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Behind the Scenes of Mazai Photo's Shoot 'Winter Break Away'

April 17, 2018

My name is Dmitri Fartushenko, you can always find me on social media platforms such as Instagram (@mazai.photo) or 500px (mazai). I am a 27 year old photographer, gaffer, 1ac. From Toronto, Canada. My photography and video production interest began after I first picked up a Fed-5 film camera around 2007. Since then, I have taught myself to develop, shoot and learn the foundation of film photography, following with my first DSLR camera purchase (nikon D200) in 2009.

Throughout the years I have developed a passion for video production, photography and design industries, always wanting to do mutual projects or develop my knowledge and portfolio. With the help of Lyubava F. (@boony_illustration) (graphic art designer) and Artur Z. (@arturzaitsev.dp) (director of photography) we created a small group that allowed us to network, collaborate, or work independently called Mazai. We did this purely for the passion we all shared in the various areas of photography, video and design work. 

As years went by my love of photography and video work grew more and more, with everyone around me creating many amazing projects, sometimes allowing us to collaborate on something mutual. I never felt the overwhelming need to have a lot of followers because I enjoyed doing the work. A lot of my work is made from a creative place of passion.

One day I came across few images of a Polish designer by the name of Agnieszka O. (@agnieszkaosipa). I was amazed by her craftsmanship. She makes dresses and head pieces like no other. I reached out to her to see what it would cost to have one of her dresses or rent it out for a shoot. With amazing response speeds she was able to help me and guide me to a particular piece she was designing at that moment. I said to my self, “I have to have this for my shoot.”


The concept was born.


The concept divided it self in to two subject matters: first being the contrasting cold and warm feelings of winter. The second was to create smoke that could represent temperature. The dress would represent the winter season. Following this idea was a small video segment that was shot by Artur Z and talented crew members that helped to push my idea even further.


The shoot had to take place in a cold environment in the northern part of the Greater Toronto area. We chose a city called Uxbridge. The reason why this location was chosen was for the two looks and video content I had in mind. With the weather being cold and winter being in full effect, many suggested going the studio route. But I stuck to my original plan and called upon a talented model Tasha K. (@tashakopoon) who agreed to participate in the shoot.

On the day of the shoot we had very limited time due to the cold temperatures. It was fairly difficult to shoot due to these conditions. So with help of some last minute additions; our MUA: Daniela D. @brokegirlbeautiful, Photo Assistant: Diana @dvnphoto.caProduction, and Assistant: Alfred @alfredlanin, we were able to make this vision come to life.

Lighting was a challenge for this production, we had a lot of different elements to tackle because we had chosen a remote set location and it was during the middle of a Canadian winter. We also needed lighting that would work for both the photography and videography portion of this project. I considered many options because of this, such as the Prophoto B1/D1 mobile kits, but, from a video perspective, I did not want a flash or strobe unit going off while filming. We wanted something that would provide continuous lighting and a warm glow, which lead us to finally choosing Aputure lighting (@aputuretech) with a powerful, v mount battery unit, to give enough light for me to photograph and freeze frame the smoke. This would also allow us to film our video at the same time.


We shot this on a NIkon D810 with a 24mm Sigma Art f1.4 lens and had backup lenses: 50mm f1.4 Sigma Art lens and Nikon 85 mm F1.8. The units we used were aperture 300D (daylight) and two120D/T heads with light domes. The primary reason for using such lenses are because I love the sharpness and ability to capture wide angles with out distortion to the subject or the surroundings. The entire shoot was done in the span of 30-40 minutes. The weather was bitterly cold creating a very small window of time to actually shoot. 


For many weeks I debated on publishing any of the images we photographed for this shoot on social media platforms, choosing to instead print editorial shots that I sent out to fellow crew members. Artur Z eventually persuaded me to share some of the images from our project. From then on I have received a lot of positive feedback.


I have always wanted to create a second piece to this project. I have held the idea in the back of my mind, with intricate visuals and artistic content that would help support the display of some amazing fashion pieces. I hope to portray the seasons and create emotions that vibrate through the imagery, set in Ontario; a large province in Canada that has always provided me with beautiful backdrops for my images. For the moment this portion of the project is on hold, but it is something I look forward to diving back into soon.

On that note I would like to thank 500px Studio and everyone who helped me out in my vision. Feel free to contact me - I love to build new projects, be inspired with other photographers and collaborate with like minded individuals. We are all here to learn and help one another out and support each other and our artistic visions. 




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