Never the perfect model, constantly moving and distracted, it takes a gifted eye, anticipation and intuition to capture the grace and beauty of a horse. Even so, a day’s shoot for the most experienced photographer may only yield two or three good shots, and perhaps one shot worthy of celebration, if good fortune is bestowed upon you.
TPP first met Russian born creative Irina Kazaridi in 2015 at the Summer Polo at Sotogrande, Spain, where her equine work was being displayed in the VIP Marquee precinct.
“She believes her greatest achievements materialise when fully immersed in the scenario and emotions of the subjects. ”
It became quickly apparent that her gifted eye was accompanied by a calm and friendly demeanour which places the horses at ease, enabling the capture of more than her fair share of the polo pony’s beauty and majesty, despite being a relative newcomer to the subject matter.
Quite fittingly, Irina resides in one of the most photogenic parts of the world, Ballieu-sul-Mer, in the south of the France, where she discovered polo nearby through friends playing in St Tropez.
Inspired by this new and somewhat mysterious equestrian world, she was slowly, creatively and surely drawn into the array of unique visual opportunities that accompany the polo lifestyle. The serenity of the horse when in paddock, its rising excitement with the advent of the game, to the sheer power and determination on the polo field as it competes with fellow equine athletes, all presented unique and invigorating visual prospects. And so she gradually slipped into polo photography as her next artistic passion.
Irina originally studied art in St Petersburg, then progressed to the European Institute of Design in Milan. Photography always captivated her more than other artistic pursuits, however, the turning point was receiving a gift from a close friend- the Nikon of her dreams, and thereby her first professional camera.
“Inspired by this new and somewhat mysterious equestrian world, she was slowly, creatively and surely drawn into the array of unique visual opportunities that accompany the polo lifestyle.”
An autodidact in this medium, she has learnt by studying the style of other photographers, such as Richard Avedon and Robert Mapplethorpe. She believes her greatest achievements materialise when fully immersed in the scenario and emotions of the subjects. Sotogrande provides such a haven, where she spends most of the summer polo season with the ponies, players and their families, who she is now close friends with.
Having exhibited in galleries across Europe, Russia and Argentina as well as featured in several publications and books, Irina is perhaps well on her way of being established as one of the great contemporary equine photographers. But then, she has no such ambition. For now, she is content living in one of the most romantic destinations in the world, photographing what she loves.
When asked to identify her own favourite photographic work to date, she smiles and replies demurely, “it’s one I’m yet to take…”. TPP has a feeling that, considering her modesty and artistic integrity, that answer will remain unchanged.