Interview with Photographer Maria Filatova

The Power of Self in a Single Woman

Photographer: Maria Filatova @marya_london_photo Wardrobe
Stylist: Aicha Ouattara @missjackieofficial
Female Model: Aicha Ouattara @missjackieofficial


The photographer and the model are inspired by “Single Women”. A term that was once a question of, “So why are you still single” is no longer a taboo subject because ... well ... no reason just because. Why should there be a reason? It should just be praised and congratulated. She embraces it, honours it and encourages it. For the model it is her lifeline and her lifestyle. And a complete change of lifestyle for some. The model also depicts the infamous and unforgettable choice to choose her first - the power of SELF. A strong sense of self that is. What is SELF? Self is singular. Self is awareness. Is confidence. Is worth. Self is the 21st IG hashtag #selfcare #selflove. Self is whatever sets your soul on fire and doing it. The model does exactly that. She is above all her unique, unapologetic, perfectly, imperfect self.


These images are stunning. What is the impression you want viewers to get from your work?

In my work I’m very concentrated on the model’s personality. This particular photoshoot is a result of collaboration with model and blogger Aicha Ouattara. In this series I wanted to express the variety of her individuality; how strong, fun, vulnerable can be the woman.

Is photography something you have always been passionate about?

I started taking pictures when I was 13 and I did it to please my father (he seemed to be pleased and gave me the first professional camera for the birthday), whose hobby was photography. As far as I can remember me and my brother always played with the camera and the other photography stuff. When I got a little bit older I felt irresistible need to express myself through photography. There was no proper education in photography in my city back then. So, I chose to get a design education and did a photography course after. Later I started working for an advertising agency as a designer and photographer, but the final choice was made after I emigrated from Russia. Back then it seemed that photography was a right choice for me. This way wasn’t easy, but I never regret it.

This series is clearly very powerful, we exspecially loved how you described her; “She is above all her unique, unapologetic, perfectly, imperfect self.” Do you feel you have learnt anything from the model whilst shooting this series?
Aisha is an incredible person. She is artistic, funny and has incredible courage expressing herself. She is not afraid to talk about important things. Most importantly, she has a clear sense of self-love and self-respect. For me, as a person who for a while could not really understand this concept, a living example of it is very important.

At INTRA we are really strong advocates for self-love and self-acceptance, what do these terms mean to you?

I started my way to self-love and self-acceptance not that long ago. It was tough for me, I was always taught to be a people-pleaser and meet the expectations of the other people. So, I could not accept a lot about myself. A few months ago, I came across old photos of myself. In these photos I pose in a swimming suit ready to start a journey to a new perfect body. The irony is I already had a perfect body. In these pictures I was perfectly lean. But I never was satisfied no matter how lean I was. I also was never satisfied with my intellectual abilities, creativeness, and personal style. Everything changed when I started sessions with a psychotherapist. It was an incredible chance to meet myself and ask “Who am I? Am I good or bad?  What do I really want?” It was the beginning of a great journey to self-love and self-acceptance. And I just started listening to myself. And that was a real self-love.

What are your top three tips for self-care?

Trust yourself and believe your emotions. Give yourself as much sleep as you need. Don’t blame yourself for procrastination, it’s not an enemy, it just helps understanding when things are too much for you.


What would you say is your favourite thing about photography?

I like the combination of artistic expression and communication with the other people. I think photography is the shortest way to make an artistic statement nowadays. Also, this is the only technique, except video, that allows you to catch the moment. I think photography killed the traditional art and created the modern art as we know it.

Which Photographer would you say has influenced or inspired you throughout you creative journey?

There are a few. I always admired Henri Cartier-Bresson. The composition of his pictures is amazing. Peter Lindberg’s photos inspire me with the way he worked with models. I also, as a former graphic designer, like the visual aesthetics of Alexander Rodchenko.

What do you think is your biggest accomplishment to date?

This summer for the very first time in my career I took part in an art contest and was shortlisted. Later the exhibition with shortlisted photo took part. I was really very proud of myself.

Is there anything key in the future you’re aiming for?

My goal for now is to get into an art residence and have a personal exhibition. The global goal of my career is of course to do an art photography full-time.

Lastly do you have any tips for photographers/creatives at the start of their journey?

 I would recommend to follow as many good photographers on Instagram as possible and watch. Besides you should analyze what you watch. Why is this image that good? What is in the background? What are poses? What do the colors say to us?  What makes this picture unique and special?
Also buy the best camera and lens as you can afford. Having good gears will definitely make your professional journey easier. Experiment. Do mistakes. Do not take it too seriously. Fun and irony are the mandatory elements of art.

We want to Thank you for featuring within INTRA, where could viewers find more information about you and connect with your work?

Follow me on Instagram:
@mariafilatova.art – my account for experimental and arty things
I also have a web site: filatova.photo