When professional kite photographer Svetlana Romantsova is candidly asked what lens she would settle upon if allowed only one for the rest of her life, the small-framed brunette pauses to fret over the decision. Her command of English drips with the Slavic pronunciations of her native Russian tongue and her response is dotted with short pauses in a linguistic struggle to deliver precision in a foreign language she’s only recently learned under fire in the photographic field. “It is so hard to choose one lens because as a photographer you want to shoot everything,” she explains to buy more time. After a momentary pause, she decides on a fixed 15mm. Rather than choosing a generalist lens with a zoom, she chooses the prime lens; “It’s the most real of lenses, like the human eye, there are no distortions.” With this lens, Svetlana can capture gorgeous backgrounds, shoot crisp portraits with blurry backdrops and as she points out, if she needs to zoom, she will just use her legs and walk to her subject. What to others may seem like a very limiting lens, is actually the most creative and innovative option for the tried and tested Russian kite photographer.
The early reaches of Svetlana Romantsova’s Instagram feed is filled with a broad amalgamation of images of friends snowboarding, baby portraits and aspiring models; the typical faire of an amateur photophile. As you scroll down into her more contemporary grids, you’ll encounter the timeframe when her camera latches onto the exotic locations and talent of kiteboarding — it is here that you begin to see the narrative of a brilliant and prolific photographer unfold. Modern truth be told, anyone can get lucky with a cell phone and sheer repetition; it’s not that hard when circumstance delivers the perfect shot. But unlike the idyllic sunset or the handlepass that happens right in front of your phone, the professional photographer has to routinely squeeze high-caliber images out of every scenario no matter how sub-optimal the conditions. There’s momentum in photographic success and now that Svetlana’s career is in full stride, you can see the culmination of perfection in her technical image capturing skills—her visual eye for composure combines with the manipulation of light, scenery and talent, which is not as common as you might think in action sports photography. This is a simple fact and the reason why Svetlana Romantsova’s current kiteboarding portfolio is featured throughout magazines, websites and Instagram feeds across the kitesurfing landscape.