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Interview with Marina Kazakova from Italy – Winner in The Portrait Category | B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2015, Second Half

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Marina Kazakova was one of those photographers in the Second Half of B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2015 who left a huge impression with her submissions. She is a fresh, talented, emerging photographer with an old soul. Meet Marina Kozakova, The Winner of The Portrait Category – B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half!


Q: Dear Marina, first of all we want to congratulate one more time for achieving incredible success on B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2015!  You won the 1st place in our most popular category on the competition: Portrait Photography ! Did you expect this?

A: Thank you for your compliments, I really appreciate it. I didn’t know what to expect, but I can’t hide I strongly hoped I would win.


Q: We are so happy to have you here and find out more about you and your work. How old are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

A: I was born in Soviet Union 48 years ago. I spent all of my life moving from one place to another: Soviet Union, East Germany, Kazakhstan. In the last few years I lived in Moscow and from 2011 I have been living in Italy with my family. I’ve studied journalism and I used to work in Moscow Jazz Ambient. In fact, for the most part of my life my soul was touched by listening, but from the moment I’ve taken a camera in my hands, three years ago, I’ve started to use also my sight. I have four babies of different age and I’m already a grandmother. All of my kids are a huge inspiration to me.


Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph “Buona Sera”?  What’s the story behind this photograph?

A: We came back tired from the beach, the sunset in the sky was amazing with a very beautiful light. I asked to my son to be my model for a shoot. He was so tired that he sat down as you can see in the picture. They’re so used to be in a photo shooting that they feel free behind the lens, living their lives without any posing.

"Buona Sera" by Marina Kozakova

“Buona Sera” by Marina Kozakova | 1st Place in The Portrait Category – B&W Child 2015, Second Half


Q: Do you like to travel? What’s your favorite place?

A: I always say that I live my travels three times: when I dream and plan it, when I’m really there and when I live it again through my photos. I adore Tuscany, especially Casentino, I consider it as one of the most beautiful places, but I know that there are so many other destinations to see in the world and I’d like to do that with my children. For this reason I can say that my favorite place is where I haven’t been yet.

Interview with Marina Kozakova, winner in the B&W Child Photo Competition

“liya and Yuriy” by Marina Kazakova | Honorable Mention in The Fine Art Category – B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half


Q: What kind of music do you enjoy the most?

A: I love Jazz, Funk and Rhythm & Blues.

kids hiding under the bed


Q:  Who are some photographers that you admire?

A: My beloved photographer is certainly Evgeny Mokhorev, his black and white photos often portray naked subjects in artistic poses. Even in this way photos can have a social subtext.

Another grate photographer is Joel Peter Witkin, from his works I managed to understand that terrible things can be truly beautiful.

Last but not least I want to mention Anders Petersen, he has always showed in his work that love doesn’t have social borders.

Marina Kozakova self portrait with her child


Q: What inspires you?

A: I’m inspired by emotions, either good or bad.

fine art portrait of a curled hair boy


Q: Where did you learn photography? Do you have a formal education in photography?

A: If you have the will you can do that. I apply it as a philosophy of life. In that case, your age or lack of formal education do not mean a thing. That’s what happened to me, I’m self taught photographer pushed from his passion to learn and study this wonderful form of art.

Black and white portrait of a young boy


Q: What equipment do you use?

A: Nikon D750 with Nikkor 50mm f/1,8 and 24/-120mm f4g

Interview with Marina Kozakova


Q: Do you edit your photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom?

A:I’m used to editing my photos by Lightroom, I find it powerful and easy.

Running boy


Q: Do you work with clients too? Did you enter the business side of photography?

A: I’m not in a business side but I’m thinking about it.

Photography by Marina Kozakova


Q: Do you sell fine art prints?

A: I’ve printed it for the portfolio reviews but never for sale.

Mother and photographer Marina Kozakova


Q: Your work has a fine art quality. That being said, it’s not surprising we see your success in photography competitions like B&W CHILD. Do you also showcase your work in art galleries?

A: Not yet because I’m waiting for the right moment. I’m growing up, time after time improving my technique and defining my style.

two young boys laying in the bed

Q: How do you know you made a good photograph? Do you ever get any inner sensation and simply know “this is it”?

A: Sometimes it’s like a puzzle: the place, the lights, the emotions of the moment and that’s it! Other times I come back on a photo after months and I’m surprised and I think: “Why I didn’t see these photos before?”

Fine Art child portrature


Q: What’s the photography market like in Italy?

A: From my point of view, main themes in the Italian market are: fashion, architecture and landscape. There’re plenty of art galleries and photo exhibitions, even in small towns.

little boy leaning on a tree


Q: In your opinion, why is so important for photographers to enter quality photography competitions?

A: A competition is always a chance to grow up and to understand more about yourself and your work. New eyes, new point of view and the chance to measure the impact of your work among many others. The quality of the competition is really important to guarantee the accuracy of your measurement.

Q: Your favorite photography quote?

A: Your first 10.000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Fine art black and white child photography

Q: What would be your message to other photographers?

A: Never stop studying and using another famous quote: “Stay hungry, stay foolish!” – The Whole Earth Catalog & Steve Jobs.

Marina’s work in B&W CHILD 2015 Winner’s Gallery

B&W CHILD 2016 – 3rd Annual International Photo Contest in B&W Child Photography is open for submissions. ENTER HERE.

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