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Marina Shevchenko – citizen of Vorarlberg

Marina Shevchenko – citizen of Vorarlberg

© Marina Shevinko

When she holds the camera in her hands, it also captures her happiness. Marina Shevchenko took both with her when she had to flee Ukraine and leave her successful business behind. In Vorarlberg, the photographer and founder of @monika.models and the children's magazine of the same name started from scratch. A story about a special kind of involuntary transformation.

“This place fascinates me,” says Marina Shevchenko about Vorarlberg. For them, it is a country where grace and serenity come together. At first she was intimidated by the “high mountains”, but now she is inspired by the spirit of the region that is still foreign to her and gives her new impetus to her work as a photographer. Marina Shevchenko left her equipment, network and entire business in Odessa, her hometown, and fled when Russia attacked Ukraine. The journey was long and difficult, “but we felt the amazing support of our fellow citizens,” she says. “It gave me strength.” There were poignant moments that moved her to tears – for example when volunteers brought warm food, even if carefully packed, to the border. “I particularly remember a situation where a stranger knocked on the car window late at night and offered me hot dinner, tea and fresh cake. He said he had experienced this himself and now wanted to help others too.” Marina arrived in Vorarlberg late in the evening. “The high mountains were overwhelming,” recalls the 38-year-old mother of two. “When we woke up in the morning, we saw an amazing view that made me realize: This is the place where we will be able to recover after everything we have been through.” The help and support Marina received in Austria was for their benefit. Priceless. Everyone she met along the way helped her.

“I took my father’s advice to heart and success was always by my side.”

Miniature models
Before this nightmare, Marina lived a childhood with living family traditions and the motto: Everything is possible, it's in your hands. Her father, a captain, repeatedly advised his daughter: “Love your job. Be honest, flexible and professional and you'll attract the right people.” “I took his advice to heart, and success was actually always on my side,” says Marina. Although she describes herself as a creative person, after receiving higher education in business, she even worked as an accountant. But numbers and tables soon became a thing of the past: “I quickly realized that they were not for me,” she says and laughs. Marina has always been fascinated by photography. That's why I first started photographing families. Although photographing children in particular has its own dangers, she quickly found a good rapport with little ones in particular. Over time, this talent developed into her own work with “Monika Models” and her magazine “Monika”. The idea of ​​establishing herself in the print sector with her own magazine arose when Marina exhibited her photographic works and realized the different nature of her influence. Her magazine showcases not only children's fashion, but also the personalities of young models. “It is a very interesting and exciting process for everyone involved,” says Marina. After realizing this, more and more fashion brands started demanding a design book for their new designs
To create groups.

“The interesting and creative people I meet along the way make my life more diverse and broaden my horizons. When I hold a camera in my hands, happiness is wherever I am.”

Limitless dreams
The creative and interesting people who cross Marina Shevchenko's path are, along with her two children, constant sources of inspiration: “They make my life more diverse and broaden my horizons.” That's why every photo session you do is something special. The most memorable and unpredictable shots come from working with animals and young children. Their spontaneity inspires the creative process and creates exciting and unexpected results. The Ukrainian is currently trying to adapt as much as possible
To integrate Vorarlberg, study the culture and language. She knows: everything will be okay. The main thing is to have faith and act as her father always said. Marina's dreams are limitless, however: “When I hold a camera in my hand, happiness is wherever I am.”

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