Photography helped me to go through my divorce
By Nika Jazaee
Photo credits: Polina Shmatova/ Elen Graff
Ljudmilla Kuhto is both an accountant and a talented photographer. She grew up with a father that had an interest in photography and he used to have his own dark room. Carrying a camera became a natural part of her life. In this interview she tells us how photography helped her to go through her divorce when she was lacking self-confidence. Milla has always done various things in life, studying linguistics, and accountancy to photography. She believes that we can use both sides of our brain and there is no need to choose solely one profession.
Milla, why did you become a photographer?
I was born as a person who sees beauty around her and wants to create something beautiful in this life for others. In my heart, I have always been a photographer, even when I didn’t have professional equipment. I have been holding a camera in my hands ever since I was a child because my dad used to take pictures and make them at home in a dark room with the red light. Throughout my life I had various cameras that were always with me. All my friends know, that when we meet, I will probably be the only one who will take pictures to keep all the memories for the future because my mission is to capture the magic moments of life. Taking pictures of people is a way of sharing my love with others. The camera has taught me a lot. I used to be afraid of meeting new people and the camera helped me overcome my fear because I needed to approach people who I don’t know and tell them how to pose and what to do. Having a camera helps me see all the little details that one might miss. I get to look around and notice what remains unnoticed by the majority of people. The camera actually teaches how you should see the world without a camera. There was a time when I felt a lack of self-confidence and I got help to believe in myself again after my divorce. A friend who is a photographer helped me a lot by taking pictures of me, and now I want to pass it on. I love empowering women with my photography. Women often seek appreciation from others, they wait for someone to tell them that they are beautiful. I am here to show you that you are already enough and you are beautiful!
Women often seek appreciation from others, they wait for someone to tell them that they are beautiful. I am here to show you that you are already enough and you are beautiful!
Where did you grow up and what brought you to London?
I grew up in Tallinn, Estonia and that is where I live now. I love my hometown, it’s very beautiful. And I love to travel and take lots of pictures while I go, so going to personal growth events to take pictures is a perfect match for me!
Why do you enjoy shooting on personal development events?
I enjoy taking pictures at personal development events because there is magic happening – a transformation. I have been through that process and, in my own way, I like to show what is possible if you commit to your dreams. Butterflies remind us, that change can be beautiful. You should not be afraid of the change, it is always for the better and especially at these events you will find your peer group that will always support you. It helps a lot. Plus, people are beautiful when they are transforming, it is a great joy to catch them at that moment of becoming themselves.
You are also an accountant and photography is often considered an artistic and creative field, often difficult to pursue a well-established career with, how do you combine these to professions of yours?
I don’t actually remember when in school age that I got the belief that I can do anything in this life. So I was trying many different things that have crossed my path: studying linguistics, accounting … and now photography and social media marketing. I really enjoy having both sides of my brain working: choosing only one is like saying who you love more, mom or dad.
What is the one moment that changed your life?
The moment I decided to live my life on my own terms, the way I want it to be. To start from scratch and build a new life being truly myself. It was not easy! I had to get a divorce, learn how to handle everything by myself and not depend on another person. I had to get out of depression on my own, because I didn’t know how to ask for help and was afraid of being vulnerable, because I thought it is a weak thing and I am not weak and I hardly ever cry. This process took about five years and I am very grateful to those people who were supporting the real me, when many friends thought I was weird. Before, I never shared my true feelings about being unhappy inside me. It was painful to admit that the situation I had was the result of my own choices and I came to the moment when it was time to stop lying to myself, it was too heavy baggage to carry. I am so grateful to all the things I have been through which made me the woman I am today.
I am so grateful to all the things I have been through which made me the woman I am today.
You told us that nobody believed in you and that your ex-husband hated when you were holding a camera, what made you keep going to reach where you are today?
Nobody helped from people who were surrounding me at that time. I think I wasn’t used to share my thoughts with others very much, and I was afraid to ask for help. That is why I had a feeling of being alone. But now I realise that it is okay to ask for help. I help when someone asks me for it, and I reach out for help now, too. In order to get, you should ask and seek, and give. Givers gain and I now understand how that feels. I’ve been giving away so much of my time during past years to help others not to give up, encouraging them, pushing forward and trying to be an example. Life has taught me that when you are passionate about something, there will always be someone who will appreciate what you are doing and help you to do more of what you are passionate about. It is a pure joy to see a person who enjoys 100% of what he or she is doing. I enjoy capturing magic moments and to share them with people so they can hold this memory for a long time. It is my way to share my energy and love through my camera — a way to serve others and add value.When in moments of doubt that maybe I’m in the wrong career and I’m the only one who needs the pictures, the universe has sent me someone who showed me that it is not true. I am so grateful to those people, who came to my life and have seen the real me and believed in me before it became obvious to wider audience.
Where do you find your inspiration for your work?
When you overcome your fear you receive a gift. I received a gift of having various inspiring people in my life and having the opportunity to share my talent with more and more people and maybe discovering other potential I don’t yet know about. I find inspiration in the beauty around me. And beauty is joy, authenticity, honesty, generosity and more. All people who enjoy their lives and are positive are truly beautiful.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
There are so many interesting things to do in life. But first of all I see myself as a loving wife and caring mother. Secondly I see my photography and social media marketing business blossoming. I really want to support personal development events and coaches on their mission, to get their knowledge to reach a bigger audience and change more lives and make a difference in this world. I also want to help empower women with photography that shows both their inner and outer beauty and share many beautiful stories from around the world. I have started working on a woman-empowering photography project to encourage women all over the world to believe in themselves, in their beauty, and to love themselves.
Live, love, capture, inspire!