Maria Chekhovskaya

Maria Chekhovskaya
From Belarus | Currently living in Germany
What does “intimacy“ look like to you?
For me, intimacy is something deeply personal that has a special meaning to you. This is about a special space where you are open, sensitive and honest. It is your vulnerability that gives you strength.
What are the most intimate objects you own?
As a teenager, I used to write poetry, piano music and songs. Reading and listening to them now I feel how intensely intimate they are and constantly see new deeper meanings. I don't show them to anyone and hold onto them with care.
Talking about some items in everyday life, these are my rings. I love wearing rings and believe that they hold some part of me. They make me feel stronger.
What does 'body positivity' look like to you in practice?
Sometimes it seems to me that while talking about body positivity and self-love people tend to separate body and their mind. But I am a human being and my body is me. Not accepting, belittling or exaggerating it means not enjoying a simple life. Walking barefoot, feeling water droplets on your skin, eating delicious food with your hands, hugging your loved one, dancing... For me, body positivity is a gratitude to the body for the ability to feel this world and enjoy it.
What is your relationship with your creative outlet?
Photography is my way of expressing admiration and love for a woman, but it’s always about the experience. My creativity arises from my questions and feelings. It passes through me so deeply that sometimes I need to take a break from these emotions and from such a deep immersion in myself. Nevertheless, thanks to photography I live the brightest moments of my life. I am genuinely happy that I can keep them in memory and speak without words about the things that are so innermost and important to me.
Currently reading?
"The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk.
Currently listening to?
Nils Frahm's new album.
Film that greatly inspires you?
"La Double Vie De Veronique" by Krzysztof Kieślowski.
Album or artist that most resonates with you?
If I chose music that is similar to me, I would probably combine piano and accordion. I am especially nostalgic about the culmination of Evgeny Grinko’s "Valse".
"The Woods" by Emil Brandqvist Trio or "Whale song" by Daniel Herskedal is something I’ve been listening to on repeat lately.
Currently exploring?
Belarusian ornament and folklore. I love history, details. With every year of living away from home, I increasingly appreciate and feel the importance of my homeland, examining and studying its uniqueness with a great interest. Currently, I am working on my very own handmade wedding dress, which will be decorated with Belarusian ornaments. I think it will also become one of my most intimate things for me.
What grounds you?
Connection with beloved ones and contemplation of nature in silence.
Where are you finding inspiration right now?
In spending time with myself, observing nature - water, wind, trees. Recently I’ve been trying to see and catch more bold colors and shades, which also inspires me greatly. I love succumbing to my curiosity, I love being a child - inventing stories even for inanimate objects, being surprised, admiring simple things.
How are you facilitating self-growth right now?
I am learning to be more attentive to others. To hear and accept different opinions, give them freedom and be honest with the ones around me and myself. I finally do not strive for perfection and do not idealize others. I think that’s what makes me happy and teaches me true love.
Who in your life advances your internal expansion?
My boyfriend. He is my mirror and best friend. He is an artist who is very sensitive and very honest at the same time. Не helps me to deepen connection with my inner self, encourages me to become bolder every day and motivates me to create at full capacity, supporting in every step I take. He is a film director and shares the movies that inspire him with me. They are also one of the most important sources of inspiration in my work.
What part of your body have you grown to appreciate?
Back in the day, I was very shy of my chest and even felt disgusted with myself because of this. At some point, I even began to wrap my breasts with an elastic bandage to hide it. It came to dizziness and panic attacks, that’s why I needed to change my attitude to my body.
In general, this is how my journey to photography began. I got undressed in front of the mirror and took self-portraits, examining and studying my body. Gradually I began to accept it, love it and then even fall in love with myself. Now, on the contrary, I think this is one of the most beautiful parts of my body.
I feel most secure when...
…when I wake up very early at dawn and spend time with myself. Seemingly, the whole world is still asleep and I am observing it.
I'm currently working on…
…on creating a photo book. You may have a guess what will it be about.
I'm grateful for...
…for the ability to feel, dream and be close to such incredible people.