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Karina Koba: Every photograph is a separate story that cannot be expressed in words
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Karina Koba: Every photograph is a separate story that cannot be expressed in words

By: Amara Foster

Photographs are truly a unique phenomenon. With them, you can capture the images and emotions of people, beautiful and unusual places, ongoing events, and interesting moments that will never happen again. Nowadays, they have become an integral part of almost every person’s life. It’s hard to imagine how many billions of pictures are taken in the world every day. But among the vast number of people taking photos on the planet, there are those for whom photography has become a profession and the meaning of life. Trying to see something more in their shots, they create masterpieces that emotionally captivate those who look at them. Today, we have a professional newborn photographer from St. Petersburg, Karina Koba, who shared her story of how photography became her life’s work.

Karina, tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. I completed my specialized secondary school with an in-depth study of the English language there. I have two higher educations: the first in “Philologist-Translator of English Language,” and the second in “Finance and Credit.” I dedicated several years to work in my first specialty, after which I took maternity leave. I have been living in St. Petersburg for the last 10 years, where I have been professionally engaged in photography since 2016.

Many people dream of their profession from childhood, which cannot be said about you. And your two degrees are not exactly in creative fields. What prompted you to quit your job in your field and take up photography?

Indeed, during my school and college years, my creative abilities were dormant deep within me, and I certainly did not dream of becoming a photographer. I didn’t even have a camera, and there was no desire to take photos. The amazing world of photography entered my life along with a significant event—motherhood. When I first held my son in my arms, I was overwhelmed by such feelings and emotions that I wanted to capture this moment not only in memory but also in a photograph. So, with the birth of my child, my dream of becoming a newborn photographer was born. My family believed in me and supported me. My husband helped take the first steps—he bought a camera, lenses, and paid for photography lessons at the St. Petersburg Television School.

Has this been enough for you to delve into photography?

To start taking pictures, it was. However, for professional development and finding my niche, I needed to learn from photography gurus. I attended various photography courses, tried different styles and genres: business portraits, boudoir, family, wedding, and children’s photos. But it wasn’t quite what I dreamed of, not the right feelings, not the right emotions, “not my cup of tea.” Everything changed when I participated in an individual master class on newborn photography with Marina Bartsaeva (St. Petersburg). It was a real explosion! An explosion in consciousness and in the soul! I realized that for many years I had harbored absolutely the right desire. The process of photographing these charming little angels was like magic, where I played the role of a wonderful fairy. I am still in that state today.

Karina Koba: Every photograph is a separate story that cannot be expressed in words
Image/s Internally Provided

Today, newborn photography is in demand, so many photographers have switched to this direction. How did you manage not to get lost and find your worthy place in the niche?

I worked a lot on my professional development, learned through trial and error, conducted a huge number of photo sessions for newborns, looked for the best locations and compositions to convey emotional context, tried different color solutions. In this way, I found my style, unlike others and easily recognizable.

Tell me about your achievements. Do you have any awards, prizes? What do they mean to you?

Since last year, I have regularly participated in major Russian and international photo contests and awards, where my photos take top places, and I enter the rankings of the best newborn photographers. For example, this year my work received an “Honorable Mention” at the International Photo Awards (IPA). I am proud that the winning photo is featured in the corresponding gallery, and my name will be included in the Annual IPA Photography Book.

My works are published in international magazines such as “Swanky Kids Magazine,” “Marika Magazine,” “Top Posters,” “Vida,” and “Kozi Magazine.” Some photos even make it to the covers. All this only confirms that I am on the right path and gives me the impetus to improve, grow, and reach new heights in my profession.

Photographing newborns, what mission have you set for yourself?

I’m not a big fan of the word “photographing.” I prefer to say “creating photo compositions.” The process itself is like oxygen therapy for me, helping me breathe, live, love, and create. The results bring me special joy and genuine admiration and affection from clients. My mission is to create not just a beautiful visual image but a unique story that cannot be expressed in words, yet people will relive and carry with them through the years by looking at it.

To amaze the audience, it’s not enough to just be a creative and unconventional photographer. It’s necessary to constantly raise the bar and set more ambitious goals for oneself.

And that’s what I do. In the near future, I plan to organize or participate in charitable projects where photo sessions will be conducted for newborns with Down syndrome and other developmental features. Next year, I want to focus on mentoring, organizing workshops, writing a series of guides, and a book. In a few years, I plan to open an online school for which I am developing an online course on newborn photography.

From the author:

We thank Karina Koba for an interesting conversation and wish her more amazing shots, fantastic ideas, and cool projects.


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