analog photography contemporary art experimental photography fine art Mila Maes photo art Polaroid photography Russia



// Mila is a St. Petersburg-based Russian photographer who has been exposed to photography since her childhood, helping her father develop films in the darkroom. Her interest in film photography never left her, and after trying out different formats she ended up falling in love with a Polaroid Land camera. We present her series “Wetlands”.

“My dad used to have a rangefinder camera, and he would document family and work events and just the life around him. He would allow me to help develop film (I was responsible for agitating the film during development) and print in the darkroom. That was and still is my favourite memory of my childhood,” Mila says. Since 2007 she picked up photography again seriously. “I was shooting with different 35 mm cameras and later moved to 120 mm with Hasselblad 500 cm. In 2011 I tried shooting Polaroid peel-apart film with a Polaroid Land camera, and it’s been my medium of choice since then.”

Mila does not have a specific goal as a photographer. She is inspired mostly by nature: “I can’t even find words to explain how much I love and connected I feel with nature. Through my visual language, I want to pass this feeling of connection to other people. And as a photographer – I’m dreaming to try large format and printing in the darkroom.”

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Aaron Siskind

What draws you to the arts?

“The ability to travel the world though someone’s eyes. And not necessarily our world, it could be other dimensions or planets. Or situations, or even lives, hearts and souls. Art can make you feel deep if you let it.”

What do you like best about photo art such as the images you have shared with us?

“I love the diversity of colour and mood that is possible to achieve with just one same film. Also I love the beauty of the swamps and I believe I managed to capture it.

This series is called “Wetlands”, taken mostly at the Karelian Isthmus, an approximately 45–110 kilometre-wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia. “During the past few years I’ve come to feel a deep connection to the swamps and lakes and forests that surround them. I love this unique ecosystem. I love the smell and the feeling of the swamps. And I’ve been trying to capture some of these unique moments,” Mila says.

This series was also a very interesting study of expired Polaroid 690 type film and how it works in different light settings.

Photos may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see a larger image with its title in original dimensions.


To see more of her photography visit Mila´s website or Mila´s Instagram page .

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