Me seen by a friend of mine, Eugenia Durante, a great journalist and a sensitive woman:|
«Kazakh model Nina Sever reminds us to put body and soul into what we do – no matter if we do it with our clothes on or not.
The first time I saw Nina she reminded me of a spider. There was something in the way she moved and talked, staying still for a while and then moving rapidly in an unexpected direction, both with her actions and thoughts, that had a spidery touch. I didn't know of the elegant tattoo she has just above her right breast yet – a black tarantula crawling up a treble clef – but it was like I had somehow felt it.
Her five tattoos and shimmery, long red hair show that she is not that kind of model you would expect to see. She has got a peculiar cautious way of approaching things and people, like a cat trying to decide whether to trust you or not. When you get to know her, though, she staggers you with her sharp laugh and witty humour. It is like knowing two different people: the cold, detached and almost intimidating Nina Sever, with her dark eyes staring at the centre of the lens, and the other Nina, a funny girl who keeps on joking and snooping around.
“It happens to me all the time,” she admits. “Whenever I meet a photographer for the first time, at the end of the shooting he would tell me how amazed he was to see I am also a nice and fun person. I suppose it is the way I am. It takes me a while to trust somebody and when I am working I try to be as professional as possible.”
Her nickname fits her like a glove and hearing her talking you would never guess she is neither Italian nor English. Her real name is Yekaterina Polyakova and she was born and raised in Almaty, Kazakhstan, before moving to Tuscany when she was 10, unable to speak a single word of Italian and feeling a bit lost. At 25 she is now a highly-requested independent model in Italy, as well as an editor and writer.
“I could understand some words but I was not able to express myself. It was driving me crazy. The other kids were always mocking me and I decided I had to do something. I started studying Italian and in one year I was the best in my class. This was when I understood that there is nothing truer than ‘no pain, no gain’,” she says.
Since then, she has never stopped working hard and putting her soul in whatever she does. When you manage to scratch the surface, you get to know a multifaceted personality livened up by a deep curiosity and an iron will.
Nina started modelling for the pin up platform Sick Girl six years ago, when she was 19. Since then, she has shot fashion editorials, beauty, nude and portraits, as well as several videoclips for Italian and international bands. She has worked with well-known Italian photographers, such as Pino Leone and Fulvio Maiani, but she also likes to work with amateurs, if she sees something special in their work.
Being a young, beautiful girl working as a freelance in a sector which requires you to stay naked in front of a camera, she has soon learnt to be cautious and extremely selective. She knows exactly what she wants and what she doesn't, and she is not afraid to ask for it.
“I work with many male photographers and I had unpleasant experiences with some of them. When you shoot erotic pictures or nude with a man, it is normal to feel some kind of erotic tension between the model and the photographer. It is perfectly fine, I am not ashamed and I like it – it helps me to express myself and translate the erotism from my body to the picture,” she explains.
“But sometimes you just bump into maniacs. I always try to make it clear that I am doing my job, and with time I learnt how to avoid unpleasant situations. The danger, however, is always around the corner.”
Some may say that with her most erotic work she is encouraging a distorted image of the woman, although it is impossible not to notice the complete lack of vulgarity present in her elegant and graceful pictures. She is well aware that when she is posing for an erotic shooting there is a strong sexual element, but she sees no harm in this.
“Eros exists and I see nothing wrong in creating something beautiful, even if it may cause a physical reaction. As long as the intention is pure and clear, it is fine. I don't like when the female body is used to sell products in advertising; I find it too easy, it shows a deep lack of creativity I despise,” she explains.
To her, posing naked is natural and helps her to express herself. She loves the difference between shooting for a woman photographer and with men. When she is working with a woman, she doesn't seem to care if she is wearing clothes or not. She knows they will both focus on the artistic side of it and probably the result will be something delicate, complex, almost romantic. When she is posing for a men, however, things completely change. The sexual element is strong and it triggers the intensity she manages to spread with her pictures.
“I am perfectly aware that I would not be able to do this job forever: I am working with my body and it will get old, too. That's why I cultivate my other passions, writing and music, which I hope will be my future occupations. In the meanwhile, I keep on doing what I do. In the end, posing for somebody is like living a love story: you have to put body and soul into it, otherwise only a fool would expect it to work.”»
Eugenia Durante / eugeniadurante.com