Spend 5: Nina Koltchitskaia


Instagram envy. It’s scientifically proven to be a leading killer of self-perceived notions of talent. That Canon camera you were gifted for Christmas, sure it allowed you to explore your creative side. Heck, it even landed you the occasional 100 likes (thank you mum and every second and third cousin that was guilted into partaking), and provided a space for your self-deprecating one-liners. I mean it was only human nature that you began to explore the idea of becoming a photographer and artist. That was until you came across the likes of Nina Koltchitskaia and were instantly jarred back to reality. Stick to writing you reminded yourself… (only partly based on a true story).

Back to Nina. If you haven’t heard of the name, ink it onto your mood board because her work will provide a dose of culture your life has been missing.

Hailing from Moscow, this creative has lived the wanderlust dream. Moving to Vientiane, Laos at the age of 10 and later to Milan, nowadays Nina resides and works in Paris. With travels behind her and a literature and philosophy degree from la Sorbonne in her back pocket, Nina went on to study photography at Icart, France. Her first solo photo exhibition entitled “Love me tender” came soon thereafter in 2010. Opposing digital photography, Nina favors the authenticity of film cameras with grain and dust from the film telling an additional story in each frame captured. The end result, an element of surprise and mystery, creating rawness and spontaneity so rare in the digital age.

Here, we spend 5 with Nina….



Name: Nina Koltchitskaia

Occupation: Photographer, director and visual artist

It all started when: I could hardly choose a precise moment, it feels more like it was always that way – creating things, trying to transform what I feel and what I see into objects, words or images was always a part of me, it just evolved, changed and grew up through time.

I learnt from: My grandfather used to travel a lot and had an old Nikkormat (I shoot most of my photographs with it now) he always carried with him in his adventures. As a child, it fascinated me and I always saw it as one of the highest forms of freedom. My parents (for my mother it would be cinema and for my father drawing) always encouraged me to draw, write and to listen to my imagination. They showed me how important it is not to be afraid to dream, to try different things, and do what I love

My aesthetic is: The letting go. Abandoning myself to the sincerity that I am given by the people I observe, or the sounds I hear, or the colors I see. To be fed on all these sensations, to mix it with my own emotions, and to create of out it all

I would love to photograph: Nina Simone and Alexandre Blok

Career highlight: I don’t think i have any. But there is nothing that’s more important to me in my art than when I know that by giving a little bit of my universe to someone it may have, even for a second, beautifully influenced his or her life

I would love to work with: I think it would be very interesting to see how Ryan McGinley transforms each and every photograph he takes into pure magic and poetry of colors and shapes. I would love to discuss the memory and the colors of the wind with Bernard Moninot on the mount Paradise. And of course, I would love to turn back in time and spend a day, drawing alongside Marc Chagall

My creativity comes from: Mostly from life encounters, from the intimacy I can create and share with the people I meet and that interest me. I’m very much inspired by the people I’m close to, and by the man I love. They always beautifully bring out the creativity in me

Currently working on: Developing my poetry drawings project called « Left handed lovers », and keep on working on my next photo series about teenage love stories called « the First Love project »

Current city: Paris

But my next destination is: To explore the different deserts, like the Valley of the Moon, in the Atacama Desert of Chile, Sahara of course, or the snow desert of Antarctica. I would love to spend some time discovering Alaska as well

Work uniform looks like: My boyfriend’s old white t-shirt and high-waisted old jeans

My go to outfit: Again, my boyfriend’s t-shirts, and man trousers

Style muse: Anna Akhmatova by her inner grace, and George Braque, by the discrete poetry of his art geniusness

Fashion bible: I don’t have a fashion bible. So let’s say « Live forever » the book of portraits by Elizabeth Peyton

I must mention: I love carnations and poppies

Worst habit: I don’t dance enough. Also, I’m sometimes too much afraid of time passing, and I have the tendency to want to freeze it

Always in my bag: My film cameras, a book of poetry, and a little magic bottle of my perfume

Beauty must try: To wake up with pure thoughts in the morning, and to smile with the eyes – that makes a person beautiful instantly

Best thing I’ve learnt: To embrace my sensitivity and emotions, and make something out of it. Express it in an artistic way and share it with the others

If only everyone knew: When I was a child, I was sure I had magic powers and that I could control the wind ! Now I’m not so sure about the super powers, but I surely can see the colors of the wind, and I wish to be able to draw them someday

Must read: I have hundreds of favorite books, so it’s hard to select only a few. « Capitale de la douleur » by Paul Eluard, « First love » by Ivan Turgenev and « It chooses you » by Miranda July

On my to do list: Give a thousand kisses to my son whom I’ll be picking up from school in an hour!

I am looking forward to: Be saying hello to tomorrow

Life motto: Find balance in the disequilibrium