My name is Alla Sokolova. I was born in March 1966 in a beautiful city – Riga, Latvia. Whole childhood I have dedicated to sport. I have received a title of World-class athlete, I became the champion of Latvia, USSR and Europe in acrobatics and I was a member of USSR national team for 6 years. I have studied at the institute of physical education at the pedagogical faculty, however after numerous injuries I was not able to continue my sports career and become a coach.
Switching my attention to family and a new born son I have closed the doors back to gymnasium. 90’s were crazy and it was time to think about keeping food on the plate, so me and my husband opened our own restaurant, which was our source of income for 12 years.
After selling the restaurant, I had a hard time. I absolutely did not understand where I can direct my energy and efforts. For the answers to this question I went to the Pavel Globa Institute to study astrology. Studying astrology helped me to understand myself and understand what I really want. My son has grown up and left for studies and work in London giving me more time to develop. Ever since I was little, I was good at drawing and loved taking pictures. But something always stirred, stood in front. At first it was necessary to become the Champion, because my father wanted this, then it was necessary to raise a son and give him a good education. In fact, it often happens when you forget about yourself and fall into a cycle of events, from which you can not escape. But a stalemate situation with the restaurant business was the beginning of the New Life!
Life always sent me the right people at the right time. And I met Yuri Zhitlukhin. Since 1960 he worked as a photojournalist for the newspaper Sovetskaya molodezh, Soviet Latvia and Soviet Sport. And my first achievements in sports were published in the newspapers exactly by him. I envied him that he was always at the center of all the events of the country, very close to the world of sports, full of emotions, tears, joy of victories and the sorrows of defeat.This wonderful world of sports, inside out! And so I picked up the first professional camera. Such is the irony of fate that his wife, Galina Zhitlukhina, was my first trainer in gymnastics, and he became my first teacher in the field of photography. I still remember his words: "If you want to understand if you have an interesting photo or not, then convert it into black and white." (it was about reportage images).
I went to study to the Photo Academy in Riga. Alexander Lapin often came to us and gave masterclasses. I always attended his lectures and began to look at the world with his eyes. I began to look for myself in this bottomless world of photography, but at once I clearly understood that I'm pulled in two directions: to photojournalism and to the animal world.
These two teachers have set me the direction in which I am developing and moving so far. This is so important when you know exactly what you want! This is the key to success of any business that is started. I am a perfectionist by my nature, and for me it's always important WHAT I do, and HOW I do it.
It was in France where I started taking Photography seriously and this hobby became my reason to live, my view of the world all through the lens of the camera.
In 2016 being a member of French Photography Federation, and I started participating in international photographic competitions. I started to feel the drive I felt in sports, when my picture gets evaluated by most respected professional judges and waiting for the score results. This gets you hooked and gives more strength to evolve, improve, correct mistakes and grow professionally. Any loss is a lesson, which can benefit you and move forward or give up and work as a family photographer. Participation in competitions is like an exam for you and your skills allowing you to test of your mettle and an encouragement to create something new to stand out and to be interesting - this is the movement FORWARD and UP!
From the great world of photography, I adore Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastian Salgado and Robert Doino. Sometimes it seems to me that I "read" photos with their eyes. For me, it is very important to "read" a photo. I myself try to achieve this in my images.
Of course, everyone loves beautiful and watchable bright photoworks. But it's not about me. I was not spoiled by life, because all in life I had to achieve myself, overcoming all injuries and illnesses, victories and defeats, falls and take-offs. I had to face great difficulties in life - 2 years of hospitalization, 6 operations, and no one gave guarantees that I would ever walk ...
I saw the world differently, I was beyond life, when I walked through a dark tunnel in search of a ray of light. Life consists not only of bright colors, and for me in particular it is like a zebra. Black and white. In my life there are few gray shades.
In place of the tremendous success comes disappointment, pain and illness. Perhaps this determined my affection to black and white photographs, I see in them more life, philosophy, without being distracted by colors. A big victory for me is the fact that I can move myself without crutches and a stick, and my sport now is walking with a camera! Movement is life!
And in this life there is a great desire to share what you saw with the viewer, to show the world through my eyes not only in all its glory, but also to look at the reverse side of the coin. For me, the semantic load in photography is important, as longer you look at the photo, the more you understand it. That's what I'm trying to convey to my viewer.
My love to reportage and genre pictures in black and white, borders in love to nature and animal world. Sometimes you get tired of shooting only the real life of people, the eyes are soapy, the sharpness of attention is dulled, and then it will be very cool to switch to nature. It helps me not to burn professionally, it is important to be able to distract and relax from one genre, through another. But the most reliable remedy for stagnation is a new journey! And it doesn't matter where. The main thing is a change in the situation, life (for a woman this is especially important).
And the most interesting in everything, that YOUR shot, can wait for you completely unexpectedly and you should always be ready for it. In the life of every photographer there is one, the most cherished frame, the most important thing is not to pass by! Of course, this is more relevant to photojournalism, because each genre has its own subtleties.
In fact, for any creative person, the viewer's assessment is very important. And it seems to me that any audience is needed. Participation in international competitions, confirms your professionalism and personal growth, and the support of a large audience of ordinary viewers is like an outlet that you can receive every day as a charge of cheerfulness!
My main goal is to be interesting and unpredictable always and in everything! Go to a new victories and never run out of creativity, make viewer to think about the essence of being. Show the world from all sides as it is.
I do not like planning for the future, I'm used to live this day. The main thing is to know that you are on the right path and there are those who believe in you.