A few months ago, precisely September 4, I experienced what hell would look like as I got unanimously kicked (not literally, but in a nutshell, yes) out of a house I was sharing with four other people. What I experienced, soon after, were the seven stages of never-ending mood swings (anger, resentment, frustration, despair, worry, apprehension, and fear) when you have to find a new place to rent in Toronto within a very short span of time. Seriously though, why is it so soul-crushing?
Anyway, as I scrambled around looking for a place to live, it was often with resentment I would look at others, who had a comfy, cozy place of their own: “Great! Things are always so easy for others.” Now that I have a beautiful, cozy place of my own, I can’t help but acknowledge how skewed our vision often gets when stuck in our very own hell-hole. And it was this feeling that rose to the brim when I came across my beautiful and latest interview subject Katerina Andriushova — Ekaterina is a Russian version of the Greek name, and means pure, innocent.
From studying to be a lawyer in Russia, to moving to Vancouver, Canada, for hospitality management, Katerina’s journey is one all of us can relate with because we’ve all been down the road (or are stick walking on it) where we are trying to find our ‘thing’, whether that thing is love, our calling in life or something as simple as finding the right place to live.
Katerina is determinedly treading on her path, and discovering what lies in store, one photograph at a time.
Q1. This time last year, what were you doing? What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?
This time last year, I was changing jobs and moving apartments. It was quite stressful but I am glad it’s over. I have an ambitious plan for this year. I have started learning a new language (German) and I hope my never-ending immigration story finally has a happy ending as that will give me more freedom in planning my future. I want to travel more and go back to school. Hopefully, I can figure something out with my career and… and I just want to fall in love; dating in Canada is not going well for me. Ha! But I never give up.
Q2. You have such interesting array of photos from Toronto. Which one’s your favorite and is there an interesting story behind it?
I love taking pictures of street art and then I often research about the photo and the artist behind it. One such photo that comes to mind is a graffiti that I took on Queen West from SickKids VS The Greatest Challenge campaign.
I tried to find out about the artist, but nothing came up, so I posted it as it is, and then somebody tagged SickKids under the photo. It was amazing to learn about this great collaboration campaign between the hospital and the artist; it is always nice to know that art has been made to serve such a great purpose.
Q3. May I know more about your personal and professional background?
I moved to Canada in 2012 from Russia. Back home I went to university and have a Master’s degree in law. But way before I went to law school, I discovered my love for art. I spent hours in museums, and luckily for me, Russia has one of the best classical art collections in the world. In my third year at the university, I started working as a lawyer’s assistant and on my savings, shortly after that, bought my first Cannon. Ever since then, I have been photographing. It’s still a hobby, but lately, I have been thinking about turning it into a career, I just don’t know how yet.
Going back to academics, while I was in university, I went to the US for student exchange program and after that trip, I realized that I wanted to travel. So I moved to Canada and went to college for hospitality management in Vancouver. I am still working in a hospitality industry, but I have come to a realization that it is not what I want to do in the future.
When it comes to my love for photography, I personally believe that it’s a perfect way to save a moment forever, for centuries. Every picture has a soul, it tells you a story, and helps you imagine. I don’t like posing, that is probably why I don’t take pictures of people. I love candid shots of the neighborhoods, streets, and of people when they don’t know they are being photographed. But my absolute favorite is old (and abandoned) buildings. There is so much to them — the things they witnessed, the secrets they now hold dear to them, mysteries that only they are privy to. And my second favorite is street art. It is contemporary, it is a riot sometimes and it is the way of expressing your artsy side in a world where everything is so commercial.
Q4. Name three things that give you as much joy as photography does?
Travel, art, music. In all forms and kinds. And if you ask about one more, that would be dogs.
Q5. If you were to name Toronto’s five hidden gems, from a photography perspective, which ones would they be?
Mmmm… No one likes to give away their hidden gems☺ I would say Queen West definitely; it is evolving and fast-paced. Great for people watching and capturing them. I love High Park too and there are a few sweet bridges in the West End. But honestly I usually just go out and explore. Toronto has so much to offer. You go to a different neighborhood and it feels like a different city.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.