Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.35.09 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 5.10.45 PMHer photography is moving, painterly and demonstrative.  She has a beautifully developed emotional interpretation in her work using both analog and digital compositions.  And after you read her story, you’ll see where the emotion derives.  I can’t wait to introduce you to Russian photographer and artist, Anka Zhuravleva.

She spent her childhood with books on art and her mothers’ drawing tools, covering acres of paper with her drawings. Later she found herself studying at the Moscow Architectural Institute to follow in her mother’s footsteps. But at the end of 1997 her mother was diagnosed with cancer and died in less than a year. And tragically her father died soon after.

Her life changed dramatically.  In attempt to keep sane, she plunged into an alternative lifestyle – working as a tattoo artist, singing in a rock-band and sometimes looking for escape in alcohol.  But she knew she had to continue to make a living so she explored modeling and landed many jobs at different agencies. She wasn’t afraid to pose nude, and her photos appeared in the Playboy and XXL magazines and also made debuts at the Playboy 1999 photo exhibition. But she was not looking for a modeling career – it was just a way to make some money.

Anka started working in the post-production department at Mosfilm Studios.  That same winter one of her colleagues invited her to spend a week-end in Saint-Petersburg with his friend, composer and musician Alexander Zhuravlev. In less than a month Anka said farewell to Moscow, her friends, her Mosfilm career and moved in with Alexander in Saint-Petersburg. Living with her loved one healed her soul, and she regained the urge for painting.  After painting and other types of visual arts exploration she finally introduced herself to the medium of photography.  And if you can imagine, many books, projects, magazines and CD covers came soon after.

Anka’s Favorite Gear:

Digital – Canon 5D Mark2 with lenses: 135mm 2.0 , 85mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.4

Analog 120 film  – Pentax 67 ii, with different tell lenses.

Analog Large format – Many vintage and rare cameras repared or made by my husband with vintage brass lenses.

Darkroom, where I print b&w pictures myself.

Anka’s Advice: 

“Keep your eyes wide open, try to find your inner child, let he (she) help you with that. Try not to create ‘like somebody’. Yes, maybe this is the fastest way but often it has no progress.

“If you don’t know what to shoot, it’s better not to shoot. Go to museums, look at the paintings, watch some movies, walk around and look around.  Always think about the reasone you take the picture. If there is no reason, it’s better not to shoot. When working with human models,  choose those who are not just beautiful, but have something similar with you or has a connection with you. You have to feel the person you are shooting.   Post production is very important. But if the picture is bad, it will not help. Now in the age of photoshop always ask yourself  before post production why you are going to make your manipulations. What exactly in your picture do you want to change, or fix, or make better. Don’t just press ‘thankless’ keys on your keyboard.”

“Become your own angry critic and your own fan in one. Only you know better everything about your mistakes and successes. And never give up!!”

Follow Anka on Facebook and see more of her portfolio and upcoming workshops on


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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Beautiful work!

    My feelings about not taking pictures if you don’t know what to say is different. If you have yet to find your voice, you can still be growing technically if you take lots of pictures. You can also increase your visual vocabulary, so when you are ready to get real you have the tools you need to realize your vision. IMO.

  2. Amazing photography. Speechless.


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About MelissaNiu

Melissa Niu is a storyteller at heart. Niu's work ranges from her Broadcast Journalism experience at NBC in Seattle to her recent work as a co-founder and host of the photography platform, [FRAMED] Network. Her passion for photography, music and journalistic skills harvests into a massive need to tell a good story. As a mother of three daughters and running multiple businesses, Niu is constantly seeking balance, health, laughter and progression.


Analog, Fashion, Fine Art, Inspiration, Photographer of the Week, Photography, Portrait, Shooting, Your Focus