Let me tell you my story

Naam: Anastasia Ivashchenko
Leeftijd: 40
Kinderen: twee jongens (thuis geboren)
Nationaliteit: Oekraïens
Favoriete drankje: vers gebrande arabika en cacao
Dingen om te doen: praten met mensen, reizen, kinderillustraties tekenen
Accepteer alle lichaamstypes. Alle mensen zijn erger om van ze te houden

Chapter one. The beginning of the profession.
My name is Nastya. I was born in Ukraine and lived there all my life. Both my sons were also born in Ukraine at home in the big city of Kharkiv. I currently live in Cothen and photograph in the Netherlands.

I have been doing photography all my life. For example, when I was a child, we printed photos from the film with my dad in a dark room. I still remember that cozy atmosphere. At the age of 8, I started filming everything around me. Photography has become a very natural part of me. It seemed to me that it was not necessary to learn it. Then, little by little, portraits of people began to stand out from the other subjects. For the first time, I felt a shot was born when my sister looked into the camera and touched her curly hair somehow very casually. And then I wanted to make portrait after portrait.

After school, I got a Law degree and worked as a lawyer for a bit, always with a camera close at hand.

Fifteen years ago, I started boldly following this voice that always called me, I learned photography from those people who inspired me, I did shoot a lot, experimented, and participated in art projects.

Chapter two. Growing up inner woman. The Mammals project.
After the birth of my first son, I became interested in natural female beauty. I feel that it has value to show women’s lives, their differences, and their normal circumstances. I did the Mammals project about the relationship between mother and child. It was a big project to support breastfeeding. I had an exhibition in the municipal gallery of Kharkiv in Ukraine. To popularize the natural way of raising children and breastfeeding, the photos were also placed in maternity hospitals, women’s hospitals, and children’s clinics, as well as on the website of the Kharkiv City Council. I did it to emphasize the importance of saving the connection between mom and child as well as between a woman and her natural power.

Now I want to be with women in different situations, to trust each other, and not to violate what nature gave each woman at birth, and the subsequent history written on the body. Childbirth, breastfeeding, postpartum state, personal moments. I became that woman and that photographer who respects personal stories and preserves feelings. I feel it like my way.

                  Municipal Gallery, Kharkiv, 2019


While creating a project on breastfeeding, I attended many interesting events related to the manifestations of a woman with different periods of her life. I researched the attitude toward a woman’s body at different times in different cultures. I wanted to learn to look at people not from the point of view of current stereotypes, not to evaluate them, but to see the beauty of my own body. It never gets boring because every body has its own story, unlike the expected images approved by today’s society. We do a lot in this direction – body positivity, natural parenting, feminism, but we still expect that always staying the same age is the norm, not getting old, not changing after giving birth… In fact, we must change. Even statues change with time. I have embraced this concept. And I like what I see in live people.
One of those who influenced my attitude towards human nature was the French-British obstetrician Michel Odent, known worldwide for his approach to childbirth. He is a teacher for many doulas, midwives, and just women who want to preserve their value and health during pregnancy, birth, and maternity. I was lucky to be Michel’s personal photographer when he came to Kharkiv in 2017. With my home midwife, I met him at the cold airport, attended lunch, and saw him as an ordinary person without public surroundings. Knoledges, I got from him, helps me a lot to be a harmonious part of the environment of a woman in labor as a photographer. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a doula.