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Short profile

Sasha Elage was born in 1980 in Leningrad and grew up in Lebanon and Russia as the son of a Finnish-Estonian-Russian mother and a Lebanese father. Today he lives in France. A self-taught photographer, he eschews corrective methods in his photography. He has formal training in communications, and his professional experience ranges from fashion to advertising. His photographs are exhibited internationally and have been published in numerous magazines. In the interview, the 42-year-old reveals the new projects he is currently working on, the photographers he admires and why there is no art on the walls of his house in France.

Portrait of Sasha Elage.


Can you tell us a little bit about how you became a photographer?

I’ve always wanted to be a painter, since i was a child a was interested by visual arts and did a lot of drawing and paintings, Around the age of 10 I even had an exhibition of my paintings at school, and then nothing until the age of 24 when I discovered photography and immediately knew that this will be for life.

Two picture of birds flying at night.

Photo: Sasha Elage

Please share something about your images. What is your special interest? How do you choose the colors, composition, themes etc.?

Like painters, I use the camera to transform reality rather than just record it. I like to overexpose with natural or artificial light, and underexpose to show only one element in the picture, I use colored flash (since my earliest experiments in 2004, made this effect by holding a pink plastic CD case in front of the flash, today colored gels are now included in kits with most flashlights) to paint reality, I also use flash and long exposure together and many other techniques and light sources, there is no rules at all.

To be very honest with you, I never think about how I build my photos, I'm more of a very instinctive person and ideas come to me while photographing. But at the same time I have a very clear vision of what I want to photograph, sometimes I even dream of photographs and realize them a few years later. I think the most important thing for me is to surprise myself and make photos that are interesting for me first. 

Wall showing Sasha Elage´s art.

Photo: Sasha Elage

Where does this interest come from?

I have a very big idea of art and the role of the artist in society; it may sound a little old fashioned and cheesy, but I really believe we need more art in our lives. As a photographer, I believe my role is to be the best artist possible, to respect the heritage of the great painters and photographers who have inspired my work, and to continue to advance the medium and inspire others. I simply want to demonstrate that there are no limits in photography and that you can perform genuine miracles with a camera without using any digital editing. I've been photographing for 18 years and still feel as if I haven't accomplished anything because the possibilities are limitless and that's the best thing ever.

Bathroom wall showing Sasha Elage´s art.

Photo: Sasha Elage

How do you get inspired? And what inspires you the most? Films, books, or magazines? Or what surrounds you?  

I was absolutely interested in everything, I watched every film, devoured all the books, and I did all the exhibitions, I got to a stage where I saw almost everything from paintings, film, and photography it was like an obsession, I wanted to see everything and of course it's impossible. Today I am inspired by nature and try to surround myself with simple things, in my bed room the walls are white, no art is hanging, nothing lying around and no books collecting dust, the house is almost empty but full of light and I am very inspired, I'm becoming more and more minimalist and I try to own as few things as possible I think it's a form of ecology too. 

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

Busy, I have very little time to take new photos but still manage to do some, I'm building my online store and new website because many many people are asking for prints so It will be available very soon, I'm also working on a book called “Magic Island” about my recent trip to Iceland, some commissioned work for fashion, and a very interesting project that I'm not allowed to discuss for now (but its going to go beyond photography) and also looking for an agent.

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