Photographer Karizza Challenges Fashion Industry Standards
Ukrainian born photographer Karizza has had her worked featured in editorials such as Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, and People Magazine. As a former model and makeup artist with ten years experience under her belt, Karizza has a strong understanding on directing her models towards her own vision. Karizza currently uses her experiences to run her own coaching agency, which focuses on portraying emotions and storytelling through photography. Karizza’s primary focus is body positivity. Her desire is to capture a unique essence with her models, all while showing the beauty in diverse body types and ages.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How would you describe your own work?
Karizza: My aim is to support diversity in all possible ways, to ruin old standards of beauty and show the world that people of various ages, plus sizes, and disabilities are also beautiful. They can be successful, needed, and admired despite stupid standards. I want to create new vision.
Jennifer Gutierrez: Who or what influences you and your work?
Karizza: Everything around me influences my work. I love to create pictures full of symbolism and meaning. For me, photography is more than just the photo, it is a kind of way to help people to notice their beauty and inspire them to follow their dreams and aims!
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you frame your models within a shot?
Karizza: I always use my intuition and never actually follow the rules. Every model is unique, the same as picture. I mean, if everybody would follow the rules in art, we would never got famous photographers and artists and everybody would create super boring things and the world would never get new styles in art. It is super important for me to feel my model, to find her super power and pull it out.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How can you find a pose that can compliment what a model is wearing?
Karizza: I am a former model and posing coach in the present time. For me, posing is an art and the model is an actress. It is super important to create the mood of the shooting and explain it to the model. Every pose has meaning and can express different feelings. So when I tell the story to the model, she gets the mood and this is the key to the right posing.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How can you find the right environment or location for a photoshoot?
Karizza: Before I start shooting my projects, I create a mood board and try to understand if I want to do a fashion story. If the answer is yes, I will choose one location with many different spots for shooting to not lose time on relocation. I come back a couple of days prior to do a test and see if this location matches my vision. All photos should be in one single style. Tone, lighting, and locations should match the entire style of the shoot. Sometimes, it is much easier than people think and I don’t need to actually be in the forest to show it in my picture. Light and angles can do miracles. I have a lot of projects where you can see jungles and is in fact created in a super tiny room with proper light, some plants and fog machine. I try to say that we can create whatever we want if we switch on our mind and creativity! It is absolutely unnecessary to waste a lot of money on locations which are not be even seen in pictures.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you evoke emotions in your own personal works?
Karizza: To evoke emotions, I need to be completely in love with my model and have a particular concept for her in my mind. People love to see pure feelings and some kind of drama. My models gain confidence when they see how I admire them and they start to pose in a very special way showing their hidden features. I guess people who look at pictures see this magic.
Jennifer Gutierrez: What are some important elements that a fashion photographer need to consider when shooting a picture?
Karizza: A photographer should understand the aim and mood of the shooting. They should also do research about the client. After understanding the client's mission, style and character, it is possible to create a masterpiece. For example, if we are shooting a campaign for Christian Dior, it is important to understand who is a woman for Christian Dior, what is her style and mood. We start researching and looking through all campaigns so it is super clear.
That Christian Dior woman is classy, rich, elegant, serious, sensual but not too sexy. In other words, she looks like the First Lady. If we compare her to a Dolce and Gabbana woman, we will see a huge difference. A Dolce and Gabbana woman is passionate, bright, wants to be noticed, confident and super sexy. I met a lot of creative directors of the fashion brands who didn’t even understand the style of their own brand, so that’s why it is important for the photographer to do research. The photographer should create their own mood board.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How are you able to hook a person’s interest in a picture? How do you keep your audiences engaged?
Karizza: My clients and my audience know that I Iove works with meaning. I love to create complicated, provocative projects full of details and symbols. This is what keeps people’s interest. Everyone can find something personal in most of my works. I don't see the sense in just beautiful photos. I mean, it is cool but it will soon be forgotten. I think a huge mistake is copying someone’s popular work and expecting that people will also love it. Well of course it is possible this way, but the photographer loses his uniqueness and will turn into a shadow of the other photographer.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do your pictures maintain a dialogue with each other?
Karizza: My pictures have one aim so they have non-stopping dialogue with each other.
Jennifer Gutierrez: With your portfolio, how do you keep a consistent theme?
Karizza: My works are divided based on complicated, symbolic projects and forcing the model to step out of her comfort zone and show hidden character and features. I try to be true to myself and create projects that I believe in. I was lucky to find my personal style, so it is not that a big deal to keep a consistent theme in my portfolio.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How does composition and lighting reinforce storytelling within photography?
Karizza: I can say that lightning and composition is 70% of success in photography. Photographers can have great ideas, but without needed skills and light knowledge, it can be super difficult to turn an idea into reality!
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you fulfill your vision and the client’s vision?
Karizza: Client's wishes are always at the top, but it is also important to understand if we are a match and if I can really be helpful. This is why we arrange a meeting after I do my personal research. Sometimes, what happens is that clients don’t understand what he/she wants, and of course it makes the work process much complicated. I guess the most important thing is being on the same page and talking about details, because it creates the whole picture as we all know.
Jennifer Gutierrez: What words of advice would you give for future fashion photographers?
Karizza: In the beginning, I would recommend finding a personal, unique style. Many aspiring photographers think they know what they want to shoot, but in fact in most of the case it will transform in something else. It’s because they usually just love someone's work and want to make the same. So, I would highly recommend trying all possible styles and catch your real feelings about it. Don't follow the trends but create your own! Sometimes it takes years to find personal style, but it’s worth it. It is super important to understand if you want to create art or earn money because in the beginning of the career, sometimes it’s absolutely different things.
And last and I guess very important advice, don't waste your money on the workshops where famous photographers teach you how to shoot. It is absolutely useless because nobody can teach how to get a vision if you don't have yours. Famous photographers will teach you how to shoot like him, but I absolutely don't understand why you need to copy him. But of course, it is important to take light workshops and photoshop classes because these skills will help you to bring your vision to life!
Jennifer Gutierrez: What are some of the things you can do to push your creativity?
Karizza: Sometimes I choose five to six photographers who I like and who create absolutely gorgeous and different styles which I never tried before. I create something similar; not to copy them, but to extend my artistic borders. I can assure you that it is super helpful. This way, I can always create something new and get new chapters in my vision.