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KATJAFAITH (Ekaterina Zagustina)

Belgorod  308001  RUSSIA

Tel. : +7(920)5831923

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Ekaterina Zagustina (aka KatjaFaith) is an illustrator and photographer. The base of most of her works is a photograph, digitally manipulated and/or mixed with digital painting. Among her publications are several book covers for Apex Book Company, Viaje a Bizancio Ediciones, cover art for THE SORROW KING by Andersen Prunty, EXIT by Shane Filer, as well as some other book illustrations and CD-covers (US, Canada, Spain, Russia). Her works have been featured in PhotArt, Fashion Collection, BigMag, Sugarkiss Magazine, Sketchozine, Apex Magazine, #photography, Photo+, etc. 


I woke up in a train. To be more precise, I woke up in a train, knowing that I was still asleep *in reality*. It is quite a popular concept in some sci-fi literature and movies, I know. Dreams in dreams, dreams in dreams in dreams, etc. Just like a Matryoshka doll.


…I looked at the label before throwing it out. The funny thing. It said, “Price: Wash before use”. I  thought, -- oh, come on, “the greatest insight for the enlightened”. No doubt, it was...


…The train seemed to be full of passengers. I KNEW it in this dream, -- but I saw nobody. Nonetheless… I got up from my seat and started my strange “journey”, just to get any idea of what was happening. I went through the aisle, looking around me. It seemed to be something like a phantom train. The doors were not shut. In fact, they rather looked like household doors. The train was swirling somewhere UNKNOWN and all I could see were trees, trees all around, and all these doors constantly clawing at them.


When I finally got to the cabin, I KNEW that the engine driver WAS there. However, just like the passengers, just like the whole phantom and partly delirious setting, well, he was out of sight…

It seemed that the silence could speak more than words. That Time was flowing through the objects like sand. Or like dust. Turning the feeling of Eternity of being – into some Nothingness. Erasing the past seconds.

Having no time to turn into the new ones…


Dreams. Like memories of some other, fantastic and fractured Realities. – Traces of them. – Reconstructed. 


It is no secret that one of the main viewer-to-artist questions is: "What did you want to say? What IS the main idea of this or that creation? – IS there ANY at all?"  


Before we can start thinking about any "universal" reply in such a discussion, I think we should bear in mind that there are probably hundreds of ways of communication in general, as well as an even greater amount of different languages and dialects in the world. It seems that such a variety could make it almost impossible for people to understand each other. – What unifies people seems to be rather symbolic than verbal. However, does it seem possible that there is just a *SINGLE* world or a single Universe, anyway?


The concept of "altered" reality has become such a common thing that it seems unusual to say something new about it.


I tend to see art as some kind of a "single body" – something which is beyond any cultural, technical, ideological differences, – or which is in a way deprived of any epoch, genre or the ways the author uses to obtain it. What I mean is that art can either make you feel something deep inside your soul – all through the greatest variety of things like some shapes, colors, body language, some symbols or anything that seems truly thought-provoking – or it can just remain "some-technical-information-it's-TRENDY" which viewers could try to consume or to reproduce as IT'S-TRENDY.


I took up digital photography in 2004. Back then I had no special philosophies, I was just fascinated by everything around me, – that is, to make it clear – the way images could be acquired and cropped or manipulated in their brightness/contrast or saturation aspects. Back then, it seems that I had no idea about understanding visual arts at all. I was just an average consumer attracted mostly by the bright visual side of the image. Much later on, I began to understand that this concept is similar to the concept of candies. That is, bright wrappers attract you. – But. – Unlike unwrapping and then eating real candies, which seems to be the process that we take for granted, – not every viewer wants or is able to see what lies beneath all the visual material he or she consumes. Because it has no tangible taste, at least, the way we are used to it. What seems axiomatic is that images have their own soul. – And sometimes the person who takes them just wants to show it the way it is. – The way the camera portrays some fascinating moments that he sees. – Sometimes... – Sometimes the camera sees too little of what a person actually WANTS to see. Of course, one might buy the most expensive, numerous and trendy equipment and still have no idea if there's any other purpose apart from trying to catch some commercial wave, or simply to look "cool", or to be "like everyone else" – in any field or genre.


All through the years of numerous experiments and reframing I've come to work in something which can be called mixed-media technique, that is, combining multiple elements of self-made photos with digital painting. – What I get as a result is something actually bordering on fine-art photography and illustration. The key thing is that focusing too much on the "right-to-use" technical features, as well as the question of some kind of correspondence to some "general rules" in different kinds of art can often make it almost impossible for artists to develop their own stylistics, philosophies, visions and ideologies. Moreover, unfortunately, the immense competition among the ever-growing number of artists who want to get some income/exposure has made it much more difficult for someone just to stop for a while. – And to observe something that has really sparked one's imagination and feelings – in all its details and particulars – without feeling simply bored of the enormous variety as a "consumer". – To FEEL. – Without NEEDLESS questions.


So? – This is a story about the adventures within the self-created Universes of the human brain. – Where everything is absolutely different from what we're used to seeing around us, but dealing with mostly the same complex concepts and problems.





My latest projects deal with using complex technical parts, surreal technological worlds and the man-machine symbiosis ideas. It probably began with the series "The Child of Progress" which was supposed to show the relationships of simple people of our days with the blazing technological progress. The whole series was intended to reveal numerous aspects of this symbiosis of man and technology in some interpretations that could also be perceived as some still-shots from surreal or futuristic movies. I wanted to examine and cover the question of the influence and effects of the phenomenon, demonstrating the new world, becoming more wired and chipped, assimilated, seemingly less filled with any real wonders, outside technological inventions and progress. And seemingly deprived of some real emotions as well.   As we can guess, the artworks were about emotional side of it, the influence of the modern and near future technification on feelings. My aim was not to show it as something "negative" or "positive", rather to depict some of the surreal and futuristic in some ways perceptions; trying to catch the specific beauty of each of the concepts instead. In many pictures we can see the characters are partly complex machinery, but are still human, with real human feelings, that cannot be affected or changed too much anyway.


Some other series, like "Sweet Dreams Empire",  illustrate  the ideas of fear, assumptive absence of developement or further evolution, as well as of  beauty by common standards. It tells us about the onset of the fairy-tale Technological Universe, starting with the clockwork drive gears frozen and then bursting in space, constructing Time and Chaos dimensions, half-separately from each other. The Chaos part symbolizes the absence of any visible functionality or integrity of the scene - at first sight. But, just like in real theories, is has its own specific order: there is something like grass growing from chips, broken mirrors loking like half-moons hanging on the walls and being actually sharp as knives, chaotical wires looking like spiderwebs in solitude, lamps, weird and half-functioning, half-alive "vehicles", as well as the partly doll/robot character - all being put as some odd *decorations*, only *supposed* to be functional, through some dreamy and generally valid descriptions.  I also make all the constructions myself of various/numerous parts of decomposed devices and other materials, my aim is  to give something old and having no more practical use in the world where the fashion for the newest technological achievements gives practically no space or possible consideration for such things, a new life and intended purpose, along with using this concept as part of the whole ideology that I was going to reveal. 


Published in artbooks "The Best of the Best Photographers 2015. One Eyeland Book Vol. 5", "Inspiration International Artbook 2016". 





ND Awards (Neutral Density Awards) 2015: Honorable Mention (Fine Art: Photomanipulation, series)


Photo Circle 2015: ISF Silver Medal (Elegy for Moonlight)






Equinox Three - International Salon of Fine Art Photography 2016: PSA Gold Medal ("Elegy for Moonlight"), IVAF Silver Medal ("Sweet Dreams Empire After Chaos "), FIAP Honorable Mention ("Noise The Game of Silent Quivers ")


Moscow International Fotography Awards - MIFA 2016: 2 Honorable Mentions ("Sweet Dreams Empire: Chaos" -- Fine Art: Special Effects; "Sweet Dreams Empire: After Chaos" -- Fine Art: Other)


Prix de la Photographie (Px3) 2016: Honorable Mention ("In Love with Illusions", series, Professional)


IPA 2016 - 2nd Prize Winner - Special Effects Category ("In Love with Illusions")


IPA 2016 - 3 Honorable Mentions - Special : Digitally Enhanced Category 


Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit 2012: Goldmedal (subcategory);


Prix de la Photographie (Px3) People's Choice Awards 2012: Bronze (Special: Digitally Enhanced);


International Photography Awards (IPA) 2012: Honorable mention (Special: Digitally Enhanced);


One Eyeland Photography Awards 2012: Bronze (Special: Special Effects);


Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit 2013: Goldmedal of Excellence (Special Themes);


IPA 2013 Non-Professional: Honorable mention (Special: Digitally Enhanced);


Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit 2014: Goldmedal of Excellence (Special Themes);


Trierenberg Super Circuit and Special Themes Circuit 2015: Goldmedal (Unusual);


EIRE EXHIBITION, 1st Int. Salon of Photography 2015: PSA Honorable mention (Woman, "Basic Elements. Fear"); 


EIRE EXHIBITION, 1st Int. Salon of Photography 2015: DPW Honorable mention (Creative, "Tune, Interrupted"); 


Prix de la Photographie (Px3) 2015: 3 Honorable Mentions (“Visor”, “Rivers of Eon: Ellie”, “Nervus vivendi: Nihil”); 


International Photography Awards (IPA) 2015: 5 Honorable mentions; 


London International Creative Competition (LICC) 2015: Honorable Mention (Photography/Professional: "Marketplace: BE*longing"); 


Moscow International Fotography Awards - MIFA 2015 ("It's Showtime" - 3rd Place (Fine art / Special Effects / Professional); 


"The Greatest Delusions: Interspace" - Honorable Mention (Fine art / Special Effects)).