Ekaterina Hohlova: Life-Changing Photography

Once, photography changed the course of history, inspiring the birth of cubism and other modern art movements. Now, innovative photographers think about how their cameras can transform and empower people.

Exclusively for iPREMIUM, Ekaterina Hohlova, an inspiring "transformational photographer", will talk about her mission, share unique working experiences, and talk about the future.

What was the reasoning behind the idea to transform people's lives through your photography?

E.H: It is not entirely accurate to say it's me or my photography that changes other people's lives. All women who posed in front of my camera decided to change their lives themselves, and my task is to provide the right resource for this transformation. What brought me into this field was my personal experience with women lowering their self-esteem. I saw how women lost sight of their strength and abilities. And I wanted to help them find these very qualities once again and showcase what one possesses, what inner core they have inside. At first, I did not advertise myself as a "transformational photographer". My clients began to nickname me like that after significant changes occurred in their lives. And I thought to myself that it does sound great. That's how I ended up emphasizing this in the header of my profile.

Could you guide us through the process?

E.H: Communication with the client is vital for every successful photo shoot. The meaningful deep connection happens when a woman is ready to trust me completely, give up her expectations, and fool around. I ask my clients questions triggering their inner selves, transforming them with outfits, changing scenes and looks. You know how it happens when a woman tries on clothes different from her usual style. And something clicks in her as she starts seeing herself in a new way, feeling herself differently.

Could you please share any successful experiences of transformations with us, at least with abstract characters? We understand that should be some degree of confidentiality in your line of work.

E.H: Of course, we have a strict privacy policy. But sometimes, there are stories that need to be heard by others. And I always take a client's permission to share them. Such a story once happened to one of my clients, an attractive girl. During the photo session, I gave her a simple task: dance. Since it was hard for her to dance, I invited her to imagine that I was her husband to facilitate the progress. But, unfortunately, the girl was still shy in front of the camera. But we continued shooting, trying different things. A month later, she called me and said: "Katya, I finally left my husband, thank you". My first thought was: "Oh God, what have I done". It turned out that when my client came home after that photo session of ours, she realized that she had never danced in front of her husband. Moreover, she would never be able to dance in front of him because this format of relations was simply not accepted in their family. And she added: I really wanted to dance and even dreamed of finally doing it. She filed for divorce after that moment of realization. Now she is a free and absolutely happy girl who travels worldwide and dances wherever she goes. This story is precious to me because it shows how life changes when you understand what you want and start coming through with it, which speaks volumes about self-love.

What does it mean to "see through pixels"?

E.H: The concept of "seeing through pixels" has a very meaningful name. Each photograph has a myriad of tiny pixels invisible to the eye. But if you zoom in on the photo, look into the depths, you will see them. For me, the image itself is not so important – any girl can be photographed beautifully, having correctly exposed the light, choosing the location, and using Photoshop. It is the deep component that carries importance, the 'hidden' inside the woman, which she does not see herself or does not want to show. She might be afraid, shy, or simply not yet familiar with her inner "she". My philosophy – both in work and in life – is always to look inside, not at the candy wrapper, but at what kind of candy is wrapped in it.

Who are your clients?

E.H: My clients are successful women who know what they want, are ready for change, prepared to move to a new level, to move on — those who feel that something bothers them with something they want to change in their lives. And we are looking for this element together. Thus, we both look for what needs to be changed and activated to reveal femininity and sexuality in ourselves.

What is your next stop on your journey to success?

E.H: My next stop lies on a bigger scale. It will be a group project, which will have not only one but many girls involved. Now I work in this direction, expanding my horizons.
Interview Art & cinema