Born in a provincial town in Russia from a couple of avid cameraman and journalist, Tatiana Kotova pursue of passion brings her across the continent. After graduating from the Russian Presidential Academy, she spent couple of years at Shanghai, China to learn about the Chinese language, before residing in Hong Kong. Now, she is a full-fledged professional fashion photographer who has deep concern about environmental situation of the world. In this section, Tiana walk us through interesting aspects of her life and career; including her moment with FNPF Foundation in Bali, Indonesia.
As a village-raised woman who spent most of her adulthood in big city, Tiana never forget her roots and often reminiscing the beautiful moment growing up with her lovely family in beautiful nature surroundings. “I miss the village where I used to visit my grandparents. Every summer the whole family gathered there, my all cousins came too. We were a little noisy bunch of kids running along the fields, hiding in apple gardens and swimming with ducks in the river” She said, bursting with laugh. “We helped to take cows in the fields and watched them relaxing and chewing grass. My grandpa taught us how to make hay. I still remember the smell of their raspberry homemade jam….” She recalls. “Now I live in a big city, and I have a feeling that people will never come back to this kind of living again.
Tiana’s introduction to the world of photography started early; as her parents make their living on the respective field and her husband fully support her to make it into a living career. “Both of my parents studied journalism, my father loves film and my mom had her photo exhibitions as well, I guess my love for photography is genetic” Tiana gleefully said. “I always liked it but I never really believed in myself enough, I suppose. My husband encouraged me since I liked it so much he suggested I should try to make it my full-time job. He is always very supportive, I am very grateful for that”
In-between her career as commercial photographer, Tiana always strives to find a way of helping others through her profession. “I try to combine photography with charity work. The latest highlight would be I guess my private exhibition in Hong Kong where we were able to raise money for a charity organization located in South Africa” she remarks.
Describing herself as ‘dreamer, stubborn and observational’, Tiana’s journey of capturing moments into wonderful vivid pictures eventually brought her to the island of Bali. What started as a vacation trip turns into genuine fondness and her encounter with FNPF (Friends of the National Parks Foundation) fuelled her burning passion in environmental awareness even more. “Bali is a magical place. I love Balinese people, temples, nature. Unfortunately, increased numbers of tourists don’t help the ecological situation to get better” Tiana expressed her genuine concern. “There are more and more buildings, roads, cars, on the island. Ocean fish, as well as wild animals, suffer from human waste and rubbish”
“For me visiting FNPF was more interesting than going to some tourists-filled Instagram-hot-spots” she said. “FNPF is a non-profit organization working to protect wildlife, restore habitat, and improve the wellbeing of local communities. I enjoyed my time with them, we have seen the people and the farm, and it brings you closer to the real culture. They are doing a great thing for the nature of Bali that’s why I was happy to support them with my photography and I hope more people will choose ‘meaningful tourism’”
Tiana doesn’t want to limit her effort in spreading the environmental awareness and helping others. “Any action can help or bring awareness, including photography, of course. Sometimes I make paid photo shootings and donate money to charities. Another time, I donate pictures itself basically, photographing for charities”
Although she has been working with upscale fashion brands and models in high-class fabulous photo shoot, Tiana gives us a surprising answer when we ask about her most favorite photograph of recent time. “I like the one where the old farmer in a hat laughs (from her time at FNPF Bali) He was very cute!” she said.
“I would try to work on environmental topics more and educate myself too, how we can help the environment and stop climate change”
Despite her successful career in professional photography, Tiana has a clear vision for the future. “I would try to work on environmental topics more and educate myself too, how we can help the environment and stop climate change” she remarks. Emphasizing on that statement, Tiana invites everyone to start rising their environmental awareness through meaningful action. “Find an organization you like in the next place you are traveling to and support them; maybe environmental organizations or those helping homeless kids or something else. There is always an opportunity.”