The Flawed Artist #3

MARIA KOTYLEVSKAJA

“I was born in Russia and moved to Germany at an early age. After graduating I moved to Hamburg where I am currently based and where I work as a freelance photographer. I also studied Media and Communication Science and I now
have the goal to work abroad and to travel around the world with my camera.”

My favourite quote is:

''Once in a while, once in a while you got to burn your lips, keep your feelings alive. Once in a while, once in
a while you got to burn down your house, keep your dreaming alive''

- The Kills - The Good Ones

Describe a flaw that you have, a trying time in your life or something you would change about yourself.
​​
I can be really stubborn. This might be my biggest flaw, it can cause problems in my life, especially with people that
are close to me as they often struggle to deal with this side of me.


What is your best memory?
Quitting my job is one of my best memories. It was a big step for me and I felt so much relief afterwards. I was working as a freelancer at the same time and I always felt photography is more of what I wanted to do, it made me
happier than being in a safe employed position.

What is your worst memory?

For me it is always losing someone! Death is something I really cannot deal with, so my worst memories
are connected to that topic.


What has been one of the most defining moments in your life so far?
I think my first tattoo was a big and defining moment for me! I ended my career as a dancer and I wanted to remember that decision. My work here in Hamburg wasn't like I expected it to be, I felt pushed into a path that I didn't want to go down,
so I did something that was just for me, A big tattoo that marked my new beginning.

What is the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake you made or a trying time in your life?

My biggest lesson in life in general was that it is okay to make mistakes. I always tried to avoid them and was too careful!
But if you always are too careful, you might miss something exciting.


What is the one thing people always misunderstand about you and why do you think this happens?
I think that a lot of people can misunderstand me when I am talking about my photography. I am really ambitious and always try to improve, so I tend to judge my own photos quite hard. This way others think that I am not self-confident enough and try to give me compliments to make me feel better. While I think that I am very confident about my work -
just that I see more potential for myself.

What character traits do you possess that you would like to break and why?

I have changed a lot in the past few years, in the way that I think about myself, and life in general. I really try to stay positive, to see the good parts. I know that I am not perfect, but right now I feel quite happy about myself without
wanting to change something about my character!


What is your philosophy in life?
As cheesy as it may sound: To rather regret something that I have done, than to regret what I haven't done.

What feels like love to you?

For me love is freedom! I am free to express myself through my photography and I really love what I do and that I can do it my way. But also in relationships with people I think that freedom is the most important part. If you are free to develop in your own direction, without jealousy, without having to fulfil the others expectations, then it is love for me.
To support each other and grow together!


What cheers you up when you are down and why?
I love to watch a good movie, to escape my own situation and concentrate on nice images and a good story. It fascinates me how you can forget everything around you and feel better afterwards.

What do you think is the most important thing someone can do to improve themselves and why?

I think travelling is a good way to improve, because you are constantly out of your comfort zone somewhere in a new town, with new people. It shows you where your insecurities are and forces you to overcome them.


What is the last thing you have done that’s really worth remembering?
My trip to India was a really extreme experience. I will remember it for a long time! It meant a lot to me to take this trip with my best friend. This country inspired me so much and reminded me what is important in life!

Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of and if so what is stopping you?

Sometimes I think that I am holding on to my home in Hamburg too much. I've lived here for so long now; that I think moving somewhere else would give me new chances and new perspectives in life.


What have you given up on and why?
I have given up on thinking too much about certain people that were never really there for me in a friendship. It is just such a waste of emotional energy, if you are asking yourself why somebody isn't interested in you, then way you are in them.

Words, Photography and Muse: ​Maria Kotylevskaja - Instagram

Location: Hamburg, Germany
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