My name is Vera Smirnova: I am a photographer, graphic designer and doll maker. I was born in Russia, lived in Europe and eventually my life journey has brought me and my family to California. Many years ago I started my adventure in nature photography capturing the beauty of California and other natural wonders. I still love and do that. I also often try to wander a bit off the well-beaten path to glimpse a different perspective. Sometimes it is literal – climbing a hill or getting wet crossing a river, and sometimes it just means to see something different in what is well-known. Before I point my camera and take the picture, I scan the scenery with my inner eye. If it clicks somewhere inside me, then I push the button. Feeling the mood of nature naturally led me to feeling people. Whet I first meet my clients for portrait sessions, I talk to them, I observe them, I get a feeling of who they are and what they could be if they allowed it to themselves. It is a very rewarding job, because I've learned to see the inner beauty in each person and am often able to reveal it in my portrait works. I like to do graphic design jobs because there is a certain magic in making “something from nothing”, like in all creative processes. To me, designing a business card for an individual is almost the same as creating a portrait in photography, just with different tools. Now you may be wondering how I got to creating dolls. Well, doll making differs from photography and graphic design in a lot of ways. The art piece is three-dimensional instead of two. There is also a tactile part to it. Dolls are meant to be touched, even though they are interior decoration pieces. This adds another level of perception to the art. I enjoy working with natural fibers such as wool and cotton. Sometimes we all just need to take a break from touching plastic keyboards. In doll making, I like the process of creating a persona. First, it's just some pieces of fabric, yarn, laces... A short time after, dolls begin to show their own character. Each of them tells me what it wants to wear, how it wants to look. They might be smug or curious, happy or dreamy. In the beginning I never know for sure what it will become at the end. This adventure, I suppose, is what fascinates me in doll making. And last, but not least – I've been told so many times that my dolls make people happy. Isn't it worth a try to make someone happy?
I will be happy to hear from you! Doll ordering and photography requests may also be submitted through each of my portfolio websites.