Ekaterina Zagustina

Photo manipulator/illustrator

Ekaterina Zagustina (aka KatjaFaith) is a Russian illustrator and photographer. The base of most of her works is a photograph, digitally manipulated and/or mixed with digital painting. Among her publications are several book covers for Apex Book Company, Viaje a Bizancio Ediciones, cover art for THE SORROW KING by Andersen Prunty, EXIT by Shane Filer, as well as some other book illustrations and CD-covers (US, Canada, Spain, Russia). Her works have been featured in PhotArt, Fashion Collection, BigMag, Sugarkiss Magazine, Sketchozine, Apex Magazine, #photography, etc.
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The concept of “altered” reality has become such a common thing that it seems really unusual to say something new about it.
I tend to see art as some kind of a “single body” – something which is beyond any cultural, technical, ideological differences, – or which is in a way deprived of any epoch, genre or the ways the author uses to obtain it. – What I mean is that art can either make you feel something deep inside your soul – all through the greatest variety of things like some shapes, colours, body language, some symbols or anything that seems truly thought-provoking – or it can just remain “some-techical-information-it’s-TRENDY” which viewers could try to consume or to reproduce as IT’S-TRENDY.
I took up digital photography in 2004. Back then I had no special philosophies, I was just fascinated by everything around me, – that is, to make it clear – the way images could be aquired and cropped or manipulated in their brightness/contrast or saturation aspects. Back then. – It seems that I had no idea about understanding visual arts at all. – And I was just an average consumer attracted mostly by the visual side of the image. – Much later on, I began to understand that this concept is really similar to the concept of candies. – That is, you’re attracted by bright wrappers. – But. – Unlike unwrapping and then eating real candies, which seems to be the process that we take for granted, – not every viewer wants or is able to see what lies beneath all the visual material he or she consumes. – Because it has no tangible taste – at least, the way we’re used to it. – But what seems axiomatic – is that images have their own soul. – And sometimes the person who takes them just wants to show it the way it is. – The way the camera portrays some fascinating moments that he sees. – Sometimes… – Sometimes the camera sees just too little of what a person actually WANTS to see. Of course, one might buy the most expensive, numerous and trendy equipment and still have no idea if there’s any other purpose apart from trying to catch some commercial wave, or simply to look “cool”, or to be “like everyone else” – in any field or genre.
All through the years of numerous experiments and reframings I’ve come to work in something which can be called mixed-media technique, that is, combining multiple elements of self-made photos with digital painting. – What I get as a result is something actually bordering on fine-art photography and illustration. The key thing is that focusing too much on the “right-to-use” technical features, as well as the question of some kind of correspondence to some “general rules” in different kinds of art can often make it almost impossible for artists to develop their own stylistics, philosophies, visions and ideologies. Moreover, unfortunately, the immense competition among the ever-growing number of artists who want to get some income/exposure has made it much more difficult for someone just to stop for a while. – And to observe something that has really sparked one’s imagination and feelings – in all it’s details and particulars – without feeling simply bored of the enormous variety as a “consumer”. – To FEEL. – Without NEEDLESS questions.
So? – This is a story about the adventures within the self-created Universes of the human brain. –Where everything is absolutely different from what we’re used to seeing around us. –Within each person. –And sometimes one and the same person having this Universe multiple . –And truly elusive.

Awards

2015

PSA Honorable mention (Woman, "Basic Elements. Fear"), EIRE EXHIBITION, 1st Int. Salon of Photography

2015

DPW Honorable Mention (Creative, "Tune, Interrupted"), EIRE EXHIBITION, 1st Int. Salon of Photography

2015

Goldmedal (Unusual), Trierenberg Super Circuit & Special Themes Circuit

2014

Goldmedal of Excellence (Special Themes), Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit

2013

Goldmedal of Excellence (Special Themes), Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit

2013

Honorable mention (Special: Digitally Enhanced), International Photography Awards (IPA), Non-Professional

2012

Goldmedal (subcategory), Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit

2012

People’s Choice Awards : Bronze (Special: Digitally Enhanced), Prix de la Photographie (Px3)

2012

Honorable mention (Special: Digitally Enhanced), International Photography Awards (IPA)

Specialties

illustration photomanipulation fine-art photography fine-art nudes conceptual sci-fi fantasy surreal emotional