Inspired by his own fashion sense, Phelan Anufrijevas captures expression through clothing with his photography. Having a love for fashion and its aesthetic appeal — in addition to photography — all as a form of self-expression, it made sense to often combine the two. Anufrijevas has always used fashion and photography as an outlet to escape from the world, continually expressing himself in new and unique ways. Not only is his own style impeccable, but the styles he captures through his photos are as well.
We had the opportunity to speak with Anufrijevas about his story with photography, as he captures portraits all over Denver.
303 Magazine: How did you get into photography?
Phelan Anufrijevas: Growing up, my mom was an ’80s goth mom. I’d always see her fashion from the ’80s so I was inspired by that. I’m definitely a mama’s boy and absolutely loved feminine fashion, vogue fashion and ’80s style. But mostly, I have just always been inspired by aesthetically pleasing outfits and aesthetically pleasing photos — anything that involves creativity and originality — and that’s kind of where this all started for me. My mom was a photo nut — took photos of us all the time. With being around cameras all the time — specifically film cameras — I just picked one up one day and started shooting pictures. Everyone in my family and friends all dressed so differently and I liked taking photos of our outfits.
303: Describe your photography. What would you call it?
PA: I tend to just shoot raw. Not so much in the sense of digital format but more just shooting everything as is or how it is naturally. Lately, my photography has been capturing a lot of my own emotions. They are very emotional, raw and spontaneous. There is definitely a lot of inspiration from fashion with specifically what I think looks cool. When I was in high school, I was surrounded by a lot of kids who loved to dress well and that inspired me a lot. Eventually, I picked up on that and wanted to capture my own fashion but didn’t necessarily want to be in front of the camera. I used others to capture my own style and fashion that I love. Luckily for me, a lot of the girls I shoot are very fashion oriented and I really liked their aesthetic and wanted to take photos of that.
303: Who are your biggest influences?
PA: It will always be my mom. But aside from her, music. I absolutely love music. Back when MySpace was around, I would connect my photos to songs to create a theme and felt like I was using that to create my own creative space. Punk and hardcore music like that — and the community built around it — also really helped me. Fashion, movies, street art, paintings like graffiti were all a huge part of my life and things I was heavily interested in that influenced me and my photography.
303: What challenges do you face in this field of work?
PA: The social media aspect is a big challenge and something I really had to learn. Numbers impact a lot of people’s emotions, my own included. I took about an eight-year break from photography because I was putting my focus elsewhere and I think that’s another challenge for me — just making up for the time I lost where I could’ve been growing as a photographer. So I’d say I am my own biggest challenge in some way. It’s me against me and the limits I set for myself.
303: Where do you want to go from here with your photography?
PA: It would be nice to get to a point where I could work less and make my photography a full-time job. Aside from taking photos myself, one of my favorite things to do is teach others how to take photos and make people feel more confident with their cameras. If I can help anybody with it creatively, it makes me feel really happy and I sincerely love working with people and giving any type of advice. Since photography helped me so much as far as confidence and my emotions. I would love to help others do the same.
All photography by Karson Hallaway