In this striking series of images Thang LV and Alina Zamanova comment upon the problems surrounding gender equality in today’s society.
The series “Lady of Liberty” is the result of a collaboration between photographer Thang and Ukrainian illustrator Alina. Thang is currently London-based and has worked for big clientele in the fashion industry including Italian Vogue. Alina initially studied graphic design in Kiev where she evolved her practice through more traditional artistic techniques. Upon moving to London she studied fashion illustration at London College of Fashion, and later worked for Alexander McQueen.
The series is inspired by the identity politics which continues to surround female images today. Thang described the concept to Wonderland as “a meditation upon how women continue to be judged despite the freedom they may have.” Thang’s monochrome shots are layered with Alina’s distorted, bold illustrations resulting in a captivating series of images.
Thang and Alina, how did you come to work together and how did you know you would be the right match?
Thang: When I saw Alina’s work about 2 years ago I really felt a strong connection with her and wanted to create some pieces together then. We spoke about a project then but at the time we were both busy and left it until now.
Her work has been so beautiful I just felt she’s the one for our project.
Alina: We wanted to collaborate before, but due to busy times it did not happen. Right now it was like a super appropriate time and perfect moment for me to make this project together, as I am developing my portfolio as a fashion illustrator and doing collaboration with photographer was my number one in to-do list. With Thang I knew we would make a perfect combo to create some mixed media imagery that worth being shown in our portfolio and submit to a huge magazine like Wonderland.
Alina, you’re leaving the UK soon, will you continue with your illustration work? Will you continue to collaborate together?
Alina: Yes for now I have to leave the UK, due to visa stuff, but I will definitely continue working on my illustrations . Collaborations can happen of course, because it is easy to connect through internet and make the projects together on a long distance.
How much do you collaborate, in the sense of how much input do you have on the photography, Alina and you on the illustration, Thang?
Thang: Last month Dazed held a talk for young creative and I went for it. After one of the talk about which was mentioning the crossover between gender, class, sexuality and diversity.
I actually have this idea and was practicing for the last 10 months also on these topics and after the talk it triggered me even more so to shoot.
I then threw some ideas to Alina and trusted her completely with her awesome illustration.
Alina: The collaboration was spontaneous and it always works out well for me. When you feel that you are working with the right person, you just trust his creativity I guess. When I saw the shoot I thought that I would love to draw some quirky illustrations , cover her body or face with drawings.
How did you come up with the concept? Can you explain the themes of feminism behind it for us?
Thang: I believe in the term “gender equality” and I really struggle to understand on places that still need to recognise the value of women and treat them as equals to men.
Which is your favourite image and why? What do you think it conveys?
Alina: I love the close up portrait because it is my weakness – Portraits. How much can you tell with your look, eyes, lips, eyebrows… I usually paint portraits and showing all my emotions in colours and texture focusing on either eyes or lips,etc. I think in this image when illustration overlapping photograph it gives this strong , sexy, crazy look.
Thang: I like the full length the most because she was moving when I shot her and she was in a free spirit state of mind. It was really good working with Lena as she made the shoot extra special going the extra mile and completely committed to our ideas.
Photographer: Thang LV
Illustrator: Alina Zamanova