Margarita Smagina, St. Petersburg

Why does your work say about modern Russia?
In Russia there are a lot of prejudices. Through my work, I’m trying to expand the minds of those who see what I am doing. I relay Russian subculture, which is a mix of Soviet modernism and the foreign pop industry. Gorbachev and Elvis Presley, such a good cocktail.

In your opinion, has feminism in Russia changed creativity?
Feminism in Russia has enabled the implementation of women and it’s super cool — otherwise I would have stayed at home with a dozen children and worked at a factory, possibly even be dead by now. I’m on the side of feminism, equal rights and the promotion of equal labour but without fanaticism. In my work basically everything is created by my women — my stylists, models, makeup artists and hairdresser.

What is creative Russia’s biggest struggle?
There are a small number of people engaged in creative work in Russia because they gave us the green light (to work) only recently. The older generations have a stereotype that art work is a kind of parasitism. Therefore, they destroy the rudiments of creativity in the early childhood and people just don’t have the courage to be creative. And those who have the courage, they leave the country.

Taken from: i-D: Photography is helping young russians break away from the old world