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"It Must be Beautiful" is the project by Belorussian photographer Alexandra Soldatova that witnesses a deep research into people’s behaviours and their aesthetic feelings. She embarked on a journey throughout Belarus’ isolated landscapes to shoot the strikingly beautiful bus stops – actually, it appears as though they are some sort of scape door to a dreamy place. Searching for daily, social issues in her projects, as well as differences, influences and habits, Alexandra, whose photography story began in 2005 after having graduated from the faculty of Applied Mathematics, seems to be going to impress us for a long time.

Probably this is not the first time you’ve been asked this question, but what made you change the path of your career from Mathematics to Photography?

I was young and I needed no reasons to change preferences. Also, there is a kind of journalistic courage when you reach places normally closed for people, like a factory or whatever. But, as everything, photography in particular and art in general is not only romantic, but a lot of work to do and to learn.

What useful lesson did you learn during your university years that you still apply in some occasions at the moment?

In general, at university I learnt how to learn, no matter if it is Mathematics, Cooking, Chinese of Art.

You have been finalist at many photo festivals and competitions in Minsk and Krakow, and have also had main solo exhibitions ever since you began your photography artwork. How do you feel about it?

Exhibitions and festivals always keep you busy, not much more. But this is a good opportunity to meet and hear new friends, people both from art society and just passing by, and this is really important because they always bring new meanings to my projects.

How would you describe your photography work?

It is more or less studies of my own relations with the big world. I would say that I’m interested in projects which make me ask questions and change my own definitions, boundaries, points of view.

Could you tell me about two of your favourite photographers?

Oh no, please! (Laughs). There are so many great photographers. Photography is endless, and favourites really depend on the moment.

Your images reflect some sort of escape route to leave the freezing, remote areas of Belarus and enter in a new universe of lush vegetation of wild life. What did you personally feel the first time you saw one of these paintings?

At first, it took me some time to distinguish this view from reality behind the window of my car. I just felt a great disconnection and a connection in between front and rear, at the same time. I liked this duality and the emptiness of the stage.

You embarked on a journey through Belarus to work on this project. Could you tell me about a particular anecdote that happened to you during that time?

Actually, shooting bus stops or stones is a pretty boring job where absolutely nothing happens. I like it because I can more or less plan my shootings. The only whimsical part of the process is weather, which I can never predict. During the very first part of the project, I was shooting for eight hours under pouring rain. Also, I waited for half a year to catch yellow leaves on the trees, then I drove 200 km north and I found an absolutely green forest…

Is there any bus stop that has become your favourite one?

There is one with perfect blue sky and some little white clouds on it. It is all so perfect, a true art object in my opinion.

The paintings are located in quite isolated bus stops, full of snow, where they cannot be appreciated by many people as it would be in an urban area. Why?

Well, I think that urban areas are something constantly changing, so there is a reason to have a piece of standard plastic in a city. It is much more complicated here, everything has to work together, all the architecture: streets, houses, bus stops…

Do you think these paintings help improving society in some way? What effect do they have?

Honestly, I don’t think so. They are a part of an environment people leave, something they do not detect as special any more. So I reckon things like these do not help to save the world, but they do influence society somehow.

"It Must be beautiful" is a project about the aesthetic feeling of Belarus people and the way they express themselves. How do you think the geographic location and specific weather influence the culture of a place?

The weather determines lifestyle, materials and people’s habits on a more physical layer. The geography determines them on a historical layer, but very global. I am looking for more personal, characteristic things in my projects. For example, in central Europe, the weather and the geography is more or less the same, but there is definitely a huge difference between countries.

Do you think the most common, everyday things are the most representative in terms of people identity and character?

In terms of identity maybe yes, the common things can tell a lot about who we are and where we are coming from. Under common I mean habits, traditions, preferences, things that we like or find beautiful – and at the end, form a culture.

Are you satisfied with the way things are evolving? What are your plans in the short term?

The fact things are evolving is good in itself. My closest plan is to finish my new book project. It is about relations between people, about photography and myths, and about love.


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