Sasha Samsonova’s sensual photographs push the boundaries of femininity, inspired by Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon


Born and raised in Senegal, West Africa, polyglot Arame Fall dreamed of being a model. Her career has helped her overcome insecurity and shyness, an obvious triumph in Sasha Samsonovastunning photographic portraits that capture the exuberance of fall.

“I met Arame on a commercial shoot and immediately took his hand like, come with me, we have to work together. His presence is just different. I remember when she first came out with those white feathers that we couldn’t start photographing for a few minutes, we were just in awe, staring, mesmerized by her beauty, ”said the Ukrainian, based in Los Angeles. fashion photographer and celebrity director. “The sun was so intense, I remember showering her with stupid compliments while filming and she made me laugh, it was fantastic.

Samsonova had planned to be a professional ballroom dancer before discovering her passion for photography. Samsonova, self-taught, studied the work and processes of Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon. At 17, she shot for Harper’s Bazaar, start a career that includes working with Vogue, The official, It, Complex, Paper, and Playboy. She has collaborated with a wide range of brands and celebrities photographed including Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Ciara, Teyana Taylor, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Tinashe, Kelly Rowland, Hailey Bieber, Emma Roberts, Khloe Kardashian, Rosalia, Sofia Richie , Maye Musk, Travis Scott, Pyper America, Bebe Rexha, Pink, Normani, Kourtney Kardashian and Jessica Alba. She has also directed music videos for artists Ciara, Gallant and Pink.

Samsonova captures emotion and femininity to create portraits that eclipse the celebrity’s personality.

“I just try to translate what fascinates me about the things I see in photographs,” Samsonova said.

The contrast in her black and white portrait of Haitian model Ania Charlot evokes a timeless mystery while playing with technique. Her celebrity ties have taken her on a journey into the female form, from close-ups to models posing against elaborate backgrounds, her makeup is captivating.

“I met Ania through the legendary Peter Savic, a hairstylist behind Madonna’s most iconic looks, he told me, you have to photograph her, which I’m so glad he did” , Samsonova said. “Using only natural light from a skylight, I shot this on a particular type of black and white film. It is treated the same as color C41 and looks like a scan of a magazine print from the 90s. ”

Chicago-based Lauren Searle, who won an Instagram account in 2013, was one of the first models Samsonova shot after the first pandemic lockdown.

“We shot this in Malibu, amazingly beautiful light and scenery, the energy of this model,” Samsonova recalls. “Everything fell into place for a perfect day of shooting.”

Best known for appearing in The Weeknd’s music video Party monster, Karlskrona, of Swedish descent, half Greek, Zoi Mantzakanis looks like she left the scene of a Bond movie, rising in high heels for Samsonova.

“I love touring with Zoi. She has this intense energy and kind of a hoarse voice. You would never guess just by looking at her. She feels fearless and confident, and this is the first look we shot that day, probably one of the first images, I just wanted her to look like she’s about to walk. on a city and crush it.

Samsonova’s close-up flower photographs require careful consideration. This photograph from March 15, 2020 oozes blood sensuality and an aquatic sensation. Samsonova said she was listening Take him there by Massive Attack, Tricky & 3D while creating this intriguing image that oscillates between the grotesque and the glorious.

It’s “probably my favorite image from the flower series,” Samsonova said. “It seems sexual, becoming major, feminine and ultimately expressive. I took the soft part of a passion fruit and ran it through a blender, mixed in some red paint and there we were.

His flower photographs “had to be large, allowing you to delve into the details of each petal, how it connected to the flower’s core, how it decomposed and lost its color.”

Samsonova says her work “lives on its own parallel, pursuing a different goal all together.”

“This is the subject’s expression in my photos. Of course, it varies from project to project, but ultimately I would be happy with a fully nude woman in my body, which has to transcend the outfit in some ways, ”she said.

In an Instagram world, fashion and celebrity photography is often undermined by clichés of paparazzi seeking to reveal secrets and perpetuate myths. But the editorial shots often transcend the subjects themselves, as the lens takes a deeper look at the model’s inner world and how she relates to the environment around her.

Fashion and celebrity-focused photography has as much potential to become art as anything else, ”Samsonova said. “The rest is up to the people who create it. But I must say that it is not by chance that the works of Avedon or Helmut Newton are more easily recognized in my generation than the works of Raphael or Titian. Giants as they are.


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