Irina Mattioli and Alisa Valerieva Uzunova in Saint Petersburg.

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Irina Mattioli about her collaboration with Alisa Valerieva Uzunova during her Russian Photo Tour 2016:

Saint Petersburg has been the final stop of my journey through Russia, a country so close but so distant, that made my photographic travel something way more memorable that I could actually have guessed.


Due to a wider range of shootings and professional appointments between Moscow and Nižnij Novgorod, in Saint Petersburg – a very cosmopolitan and artistic city –  I just had time for one person: that person was Alisa Valerieva Uzunova.


Alisa is a rising star in one of the best school in Russia and in the whole world, the Vaganova Ballet Academy. At the young age of 15, she has been not only able to reach me for a quite demanding photo session at the end of a long training day, but she has also behaved like the most mature and professional model. Also, she is Bulgarian, raised in Bruxelles – In other words, multilingual – and that gave me the opportunity to easily communicate with her in English. Solid communication with my subjects while taking pictures is a very vital feature to me. Sometimes, it is the kind of thing that help you to make the difference as a photographer.



During our shooting in the streets of Saint Petersburg, we obviously did a good job: she is a beautiful and talented dancer; but what really amazed me about Alisa was the relentless and vibrant way through which she constantly tried to outdo herself. Working with her has been the perfect way to end my Russian journey: she left me with a renewed desire to do more and more.




Locations: Rossi Boutique Hotel, Vaganova Ballet Academy and the streets of Saint Petersburg.

Irina Mattioli for Anna Pavlova Network, all rights reserved.