Natalia is a Russian-born photographer who followed her love to Berlin. After five years in the German capital, she’s become well adapted to her new city. We talked to Natalia about her hometown Sochi, her favorite moments in Berlin, and her career choices after she relocated from Russia to Germany.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in the southern area of Russia in the subtropical region of Sochi. I lived there for 17 years before I moved to Moscow to study at the University.
What is the strongest memory you have of Southern Russia?
In regards to spending in nature, Sochi is the best place I’ve ever lived in my entire life. We swim in the city from June until October, and then we ski and snowboard in the mountains from November until May. The climate is very mild, so I hadn’t experienced a Russian winter until I relocated to Moscow. My strongest memory is going to the sea every day in summer in the early mornings with my family, swimming until we were exhausted, and having boiled corn for breakfast at the beach.
When did you arrive in Berlin and what brought you here?
Love brought me here in the summer of 2014. My husband – he is Russian as well – found a job here as a car designer at Volkswagen. We decided to move and give it a try, but I hesitated for a year before I finally joined him on his journey. We never wanted to move specifically to Berlin, and we knew basically nothing about it. So, it was a pure coincidence and great luck for us that we fell in love with this city as much as we have.
What was your profession back in Russia and now here in Berlin?
In Russia, I worked as a journalist for several major magazines. Before I came to Berlin, I was an editor for magazines such as Interview Magazine, Elle Girl Russia, and many others. It all changed in Berlin, as I couldn’t work in my native language anymore. So, after some years of working in SEO marketing and SMM for Berlin startups, I finally switched back to photography. I had studied photography in London when I was 25 years old, and I also have a master’s degree in it. I gave it up for some personal reasons, but now I am back at it and am super happy to be doing it again.
What is typical about Berlin? What do you love about the city?
I love that when I take the U8, I can see the coexistence of different nations in action — everyone is so tolerant and accepting of each other. It really fascinates me and I admire how the citizens of Berlin have created that atmosphere of acceptance.
What is your contribution to make Berlin a bit more beautiful?
I really hope that with the new generation of Russians — those who come to Berlin to work, who speak fluently foreign languages, and who are very open-minded — there will be a new perception of Russian people in Berlin and Germany. It might sound brazen, but I hope that as one of those new Russian people living and working here, I am helping to make Berlin a little bit more tolerant, and therefore more beautiful!
Which (famous) Berliner would you like to photograph one day?
Sasha Ring from Apparat! Also, I like the queer scene in Berlin with all the amazing drag-queens. Photographing some of them would be incredible!
In addition to that we’re stoked to announce that Natalia will be photographing for Berlinograd.com. Work is in progress – so stay tuned!