Based out of Indiana, photographer Polina Osherov has become well known in her local area. Her photography has pulled her in many directions, especially fashion. This mother of two is without a dull moment. Specializing in commercial and fashion photography, Osherov has shot numerous campaigns and editorials. Fashion is the underlying passion of her work. When she isn’t capturing the perfect shot, Osherov is an editor for PatternIndy.com and editor-in-chief of the spin off magazine, Pattern Paper. Both publications focus on her hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana as a means of bringing together the fashion community while promoting local boutiques, designers, artists and fashion fanatics. Osherov says of her busy schedule, “Life is hectic, but good!” To view her photography portfolio, click here.
What lead you to start a career in photography?
My dad is a cinematographer and a photographer so I grew up around cameras. I started shooting for fun from an early age and even pursued an associate degree in photography as part of my search for the “right” major for a time. For one reason or another though, I didn’t end up pursuing photography professionally until much later, some 15 years later in fact, after I had my first daughter. I was talking lots and lots of photos of her and it suddenly dawned on me one day, “hey! I really love photography! Why am I not doing this professionally??” And so my love affair with photography was reignited.
Where has photography taken you in your travels and what has been the most memorable experience
Unfortunately, due to the timing of when I got back into photography (after having children), I have not done any traveling for work, preferring to work locally. My youngest daughter starts kindergarten this year though, so I think it might be time to look outside Indiana for assignments. I can tell you that shooting fashion stories in Europe and Asia is a big dream of mine and I do love to travel, so I might have to try my hand at travel photography too.
Fashion photography is one of your specialties. Were you always interested in fashion or did photography draw that interest out?
Love of photography definitely came before love of fashion! It’s funny how that worked out. In all honesty, when I started, I was almost completely clueless about fashion, the fashion industry and personal style. Thankfully, I’m a quick learner! The thing that attracted me to fashion photography first and foremost was the ability it gave me to be able to tell stories. To create visual fantasies in a way I did not see as possible with other genres. I also discovered how much I enjoyed working with a team. I love the shared experience of creating something with a group of people who are as passionate about their art as I am about mine. And of course working with professional models is like nothing else. If everything goes to plan, a fashion shoot can be a sublime experience.
You are also working on PatternIndy.com, an online fashion blog and publication for the Indianapolis area. How did you become a part of this?
My involvement with Pattern grew out of my fashion photography work. After shooting fashion locally for about three years, I got to know a lot of people and most of us agreed that there needed to be an effort of some kind to help raise the industry’s profile, both locally and to the outside world. A handful of us started meeting on a regular basis and trying to figure out how to best make an impact. I’d had lots of experience of building websites and doing marketing from running a business with my husband, so I took on the responsibility of creating and maintaining the site and our social media presence. That was about two years ago.
Why is it important to you to spread the word of the Indianapolis fashion scene? Do you see the city as a growing fashion hub?
Indianapolis is not currently known for its fashion industry or for being a particularly stylish city, yet we have many people living and working here who are somehow connected to the apparel industry or are simply lovers of fashion. Most people don’t know this, but Central Indiana is home to companies like OneClick, Finish Line, American Colors, and Vera Bradley. Simon Malls have their national headquarters downtown Indianapolis. We have our share of independent boutiques, as well as big national retailers like Nordstroms, Saks Fifth Ave and Macy’s, and we also have around ten fashion design/fashion merchandizing college programs – so quite a lot going on! The challenge is that everyone is off doing their own thing and there is a lot of disconnect. I’m not sure why that is, but we’re trying to change that through Pattern. We have monthly meet-ups and of course the website is a way for us to disseminate information about the local industry. I absolutely think that Indianapolis is a growing fashion hub! There has been so much enthusiasm for what we’ve been trying to do – people are excited! The last ten years have seen a significant growth in the local arts culture scene, so we’re a little behind on the fashion side of things, but people here are definitely ready for an upgrade to the city’s image.
Aesthetics aside, there’s also a more practical application to our efforts. We want apparel companies to bring their business to Indiana. The cost of running a business here is significantly less than doing so in any of the larger markets, but I think Indiana often gets overlooked because decision-makers don’t want to relocate to a city they feel is a cultural/fashion backwater. I don’t necessarily think that Indy’s reputation is quite that dire, especially not after being home to what by all accounts was the best hosted Super Bowl ever, but I’m not sure that we’re known for cultural vibrancy…yet. But I promise, it’s here and it’s happening and it’s great!
You seem to be always on the go and growing your name in the industry. What is your dream photography job?
Always on the go, yes! Sometimes, I wonder if I can be any busier. Dream photography job? That’s easy! Rome or Venice or Florence…anywhere in Italy really. Me and my crew (Kathy, Phil, Esther, Nikki). Supermodels. Racks of couture. A real budget. Story for Italian Vogue. BAM!
What exciting projects can we expect from you soon?
I just finished shooting the Fall campaign for Indianapolis based Kenra Professional and we got some amazing images which I can’t wait to see being used in their collateral. This month, I’ll also be shooting the cover of the fall issue of Pattern Paper magazine. I’m excited to be working on the cover with model Brittany Mason, who was Miss Indiana in 2008 and is currently a full-time model and aspiring actress traveling all over the world. She’s going to fly to Indy especially for the shoot on her own dime, which we really appreciate! Given her schedule, I think it’s just another example of the Midwestern spirit of generosity which I love to reference when trying to sell people on living and working in a place like Indiana. (As a side note and maybe bragging a little, Pattern Paper’s last cover girl, Grace Hartzel, also Indiana born and raised, is currently walking the couture runways in Paris!)
Other exciting stuff coming up is Fashion’s Night Out here in Indianapolis. This year we (Pattern) talked the Mayor’s office into endorsing the event, so Indy is an official FNO city this year! Pattern is heavily involved in promoting the event, and once again using this as an opportunity to connect all the different players as well as get the general public excited about fashion and to educate them on all that’s available to them in Indianapolis.
Finally, even though we’re half way through it, 2012 is my year to make a push into some bigger markets. My creative consultant Allegra Wilde thinks I’m ready, so now I need to get on the phone and set up some meetings. If only I can find the time…lol!
P.S. My portrait, shot by excellent Indy based photographer Stephen Simonetto, is my all-time favorite photo of me. It’s humorous, kinda weird and I’ve got this lion tamer stance which is pretty congruent with how I feel a lot of times, except that I’m not taming lions, but life.