Originally from Russia, Vienna-based instagrammer Ally Novgorodtseva, @deerbeck, has lived in Rome and Vienna. Aside her job, she runs the monthly Instagram walks called ‘Vienna Photo Walks’, any passionate photographer should definitely take a part in. We spoke to Ally about the project, how it all started and her personal story with Vienna.
1. What do you photograph?
I like to photograph beautiful things; while I appreciate that there are many facets to and reasons for photography (all of them equally valid and important), I am drawn to beauty. I particularly enjoy studying people’s faces, patterns in nature, elements of interior design, and the art of cooking.
2.Tell us about your organisation, Vienna Photo Walk?
Vienna Photo Walk (VPW) is something I began working on in January 2016. It stemmed, originally, from being in a job I did not enjoy and that did not allow me any creativity. I desperately wanted to meet smart, talented people, to explore Vienna beyond its most iconic sites, and to share work with others not only virtually, but ‘organically’ too. I have, since, switched to a job I love, that is fulfilling in every way. Nonetheless, I have continued with VPW and, while I have less time for it now than I did a year ago, it’s morphed into a more natural and comfortable part of my life.
I continue to organise events at least once a month, inviting anyone with an interest in photography to come along and take part; VPW has a Facebook page, Instagram account, and of course a homepage where you can find all the information about past and upcoming events: www.viennaphotowalk.com.
The events are free of charge, the locations and themes of our walks are ever-changing, and every type of camera is welcome. I have met some charming, intelligent people though VPW, and literally learn something new every time – whether it’s about a quirky tradition, someone else’s culture, a cool camera hack, or trivia about an obscure Viennese landmark.
3. Do you collaborate with people?
Vienna Photo Walk has not collaborated with anyone in the past, but this year alone I’ve already teamed up with Sophort in January and February, and Metropole in March. I have also been promised a collaboration by Pixelcoma, so I’m just going to go ahead and mention it here; now he’s got to do it, whether he really meant it or not.
Collaboration on this level is a new experience for me, and it’s been a great one: there is something comforting about sharing the responsibility, and undoubtedly flattering in being invited to participate in someone else’s project.
4. Did Instagram change how you see the world?
Instagram changed my attitude to Vienna. I grew up in this city but left it as a teenager, right before I became interested in everything I love now: cooking, photography, architecture, and interior design. As a result, my impression of Vienna used to be a very limited one: limited to the bars and cafes I had visited as a teenager, the same five spots we’d hang out after school, and the three museums I had visited over and over again with my class. It took getting Instagram, while living abroad, to realise that there were, literally, tens of thousands of beautiful things – big and small – that I never even knew existed in Vienna! I see this city differently now, and would never again describe it as “boring” or “stuffy”.
5. Who’s your favourite Instagram artist you’re currently following?
My favourite Instagram artist is @marte_marie_forsberg. I love absolutely everything about her work: the gorgeous light, perfect composition, and peaceful self-reflection; it’s perfection. Please take a look at her work, it’s just stunning.
6. Lets talk more about you. Describe your style in 9 words or less.
Cosy, nosy, and intimate.
7. What equipment do you use to photograph?
I shoot using a Canon 450D and an Olympus OM-D E-M10.
8. Name three of your favourite/subjects to shoot?
People cooking, peaceful interiors, and empty streets.
9. What’s your favourite place in Vienna?
It’s impossible to pick a favourite place; there’s one for every mood. I love everything about food (what it looks like, cooking it, eating it, photographing it) so markets are at the top of my list. My favourite markets for people-watching, photography, and grocery shopping are Rochusmarkt, Karmelitermarkt, and Brunnenmarkt. I also like tall, narrow streets like Kurrentgasse and Blutgasse. With restaurants, again, it depends on the occasion and mood, but the food’s just always great at Kent (Brunnengasse 67), and I’ve been coming there for years now; just call me Miss Karniyarik. When it comes to cafes I don’t like them hipster and I don’t like them regal; I like unpretentious and functional. My favourite vibes are those of Café Bräunerhof and Café Markusplatz (now, sadly, closed; I still can’t get over that).
10. What are three changes you’ve noticed happening in Vienna?
I’m not sure if it’s Vienna or me, but I feel the city is much more international. And this international flair is not restricted to international organisations and schools like before; it seems to just be all around me. A good indicator are the restaurants – it used to be mostly just Austrian and Chinese twenty years ago; it’s a very different picture now. Also, there’s a lot more “vegan” and “gluten-free” everywhere; I supposed that’s an inevitable, global trend. Finally, the underground system keeps growing and improving; there’s just no stopping the Wiener Linien, those guys are on fire!
11. What’s your background photo on your phone?
It’s a dew-covered leaf-carpet, taken at Inverewe Garden, a botanical garden in the Scottish Highlands.
12. What’s the main purpose of your photography?
Honestly? To remember things. Not in the romantic “photography is memory” sort of way, but, rather, literally: to remember where I went, when, and with whom. If I take a photograph (and download it to my computer, edit it, and archive it), there’s a 90% chance that, even years later, I will remember every detail about that day and event, down to the clothes I was wearing and how I was feeling.
13. Anything else you want to add?
I came across Vienna Würstelstand when I first moved back to Vienna two years ago; it was past 2am on a Thursday night, and I was googling „brunches in Vienna“. Vienna Würstelstand gave me my answers then, and it’s been doing so ever since. You guys do an awesome job, and with so much heart and humour!