Ilona Koval’s work is so imaginative and blissfully intense that one feature just couldn’t do it for me (see A Photo Story by Ilona Koval). Her photographs exude a combined sense of artistry and grace. When speaking with Ilona, she gets right to the point, sharing her love of photography, people, and developing a style all her own.
Hi, Ilona. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I pursue creativity, it’s a big part of who I am and who I want to be. I jump around from drawing, singing, playing instruments, painting, illustrating, but I feel especially attached to photography. I got my first DSLR when I was 15, and I took the cheesiest pictures that meant the world to me. Now, after developing a style that appeals to people, and allows me to express my vision, I have settled. Black and white film photography, and film in general, was the greatest learning experience of my photography pursuits.
What are you shooting with?
Nikon d750 and a 50mm 1.4 lens. I love Canon too. I tend to go back and forth, but for now, Nikon is doing a perfect job.
What are the inspirations that motivate you to shoot?
I think beautiful light really gets me going. When I see perfect hues I instantly get a creative fever. The work of others, beautiful places, pretty things, feelings, stuff like that serves me motivation.
Are you a self-taught photographer or were you formally educated?
Both self and school taught. Honestly there is not much to it, but when someone is passionate for a good photo, it works on a bigger scale. Learning comes within time and practice, I feel like it naturally happens as one develops a style of images, or starts to see the world in a different way. Also, I’m in Sacramento State University working for my graphic design degree in which I would love to implement with my photography.
Is there a particular message or feeling you wish to give through your photographs?
I favor wedding and portrait photography among all else. I like people pictures. I like how humanity tries to express itself through small days, and big days. No particular message, I’m just on the outside looking in.
How do you feel before a shoot?
I feel anxious to begin. I want it to be in my “life experience book”. It’s always a cool honor when I get chosen to take the pictures. It’s nice to know someone likes the way I see things.
What is your favorite image at the moment?
I like dreamy photos. I took this one super long ago, and it described a lot of my intended direction in photography. I wanted to create something different so I can claim my eye-style. If I can do creative portraits or conceptual photography everyday, it would be my favorite life to live.