I don’t know if everyone will agree, but for me each and every job, trip and experience that I get are unforgettable. It’s very hard to choose one photoshoot – they all are amazing, different, and full of memories. But one of them was particulaty fantastic and crazy. At that time I had a contract in Beijing. I had an option in my schedule for several weeks. Managers didn’t tell me anything about, they only said that it was a “very important job”. I wasn’t too worried, because at that time I had a lot of other works. At that time, I had already done Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Lanvin and many others so I preferred just to enjoy everything that happened to me!
About a week before my contract was running out, the manager told me that the next morning I had to fly to another city for 4 days. The plane was at 5 a.m. They didn’t tell me where, early in the morning the driver just picked me up and brought us to the airport. I didn’t sleep well and I woke up when we already landed. We flew to the city of Chengdu, but it wasn’t our final destination. A huge bus with four models and a great number of team. We spent a few hours on disembarking from the plane and boarding the bus, then drove to the hotel for half a day. Early in the morning we finally went to the location. A few more hours again – and voila! – welcome to Tibet! Another world, different people, everything is different! Even breathing there is different…
The photoshoot was two days long: about 25 hours for six looks! Change of location took us long: mountains, fields, rivers, lakes, streets of local villages, stone, nature – everything was so… untouched! Changing looks and makeup, then having lunch and most importantly warming up: our clients took care of everything and local people gave us a very warm welcome. I’ve never been so cold in my entire life: there was almost no heating in the houses, the conditions were incomparable, and we tried to warm up as best we could.
When you climb to the height of three thousand meters, it gets harder to breathe, but the views are more and more beautiful, and you stop thinking about anything. Fields and valleys with horses, ravines with rivers, local villages and forests spread before your eyes. Clients asked us not to come close to the cliffs, but it was just impossible not to. By the end of day 2, during the photoshoot with horses, it was already very hard to breathe: we fell in the middle of the fields, the heart beat faster, and we were so exhausted. Apparently, for us being ‘on top’ for two days was too much. Clients would offer us cookies, we would laugh with our last strength, and refuse. We would just lie down, breathe, and look aimlessly in the blue Tibetan sky! On the field, the rays of Sun would touch our faces and make it impossible to open your eyes, but we worked, opened our eyes when we hear ‘one-two-three’, and forgot about horses. It seemed that the river was covered with diamonds from the rays of sun.
We changed our clothes in a tent. It was very cold, autonomous heaters barely heated the air, we wore leggings and tights under our pants. We were really lucky that the clients didn’t keep track of time and the photoshoot was so pleasant that we were able to enjoy being in the most peaceful spot of our planet.
We spent the night at a very nice hotel and in the evening went to the restaurant for dinner. It was really fun! Local people were just astonished: some would just leave, others would run away, some of them would take pictures, others would stare at us open-mouthed, amazed by such a huge number of foreigners. It looked like a march or a Victory Day parade, and the emotions were so odd and difficult to describe!
When returning home, something special is left in your mind. I’ve never seen such breathtaking views in my life, even though I travel a lot. When climbing the mountains, we froze, sat down by the cliff, breathed, enjoyed ourselves, and dozed off. Half a year after I got a pictures, the banners hung in all airports, friends brought booklets and catalogues, and every time when I look at these pictures, I remember those days in Tibet.