During her studies at the European Humanities University (EHU) Dziyana Malinouskaya (undergraduate program “Media and Communication”, class 2014) was acknowledged for her creativity and photography skills. Her recent photo-project from Paris was positively welcomed by 34travel visitors.
In a special interview Dziyana shares her experience and knowledge gained at EHU and explains how instrumental it is for reaching ever higher professionalism.
Dziyana, you graduated from undergraduate program “Media and Communication” with a minor in Visual Culture (Cinema, TV, Internet) back in 2014. Please, tell us more about your current activities?
It is correct, in 2014 I graduated cum laude and was selected as the best student of the year within my program. At the moment I am not fully engaged into research of visual culture - my core activites are advertising and portrait photography. Although I consider switching to documentary and social photography, going back to academic research.
I really miss texts, seminars, discussions and critics.
For your bachelor thesis you did a profound research of the 1970s Lithuanian fashion images. What was your motivation to choose this topic? Did you compare fashion in Lithuania and Belarus in this period? What were your conclusions?
My bachelor thesis was dedicated to the phenomenon of male sexuality, as a research object I did choose Lithuanian fashion photography of the 1970s. I did not examine Belarusian segment as it was not the aim of my research. I was curious about the position of Lithuania while it was still under the Soviet occupation but already influenced by the Western culture. My thesis was not limited by a particular category of cultural myths in a certain period of time. I was interested in fashion-photography and cultural constructs it represents, instead
What are the most important skills for analyzing visual culture that you gained at EHU?
I was introduced to visual and cultural studies since the first lesson of the very first semester with the lectures of Anastasiya Denishchik, who later became supervisor of my thesis. I am very contented about choosing this program – thanks to the faculty and study materials I gained absolutely new perspective on visual culture and media. I started to understand visual culture as fashion, cinema, popular culture and cultural relations – representations of our every thought. Analytical tools and theories were extremely helpful – psychoanalysis, semiotics, critical theory, anthropology, discourse-analysis, etc. Visual and cultural studies helped me to develop acute interest to a wide range of cultural phenomena. If you perceive something differently, your creative work is different either.
You come from Hrodna, one of the most beautiful Belarusian cities. What attracts you most of all in Hrodna? Did you miss anything while living in Vilnius?
Oddly enough, in Vilnius I didn’t miss anything. Both as a young researcher and a foreign student I felt very comfortable in Vilnius. There are huge libraries; magazine and book archives I needed to research; cozy cafés, where you could sit and work; new people, warm university atmosphere. At that point Hrodna could not boast any of it. Now I spend plenty of time in Hrodna, but I have not been to Vilnius for past 2 years. Hrodna is my home, where I feel calm and safe. In Vilnius I managed to discover various new things – it is an engaging and unique in its history and urban organization. But I must admit, it is not my city. On the other hand, I avoid being limited by a certain locality, that is why my job includes constant movement.
How did EHU studies impact your visual perception, composition, color preferences? Has anything changed in your photography after you graduated from EHU?
Undoubtedly, studies at EHU had a great impact. I mean, not single courses on photography or media. All courses including philosophy, European consciousness, political studies, critical theory, foreign languages and others changed my perception in one way or another. For me photography, work, hobby and life are inseparable, therefore every of knowledge changes my perspective, enriches my intellectual capacity and analytical toolkit, which leaves a mark on visual techniques. Perception and creativity are interrelated. I might name specific authors and faculty, who turned my visual experience upside down, but let us keep it secret.
Recently you have created a photo-project about Paris for 34travel. Tell us more about this project.
Photo report from Paris – is an attempt to avoid being advertising photographer.
34travel Editor-in-Chief saw my photo-shoots in Instagram and offered to prepare a report for their portal. Frankly speaking, while strolling in Paris I was recalling my prior French classes at EHU and how our teacher explained us French culture and history. Perhaps, I was looking for echoes from my studies: croissants in Montmartre, marble tables, endless walks with dogs, street entertainers.
Have you travelled much during your studies at EHU? What travel possibilities do EHU students have?
While at EHU I travelled to Norway, Belgium, Poland, and Germany. I would rather not state that EHU as such gave me an opportunity to travel. Still, we do always decide on our own whether to travel or not, to see or not, to learn or not. Although, the scholarship I received at EHU helped to fulfill my wishes.
Perhaps, life and studies in Lithuania articulated my new dream – to travel and work simultaneously.