So what's the story behind Psychospa? Where did the inspiration for this project come from?
We've always liked complicated structures and fairy-tale characters: natural, mysterious or even scary creatures. We both have experience of living in various places, which inspires us. Sonia grew up in the woodland and she spent a lot of time in the wilderness while Mark, a biologist by training, has spent all his life in an urbanized city. Personal experience, knowledge and recollections were mixed together and incarnated in the Psychospa series, depicting a modern man. It’s not your typical fairy-tale story about Happy-Go-Lucky or Alice in Wonderland. If you are looking for those kinds of stories you should go elsewhere. But if you are searching for a darker story, an adventure, then we have something for you.
What is your creative background like? How did you get into photography?
We have been in art-photography for several years. We don't have an academic art background, so we're guided by our instincts and personal sense of beauty when we make pictures. We are eager to devote ourselves wholly to our art, as if the world around us is one we've made with our own two hands. We think delicate and complicated structures are best of all reflected in photography.
What techniques did you use to make Psychospa?
Only genuine, healthy natural materials. Finding accessories and supplies always takes a great deal of time. Our small flat is usually filled with various things which are totally unnecessary in ordinary life and do not fit into the interior, but are perfect for our work.
Your website explains a bit about the modern man and nature, as shown in Psychospa. Can you expand?
What do you make of the way man relates to nature to heal him, or make him pure? To obtain real happiness and harmony we would like to live in a quiet ecologically favorable countryside, not far from the mountains and with a lake and some majestic trees within easy distance; to walk a lot, to gaze at the sunset in the evenings – to be in harmony with ourselves and nature. We are sure that many people would like to give it all up and enjoy themselves in the countryside. And, probably, in the pursuit of this they turn to spa procedures.
How much time do you typically spend on your projects? With Psychospa and Ice Cream, for example, how long did each take to finish?
It took us nine months to a year to finish Psychospa. Our inspiration never waned the entire time; we anticipated every session more than the previous one. All our series are made in our small flat. We are looking forward to the moment when we will be able to shoot in a real modern studio!
What's it like working with your spouse? Any conflicts there, or does your work relationship depend on your personal relationship?
Actually, we understand and feel each other perfectly well. On the intellectual level we know what we would like to say in the language of photography and function as a whole unit, as one organism. Mark has no sooner thought of something than Sonia is voicing his ideas. We were born for each other and for our art.
Who are the models you use in your photographs?
They're courageous people, ones brave enough to take this test. We often meet our models right in the street! It’s like playing a game: which of us will be able to choose an interesting person from the crowd and strike up a conversation with them? It’s funny! The hardest thing is getting the model to sit undressed for us and handle being smeared with “anything and everything”. The town we live in is provincial so people are a little timid!
Finally, how would you describe your work in your own words? What do you hope viewers take away with them after looking at your photography?
When we look at our pictures ourselves we feel the strength they give us, the deepest emotions, crisp colours, unbelievable texture – all this is pleasing to see. We hope viewers see the same. I mean when we look at the photos we wonder "Did the two of us really make this?"
To see more of the Whitesnow's work, check out their site here. Keep up with their other creative projects on the Behance network too.