Ask the Collective: Kate Phellini on Capturing Memories That Last

By Brada - 5 min read

Based in Warsaw, Poland, Kate Phellini is a Ukrainian photographer who maintains ties to her native Odessa through her creative endeavors. She told us why photography is a bit like catching moments in jars.

What made you start taking pictures?

A need to preserve memories from fading.

These are three of our favorite photos out of the ones you’ve uploaded. Is there a story behind them you could share?

I’m quite surprised you’ve picked these pictures! I wouldn’t say they’re the ones that necessarily distinguish me in the most explicit way, but they do all bring back important memories.


Der Marmeladenglasmoment is a word my friend from Hamburg taught me when we took a short sea voyage one day. I captured this hug, which perfectly illustrates the meaning of this complicated German term in my personal glossary: A moment you want to catch and put inside a jar, so that it remains unaffected by passing time, and you can immerse yourself back into it whenever you need to.

Close-up of egg on table

This was one of the first pictures I took forThe Fishmagazine before we even had any money for the very first issue. I’m proud to be in the core team of this exciting project: it’s grown dramatically since that day, transforming into something even more than just a beautiful print production. It’s a community and a cultural platform that unites people. Please, feel invited tocheck out our webpage.


“I didn’t realize it then, but it was exactly that fraction of a second I was waiting for.”

This was an accidental multi-layered shot. I’d been sitting in a train carriage with my camera pointed at a conductor standingat the door of another train, waiting patiently for about 15 minutes or so for him to be nicely framed, trying to include some more people in the background. Suddenly the door behind me got opened and another passenger came in. I clicked. I didn’t realize it then, but it was exactly that fraction of a second I was waiting for.

Film or Digital?

Everything. From pencil sketches over pinhole or large format cameras to high-quality full-frame DSLRs or iPhones. I am not snobbish in this sense: I go for any accessible medium at the time of recording a moment.

“I go for any accessible medium at the time of recording a moment.”

Where’s home (however you understand the notion)?

You are your own home. You take it and transport it wherever you go. One key feature of ‘home’ for me is having at least one person around to share my thoughts and feelings with.

How important is post-production to you?

Just to the extent that it helps accurately represent the original vision I had while taking a picture. I mainly use ‘the darkroom techniques’ while editing digital pictures in Photoshop or Lightroom. It includes dodging, burning, slight tone correction, changing contrast, etc. In general, I’m a supporter of a pure, truthful image.

Have you sold any of your photos on EyeEm Market yet?

This is the first picture I sold:

Woman with pink hair standing at beach against sky during sunset

“Rhythms, impulses and patterns inspire me.”

What’s your dearest photography ritual?

Auditory sense is the most important for me (after the visual one). I love connecting sounds of music with images. Rhythms, impulses and patterns inspire me. I either have that on my mind before or after the photo session, or I put it on during the process. And yes, I do shoot videos from time to time, and I guess it’s high time to dedicate more time to it.

Who is your favorite user on EyeEm?

Can Dağarslanı. As an ardent supporter of natural lighting, I love thisphotographer’s work. He is fresh, creative, fearless. He gives me impetus to see more and shoot more. To get straight to work. Now.

If you could have a coffee with a famous photographer who would it be?

George Muncey is the person that inspires me a lot nowadays. He’s not only a great photographer with a distinguishing style, but also one who’s eager to spread knowledge about analog photography to maintain its wide use. George’s YouTube channel, Negative Feedback, reveals a lot about him as a person and a photographer. I love his introspective way of observing the world and feeling it so subtly.

He’s created an amazing print publication about film photography, Negative Feedback magazine, which he launched on Kickstarter. This story pretty much replicates the way The Fish magazine team went through to create our zine. That’s why a cup of coffee with him could also be accompanied by an interesting conversation and, who knows, a prolific cooperation…?

Do you have any unrealized photo dreams?

My big aspiration is to have a photography book. This in mind, I’m constantly looking for a topic that can remain relevant for years, to be of current interest at pretty much any time. Right now I’m working on a project about non-verbal communication and universal languages – hopefully it will grow into something considerable.

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