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Russian Mother captures atmospheric photos of sons on farm

By dpreview staff on Jan 26, 2014 at 08:00 GMT
Mother captures heartwarming photos of sons on farm 
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Mother captures heartwarming photos of sons on farm 

Elena Shumilova's atmospheric photographs show a special bond between her sons Yaroslav and Vanya and their animals, on the family farm in rural Russia. Her images are deliberately dreamlike and highly evocative, capturing the bond between her young sons and their animal playmates. The Russian mother took up photography in 2012 and currently uses a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 135mm lens.   

To see more of Shumilova's photographs check out her Flickr and 500px sites. 

Via: Boredpanda.com , Source: 500px

Comments

Total comments: 592
12345
Wanchese
By Wanchese (1 week ago)

Her use of light is sublime. We all can learn.

1 upvote
123Mike
By 123Mike (1 week ago)

One of the best series I have ever seen. Wauw. I'm blown away.

1 upvote
Redcld
By Redcld (1 week ago)

These photos are worth a thousand words.... I love them!!!!

1 upvote
Yasmine IPA
By Yasmine IPA (2 weeks ago)

I love the pictures. So warm and sweet!

0 upvotes
D Alchemist
By D Alchemist (3 weeks ago)

The pictures are great. Ethereal, earthen. The light quality is fascinating and unnatural. Highly manipulated in PP. Art.

2 upvotes
CaseyComo
By CaseyComo (1 month ago)

There's some element of the barnyard about these...I can almost smell it.

1 upvote
CaseyComo
By CaseyComo (1 month ago)

In reconstitituted Soviet Russia, Photoshop tricks use YOU!

3 upvotes
SonyAAA
By SonyAAA (1 month ago)

HAH the comments here. Blah!!

Too many of you are snobs.

If this photographer used photoshop and/or filters, it doesn't make her less of a photographer or less talented.

When we photographers use lights, and reflectors and backdrops, is that cheating? Does that make us less of a photographer?

Photography is not just setting your camera correctly, it is setting up a shot, getting the lighting right, using reflectors outside, using studio lights inside. All of that is photography.

There is no difference between manipulating images before they're taken to after they are taken.

There are some nice people here but too often the snobs who think they are better than every other photographer here make stupid comments criticizing others out of shear jealousy. They're ones that ruin Dpreview forums.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
18 upvotes
DHolmes
By DHolmes (3 weeks ago)

You are so right!!!

1 upvote
Wenetu
By Wenetu (2 days ago)

What do you think if I confirm you that most are studio shot of paid models, photoshopped inside fake backgrounds, and that there is a professional team behind the "just a mom with a camera" claim.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
sunilkumar
By sunilkumar (1 month ago)

"Just a mom with camera" title feels like someone captured real moments(well we can argue staged moments are also real moments)

Well these shots are amazing and i feel it inspire every photographer out there. Highly professional work with post processing, props, lens selection which suggests the title and marketing is well kind of attractive but not true to itslef.

Who cares wonderful pics.

Regards

3 upvotes
James Mao
By James Mao (2 months ago)

These photos are amazing. As the father of a 4-year old boy i can even smell the peace, sweet, soft moment out of these pictures. Beautiful. i am not a pro but i still wish that someday i can capture the touching moments of my life just like she did. One picture is enough.

3 upvotes
George Walsh
By George Walsh (2 months ago)

Great photography.

1 upvote
ams qtr
By ams qtr (2 months ago)

every single one of these pics is simply amazing

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
jcuknz
By jcuknz (2 months ago)

Nice ones all

0 upvotes
jackie semple
By jackie semple (2 months ago)

Outstanding pics

1 upvote
Micketto
By Micketto (2 months ago)

Pic #8 used in marketing campaign here:
http://www.baseone.co.uk/our-portfolio/brand-engagement/vodafone-inseparable

Is the story valid?

Anyway, nice Photoshop skills and filter usage.

For those saying these will be "great memories" for the kids, you have to remember they are being directed to pose for pics... this isn't their life in action.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
darngooddesign
By darngooddesign (2 months ago)

"For those saying these will be "great memories" for the kids, you have to remember they are being directed to pose for pics... this isn't their life in action."

My father would direct us when taking family photos; I don't remember the details just that he did. Doesn't mean they aren't great memories.

3 upvotes
Archiver
By Archiver (1 month ago)

For many people, being directed for family photos usually goes like this:

'Okay, everybody hold still ... and get ready to smile ... one, two, three!'

Following this are a blinding flash, a sore face from holding a smile too long, and an increasing resentment of being asked to 'pose'.

Photos like the ones in this article are magical, and if the direction is well done, it gives joy to the process.

1 upvote
macker
By macker (2 months ago)

Wonderful collection Love them all,
Especially the last one (its all ahead of us)

2 upvotes
Evan Effa
By Evan Effa (2 months ago)

These are Wonderful Images.

'nuff said.

-evan

0 upvotes
VDG
By VDG (2 months ago)

vv what he said.

0 upvotes
madeinlisboa
By madeinlisboa (2 months ago)

Beautiful photos. Much better than most of the Sony Awards finalists.

3 upvotes
JeffreyJC
By JeffreyJC (2 months ago)

I think they are great photos.I like the dreamy look that is given to the photographs.My only nit-pick is the boy near the straw stack,a piece of straw goes across the top of his hairline and that makes it a distraction.
Otherwise fantastic work.

0 upvotes
Mahdijk
By Mahdijk (2 months ago)

nice photos. Good composition.

0 upvotes
kty
By kty (2 months ago)

The photos are really stunning. Actually too stunning. They all show professional digital post processing. Taking this photos for her is absolutely possible. But learning this grade of editing takes years. Every experienced photoshop user can see the pro level touch on these photos.

Furthermore, there is only one very short interview with her which is highly doubtful. She didn't respond to on ANY of the comments and questions under the photos. No info on her web page either.

This just stinks. The stroy of "a mother taking dreamy pictures of her children in a russian farm" is perfect to bloom in internet. We all victimize that it works very good. I believe that the real person -her husband?- behind this amazing photos, just found a perfect method to go viral and be famous. Honestly, how many of us would hesitate to do something similar?

I am not badmouthing these wonderful photos. Even if the whole story is a farce that doesn't change the fact that they are fantastic.

4 upvotes
fuzzysplat
By fuzzysplat (2 months ago)

Shakespear Identity, continued....

It really hurts, that woman mastered things that "take years", right? :) Yet it is very feasible.
She does not respond to all the noise? Then, maybe, she knows what to do with her time. /And that might give us a raw idea why she didn't need those years.

2 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (2 months ago)

Why Russia

1 upvote
mister0
By mister0 (2 months ago)

beautifully done.
You're always gonna have cranks and malcontents.
Plain and simple. Beautiful, touching..
Some might say corny..whatever… like it or not, it's not everyone who can pull these kinds of pictures off..
well done!!! AND THANK YOU

1 upvote
John Brewton
By John Brewton (2 months ago)

Incredibly beautiful photography. Her children will always be able to return to the most wonderful memories.

2 upvotes
codewalker
By codewalker (2 months ago)

Very nice pictures. Comments here though makes a newbie like me sad. Seems photography nowadays has a lot of technical nitpicking and some form of politics. Can't we just enjoy the picture, message and the moment captured?

Kinda fun imagining what's in the kids mind during these shots.

9 upvotes
pboehi
By pboehi (2 months ago)

She delivers, no doubt about this. Gorgeous photography!

2 upvotes
Jay A
By Jay A (2 months ago)

Not sure I understand the arguments in this thread about these photos. Fact is, some will like them, some will not. What's that got to do with hate?
Personally, I think they are very skillful, professional looking images, but at the same time they are probably the corniest, and most contrived collection of images I have ever seen. I hate nothing nor no one here, I am just giving an honest opinion based on over 50 years of doing, studying and teaching photography as an art form.
Take my comments as you will...accept them or reject them. But take them at face value, as they are honest feelings that I have about these images.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (2 months ago)

Thank you Jay. Great post. The word hate is almost abused in society. Posting "I don't care for her style" is not hating! People have become overly sensitive. It is okay to not like something. I told a fellow music lover that I think Caravan by Duke Ellington is a better song than Hey Jude by The Beatles. Five minutes later he was back to "so why do you hate The Beatles?". Good grief. I am older and have seen plenty of real hate in my lifetime. Not having the same reaction to these photos (or any others posted on the DPR forum) as everyone else out here is not hate. What gives anyone the right to paint another forum member in the corner with snarky posts like "anyone who doesn't like these photos is either jealous or stupid"? Long ago I learned to respect the opinions of others. It is perfectly fine and natural to disagree about art, politics and religion. There is room for all sides.

1 upvote
Majauskasson
By Majauskasson (3 months ago)

Elina Shumilova, professional photographer, masquerading as a talented amateur seems to impress some. After just 18 months, this supposed amateur mastered a complex $5000 camera and various lighting equipment and lenses plus the photo editing program it would take to get these results. She also miraculously managed, in this time, to visit many different bucolic scenes and locations and process these plus somehow look after her small brood of young children and apparently a host of farm animals. I would have been just as impressed if she, or whoever is the actual talent behind this, was honest about how she actually accomplished this. Simple genius is not enough. It takes money and lots of people behind you, to get such results. Pretending to be a simple mother snapping pictures in the Russian wilderness is a bit much. Its also dishonest.

16 upvotes
gwales
By gwales (2 months ago)

So, if you're wrong, that makes her even more amazing, doesn't it?

2 upvotes
fuzzysplat
By fuzzysplat (2 months ago)

"whoever is the actual talent behind this"
-- right, it's Shakespear of photography: 20 people are hiding behind one name only to bewilder us. Seriously, she is an architect - such kind of education helps a lot with understanding space and light and perception -- things much more important then just gear. And it's not stone age around: tons of literature are available on optics, imaging-related discrete math, editing technics -- not so hard to fathom it all, even to get used to it in 18 months. It's like getting new job: you know where you can succeed and you go for it.
And it's not artist herself that "impress some", it's her artistic work, her pictures - so lovely, so kind, reminding us of our childhood or our own kid, telling on subconscious level (that's what art is about, after all).
So what if she haven't disclosed details we actually didn't need? Whoever Shakespear was, it's still good reading.

And by the way, nice approach to background on definitly *portrait* photographs.

1 upvote
papa natas
By papa natas (2 months ago)

Remember Snow White?
Well, she managed to convince seven dwarfs to work the mine under her management, got into the Stock Exchange, and now she lives in Wonderland. Nobody seems to complain about it.
As far as the first article about this Russian photographer went. It NEVER said that she was a poor farmer, and I believe that she is allowed to use the editor software she thinks necessary to enhance her work, as many of us do.

3 upvotes
whawha
By whawha (2 months ago)

Whatever, her pictures still look like cheesy postcards...

3 upvotes
fuzzysplat
By fuzzysplat (2 months ago)

-- I bet they were intended to look like postcards, in a sense. Very nice style, resembles illustrations to some fairy-tale books, animation movies / 'Urchin in the Fog' maybe?/. I wish I had one such card from my childhood.. Mom used to color BW family photos with chalk/pastel as she liked (faces included) and nobody objected. Even at studios portraits were often shot with artificial backgrounds: drapes, painted boards. Elena chose to use as backgound part of actual image - which I consider portrait type - only softened, defocused. Why not? It looks charming and nicely supports main objects - kid and pet. No wonder many viewers here like theese pics and just ignore tech means /camera, editor, etc/.

What surprizes me is what critics aim at: expensive gear > heavy editing > unclear pro/amature status (and farm ownership?) > personality of photographer (and honesty?) > then her identity itself... Like gear and gossip are always more interesting then someone else's excellent work?

1 upvote
papa natas
By papa natas (2 months ago)

ALL postcards are cheesy.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
cherylschwarz920
By cherylschwarz920 (3 months ago)

Simply stunning !!

1 upvote
Kamal31
By Kamal31 (3 months ago)

Very nice photos. Good composition.

1 upvote
Cacique
By Cacique (3 months ago)

Viewing these photos before reading the comments, I saw them as beautifully evocative not only of rural Russia (its kinder aspects, to be sure) but of the Russian tradition of fairy tale illustration. The shots with the sled and dog, and the cat and scoop shovel, for instance, are worthy of enamel miniatures. Shumilova is continuing a Russian tradition using photography as her medium and I'm sorry for those who can only see her work in terms of technical production.

8 upvotes
nx200super
By nx200super (3 months ago)

Is there a link showing the original photos that are not retouched by PP? It'd be interesting to compare the original and the processed pictures.

2 upvotes
dreis911
By dreis911 (3 months ago)

Beautiful shots.
I wish I could shoot like this! :(

5 upvotes
Marksphoto
By Marksphoto (3 months ago)

не знаю как вам, а мне понравилось, и что, что фотошоп, на этот раз надо смотреть на картинку, а не искать артефакты в пикселях. Надо задуматься как художник хотел донести историю до нас и как успешно она это сделала.

А мы тут просто проходимцы и зеваки, за словом в карман не лезим.

4 upvotes
quokka
By quokka (2 months ago)

Agreed!

0 upvotes
montygm
By montygm (3 months ago)

Nice shots and lighting. But very heavily photoshopped. Lots of vignetting, fogging and blurring added. The two shots on her Flickr page towards the end shows two completely different shots with dust particles floating in the air…if you look closely the dust specks are in the same position in both. I have no problem with using Photoshop, it's a necessary evil with digital cameras these days…however I find it rather dishonest when the photographer downplays the use of it and pretends it is "natural".

9 upvotes
Mk82
By Mk82 (2 months ago)

I am interested to know every shot "cheat sheet" and used format (35mm, 1.5x, 1.6x or even 2x crop) etc) so what are f/ and shutter speed and ISO. Knowing those few things tell everything else how photo was done.

0 upvotes
guytano
By guytano (2 months ago)

Photoshop and other similar programs expand the palette of those with the vision and skill to leverage the tech. There is nothing realistic about any photograph. They are all partial and imperfect representations of reality. The real question is, what is art?

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
montygm
By montygm (2 months ago)

I agree…art is a very personal and individual interpretation for every individual. As I mentioned I have no objections to using photoshop or any media in achieving the results one is after. But many of you here seem to overlook the fact that she is portraying a false illusion of a mother who just picked up a camera for the first time, and we are to believe that these images are "natural" as described in her blog. As if!

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (3 weeks ago)

Probably just trying to earn a living and raise money to bring up her kids. Nothing wrong with that at all - and her work is very good.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Average User
By Average User (3 months ago)

Well it's not just kid shots... shot 1 by way of example, is a shot of a little kid poking his fingers into his dog's mouth...a handsome well cared for dog big enough to have the kid for lunch. But instead of being annoyed, the dog is just loving and being completely patient with every moment of it.... picturing love in action is always a great thing...

6 upvotes
3dit0r
By 3dit0r (3 months ago)

Wonderful. That is all.

2 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (3 months ago)

Usually, kid shots, can't get off the page fast enough. But these are wonderful. Go figure!

5 upvotes
Aeros
By Aeros (3 months ago)

I have never been able to understand jealousy. Jealousy is the main reason I stopped exhibiting my paintings in galleried shows. Instead I sell my paintings and giclee prints directly to my clients without galleries or agents. I sell a lot less in quantity as a result, but the actual sale direct is far more satisfying for me.

The best endorsement of my work is for a collector to put cash in my hand and tell me how happy they are to own a work by me. I leave all the pettiness behind, all the squabbling and mean mouthing. I just paint and shoot for me! If someone likes my work and buys it, that’s all I need to know, all the rest is just noise.

Elena Shumilova’s work IMHO is at a genius level and it inspires me to do better at my own photography. The fact that I have been at this photography thing for more than forty five years, and Elena about two, is of no consequence to me, the fact is, I can learn from her as I can from anyone who produces such fine work.

20 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

I do not agree with what I think you are suggesting in terms of criticism equating to jealousy.

But I do enjoy what you say about what can be the hassles of selling work and agree that getting pieces into collectors' hands is very satisfying. I also agree that you (and I) can learn a lot from those relatively new to photography; such is much of what makes art interesting, to remind oneself that it is not so much all the technical stuff, internalized over the years, but fresh perspective and perception that is requisite to producing satisfying work.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (3 months ago)

Yes of course, any criticism only stems from jealousy or lack of understanding from petty and limited minds, all should obviously bow before your genius, there is no way your work can be anything else than perfect, that's a reasonable hypothesis...

Narcissistic nitwit...

3 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (3 months ago)

This may come as shocking news but it is possible to not care for something and not be jealous.

3 upvotes
Aeros
By Aeros (2 months ago)

@ mcshan. I'm certainly not jealous of Andy Wahole. @ carabas. I strive for perfection with every work I produce and always fail, so I am inspired by those who produce work that motivates me to try yet again. Give this a try yourself instead of wasting your time with sarcasm.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
mcshan
By mcshan (2 months ago)

Aeros. First you babble about jealousy and now you back away from it. Read the posts following yours and learn something about yourself.

2 upvotes
Average User
By Average User (3 months ago)

I very much appreciate DP Review new direction of pointing out really good photography that's out there.
Some of the work, like the Wyoming time photography is not something we would really do, but all of it expands our view of what we as photographers can do.
I am deeply turned off by those who are spending their time picking at details instead of looking for positives in the work to comment on.
You remind me of the wife who goes into the garage after the husband and children have been cleaning all day, and then picks at a couple of things they didn't do, instead of complimenting the job they did do.

5 upvotes
Sjakie1956
By Sjakie1956 (3 months ago)

Wow !!

3 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

Funny, pic No.2 is more expensive - $149.00 - than others ($139.00 "with world-wide shipping and payment in different currencies available"). Bigger dog more expensive to feed? Or to rent?

3 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (3 months ago)

I'm not going to either criticize or complain about those who are, but: wow, there is a reason that the one with the little kid with hands on the (relatively) huge dog is the lead photo for every story. That's a great photo that really makes you do a double-take.

2 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

It's not relatively huge dog. It is a HUGE dog. Caucasian Shepherds are notoriously large.

0 upvotes
o_23
By o_23 (3 months ago)

To Black Box:
The dog is not Caucasian Shepherd. The breed is Central Asian Shepherd - Alabai. Alabai is "cat in dog's clothing" - very kind. Alabai temperament is very different from Caucasian Shepherd.

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

I actually thought about it but it's got a TAIL - something Asians shouldn't have. But if you're sure, okay, I apologize for my mistake. Please read Central Asian Shepherds are notoriously large.

1 upvote
o_23
By o_23 (3 months ago)

I am not expert neither. :) I read about dog's breed from Elena's interview, that is what she said. I thought that breed is a Moscow Watchdog. Our family also had large dog - Newfoundland breed. He was only 2 months older than our younger son. He was great babysitter and friend for our kids.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
1 upvote
o_23
By o_23 (3 months ago)

Here is link to Google translation of interview with Elena Shumilova
http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fchel.kp.ru%2Fdaily%2F26184%2F3073305%2F&act=url

scroll down to see page

1 upvote
Nightrider72
By Nightrider72 (3 months ago)

Beautiful!

4 upvotes
Aaron801
By Aaron801 (3 months ago)

Wow, tough crowd here... at least some of you. I don't really get the haters here. They're a little bit "greeting card" for me. Still, they're very obviously well done and there's something about them that I have to admire. They're both technically very well done. So many photos I see are impeccably done on a technical level, but somehow don't really show much in the way of the unique vision of the person taking them... in the way that these most certainly do.

Also, what's with the idea that this woman can't possibly live on a farm in Russia and also have a very expensive camera? That's just silly! Russia has lots of poor but also some very wealthy folks, right? We don't really know anything about the photographers background so to make some statement about how she must be some kind of hoax is pretty extreme.... I wound't make these kind of assumptions if this woman was from Ethiopia... Even that country has some wealthy people and some of them undoubtably buy photo equipment.

7 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

Regarding your second paragraph, she is, in fact, an architect. And the farm might well be less livelihood, more lifestyle. Neither my first fact nor my second speculation is negative - makes little difference to me, is irrelevant in the assessment of her work. And my opinion of her work, in large part, mirrors yours.

2 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (3 months ago)

Aaron, dpreview always had been full of pricks and haters, no big surprise here.

8 upvotes
spbStan
By spbStan (4 weeks ago)

The haters have so many issues with these images: A woman, how could she be talented, obviously poor, she lives in Russia, cheated, used Photoshop, can't possibly be an amateur, and a number of other totally unsupportable conclusions. Art, access to art and art education is as common in Russia as McDonalds are in the US. The median family net worth is higher than in the US, or UK(most live in homes they own free and clear so that is where most of their asset is), so buying a decent camera is not out of reach. Although it costs more than in really cheap places like the US, there are fewer monthly expenses so there is a surprising level of discretionary cash available. Living on a farm and being well educated are not incompatible, Russia has the highest proportion of university grads than any other country, over 58% of all adults over 20.
So not only are they haters they are also ignorant of the rest of the world. Hate and ignorance go together.

0 upvotes
fastprime
By fastprime (3 months ago)

Critics in the use of Photoshop (or other pp sw) must all be jpeg shooters, 'cause last time I checked RAW files have to be converted and adjusted through a post-processing workflow. JPEGs go through an automated conversion process in-camera.

If the photog is not going to adjust the RAW file after opening it in software(i.e., file open>file save as) they'd actually get better results shooting straight jpegs, cause unedited RAW files look flat.

4 upvotes
Aeros
By Aeros (3 months ago)

This is the most intelligent comment on PP I have ever read

0 upvotes
JayBratcher
By JayBratcher (3 months ago)

Look at Brooke Shaden. I love what she does - her work is absolutely brilliant. But I know that what she does is not just photography - she is an amazing artist with vision and post-processing technique, and she is recognized for this. It would be dishonest to look at her work and say that she is a wonderful photographer though, because her images transcend photography to the point that we can't tell what kind of photographer she is.

There is no hating here - I just think it is deceptive to simply call her a photographer, when she is clearly a digital artist (and a brilliant one at that).

0 upvotes
bikinchris
By bikinchris (3 months ago)

It just won't load for me.

0 upvotes
AV Janus
By AV Janus (3 months ago)

What a beautiful life...

and the I think of bail outs and my day is ruined again...

4 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

I envision you watching a series of rainbows forming and reforming above a bucolic landscape. Suddenly, your mind turns to corporate bail outs and unfair taxation. The pastoral then turns black, flowers wilt and die, majestic oak trees fall and burst into flame.

8 upvotes
AV Janus
By AV Janus (3 months ago)

And I'm like Stellaaaaaaa!! Stellaaaaa!!
http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/dA2nJw2vCT8/hqdefault.jpg

2 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

GOSH, Brando is fat! :-))

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

AV Janus, you should stop accepting those bailouts if it makes your banker's soul so sad. :-((

0 upvotes
Total comments: 592
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