Collaboration in alien city. Photography in London.

So here you leave everything in the past.

All years of hard work behind you in your home town, pack your camera and move to this huge, uncomfortable metropolitan city. You barely speak their language, you barely know what to purchase for your breakfast in the food store. Everything is new, unfamiliar and you throw away first yogurt, because it turned out to be made of soya. This situation should be familiar to everyone who left their home town behind. The same thing happened to me. Adaptation is really tough; for some people it’s easy, for others it’s hard. For me it took almost 3 years to finally feel comfortable. But today I’m going to talk about how to get back to what you have already created back home.


I tried to start from zero.

Take pictures of people I know for free, just to amaze them and hopefully in the future get real orders. But believe it or not, no one wanted to pose for me. They were busy with their lives or just didn’t care about me whatsoever. I didn’t have any friends here, but back home I had the whole team – make up artist, stylist, hairdressers and I even had backups. If one of them was busy, I had another 2 or 3 people to work on the project. I was able to create really awesome photo shoots. But in London it wasn’t so easy. Time passed, I invited some of my colleagues to my Facebook page and the next day when I came to work one of them asked me “Hey, Alina, I saw your images, they are so amazing! But what are you doing here?” Really, what I was doing in retail for 2 years? That got me thinking out of the box.

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London is famous for fashion industry, but hey, where are all this fashion people?

Where are these artists looking for collaborations? I started to look for them. The greatest source of artists came from Facebook groups. You have no idea, but nowadays groups in such cities as London are very strong. People connect and open for collaborations. Search for stylists, makeup artists, photographers and many more, add the name of the city, and voilà. London has almost 9 million of people, at least 1 million of them are somewhere connected to arts. People here are passionate about art and they love to collaborate with others. It doesn’t matter if the photo shooting is tomorrow, doesn’t matter if no one pays you.

Living in London people are happy to work for the sake of art.

Tell people who you meet randomly what you do. Show them your pictures, give them your website. Inspire them with your ideas about photography, you never know what side projects they have. You never know what is their passion outside work. And finally, you never know who is going to be your client. Don’t be shy.

 Another great source is University.

Some people get themselves to Uni’s just for connections and you should also consider that. Maybe just some short photography courses, maybe some other workshops that you could join. So you’ve found them, now you need to inspire them, explain your idea, show them examples and wait. Be nice to people, respect them and give them food on the shootings. They work for you for free, right? Don’t be scared, in such big city you’ll always find people who see the world in a similar way. And remember, people love what other people are passionate about.

Inspire them and share your visions and they will follow you.

Support them, and they will support you.


Good luck and never give up!


Alina Agarkova Photographer