We chat with lawyer-turned-professional photographer
Time Out Bahrain staff
It isn’t often you meet someone who has given up the lucrative world of international law for a career in photograph but this is exactly what Youliya Novik did shortly after moving to Bahrain and she is quickly making her mark as a versatile and creative capturer of people, places and emotions.
Youlyia explained that she first realised she wanted to be a photographer in her late teens. “I was standing in a field on the boarder of Poland and Belarus, where I grew up. I had a small Kodak camera with me. The view in front of me was amazing.There was a small spring meandering its way through lush green grass - it was springtime, the whole place was a beautiful green. It was cloudy and raining slightly. I literally couldn’t move with the emotion of the place, it was just stunning. I took a few photographs and later, when I had them developed, it was then that I really knew that taking photographs and capturing these very special moments was what I really wanted to do.”
However, for a while her life took an entirely different path. She went to University in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, got her degree in international law and started work for the Ministry of Transport and Communication as a lawyer. “I loved my job; my position, my team, my boss and my responsibilities, but I really missed artistic creativity and expressing my emotions in pictures,” she says.
So one day, after returning from a holiday in Egypt, Youliya decided that firstly she wanted to drastically change her life and do something completely different and much more creative, secondly to move to the Middle East!
“I applied online for a job in Bahrain, a few days later was offered the position, found Bahrain on the map and said yes; this is the place for me.”
And she hasn’t looked back since.
Youliya’s images are a manifestation of her own emotions and feelings. For her, photography is an expression of the way she sees the world, and of how she wants others to see her world. Her landscapes show big skies and land, giving an impression of openness, of freedom, of no boundaries, of being able to lead the life you want. The people she takes images of reflect happiness or sincerity or even solitude.
“When I take a picture of something, I want to record that special moment and what it means to me. Everything has a story, from the face of a poor man on the street to the construction of a skyscraper. For me pictures should be full of sense and creativity and an expression of feeling and emotion which, by that definition alone, is art.”
And Youliya is most definitely making her mark here in Bahrain, a country she has quickly come to love.
She says: “The great thing about Bahrain is that someone from anywhere in the world can arrive here and make something of themselves. It is so open and tolerant and this is wonderful. And there is so much to see here, so many things to document - not just the obvious but the hidden images of people and places that surround us each and every day. I love Bahrain, this is my second home now. And I hope Bahrain loves me and my images too!”
Youliya’s first exhibition will hopefully be in January. We’ll have details or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org