports and it’s definitely something that I would look more into. Maybe even more music, urban or fashion maybe. Hit me up!
What makes your images unique in your opinion?
The colors, I would assume. This is just the most common thing that people ask me about. Also, minimalism. I can’t say all of my photos follow this style, but I’m certainly a big fan of keeping it simple.
You already talked about your personal experience during the last few months. What impact has the global situation had on your work? Is it still possible for you to shoot?
It has had a big impact. Almost all my jobs are outside Russia and my job as an action sports photographer literally depends on being able to travel. I haven’t really picked up my camera for work since February 29th. That was the last day of the Burton US Open in Vail, CO. Given the situation in Russia at the moment it’s not really possible to shoot the way I used to. It forces me to be creative and find new opportunities. While we wait it’s a good time to learn new skills and maybe explore different sports and different industries even. Though, the most important thing now is that my family and friends are staying safe and healthy.
Under "normal" circumstances: What would your plans for this year be? Any projects along the way?
Snowboard-wise, I would try to go to one of my favorite places - Folgefonna in Norway, we usually go there in late May - early June. A mandatory surf trip would’ve happened, of course. My idea was to go to California and maybe finally Hawaii, but at this point I would be glad to go to any country that reopens its borders to tourists and that has waves. There are some non-snowboard projects scheduled that I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some of them will take place later in the year.
In the Top 260 images from the Image Quest 2019 were only 4 female photographers, you included. How do you feel about the male dominated action sports photography scene?
It always depends on the people and the setting. Some days it would not even cross my mind that I’m pretty much the only girl, but other days it can be frustrating, and guys throw comments that are not ok. Some guys can be sceptical at first, having this image in their head that all girls are just drama and having a girl in the crew would ruin the “dude-vibe”. If you really mess it up, guys will be like, "Oh, girls…" and that can definitely add some pressure. Earlier this year, I was shooting at one of snowboarding’s most prestigious events, and one guy came to me and said something like “I’ve always been curious - how do you travel so much? I see you everywhere. Like, do you get paid for your photos?”. I don’t think this guy would walk up to another guy and ask the same question. I would say it’s a bit more challenging and uncomfortable, however it keeps me on my toes. It’s so cool to see that there are far more people and companies who are stoked to invite and work with girls now than it was even five years ago. Hopefully, we will see more girls in the industry in the near future!
Find more of Dasha's work on her Instagram!