When it comes to Paris, Instagram is full of accounts that inspire and intrigue.
None more so than @alexandrine_ar. Created by Paris-based photographer Alexandra Rozhkova, who animates her loyal followers with cute coffee shops and street facades, sunset river scenes, and countless trips around France. We chatted to her to find out more about the influencer lifestyle, what brand partnerships really mean and when she felt like she’d really “made it!”
Could you tell us a little bit about your background? Where did you grow up, and what was your introduction into photography?
I grew up in a city called Kaluga, in Russia. As far as I can remember, I have always been creative. I studied in an art school and spent all my free time painting. I dreamed of being a designer or an artist!
Since I was into creating things with my hands, my father gave me his old film camera to play around with on one of my field trips, when I was about 10 years old. I was fascinated by this slow and very meticulous ritual of measuring light, choosing the right settings, etc. Photography has changed so much since then!
When did you first move to Paris? What impressed you about the city?
I moved to Paris six years ago and was bowled over by the amount of beauty and history in this city… present at almost every corner. I was also amazed by the cultural life – all of the exhibitions, museums, concerts I wanted to go to. During my first two years of studies in Paris, I literally only came home to sleep, never stayed in, and wandered the streets of Paris whenever I was able to.
What is your advice for creating an authentic audience on social media? How did you get the ball first rolling?
When creating my account six years ago (exactly the time I moved to Paris), I never had a goal of creating an audience or becoming a blogger. I just wanted to share with others the beauty I saw around me, and this is still the case now!
But my advice now is to share what you love and follow the accounts that inspire you. Engage with people that comment on your posts, and last but not least, be sincere!
Your photos would give the impression that you live a very charmed life. But what goes behind the scenes into making each shot beautiful?
I really like the expression “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and I believe in this. If we speak about street or travel shots, I rarely set up the scene; I just take a picture of a moment that seems beautiful, without altering anything. I prefer true, candid and honest moments where there is no “behind the scenes.”
Which are your favorite arrondissements to shoot in Paris?
It may sound a bit cliché, and I may be biased as well, since I live here, but Montmartre is hands down my favorite neighborhood! All these little houses, the quiet atmosphere and cute terraces are all very picturesque.
You are part of the @seemyparis – a group of IG photographers. Has it been easy to make connections or find opportunities in the social media industry? What has being part of this collective brought you?
I never actively searched for connections in this industry, but Instagram opened up a whole new world for me where I found so many like-minded people! @seemyparis is definitely one of them. It’s really great being part of the collective (thank you @wanderwonders, the founder of the @seemyparis!). We share the same vision of a less glamorous and more human and everyday kind of Paris and passion for capturing it. I’m really so happy to see that more than 120k people love this vision, too!
For those of us on the other side, could you explain what is involved in brand partnerships on IG?
It’s a kind of a contract between an influencer and a brand in order to increase the visibility of the latter. Influencers usually receive a brief where they have all the requirements and conditions of the collaboration. The influencer is creating a visual content featuring said brand and publishes it in his or her feed and/or stories. In order to make things clear, every time you see an “AD”/ “partnership” mention, it means it’s a brand partnership.
Which particular campaign have been your favorite?
It’s hard to name particular campaigns, but I would say that the best ones are those when a brand gives you full creative liberty. I love shooting for hotels, and I particularly liked doing campaigns with Renaissance hotels or the Provence-inspired shots I made for a brand of rosé — Fleur de Mer.
As an influencer, what do you do to switch off from your phone?
Oh, this is a hard question! 🙂 Honestly, I’m still figuring out the best way to do this! Due to the nature of my work (I’m also a freelance Community Manager, where I’m in charge of the social media accounts of a few brands), I have to be present online almost every day… but leaving for a weekend in the countryside, where I’m obliged to put down my phone, helps a lot!
Do you feel that your online life reflects who you are as a person, or do you feel like you have an internet “persona,” to a degree?
I think of my Instagram as a kind of a diary, where I only share the things I like/see/try and places that I travel to. So I think that everything you see on my account is me… however cheesy that might sound.
When did you feel like you “made it” as an influencer, so to speak?
When I saw that the reach of one of my posts was about 200,000, I thought: “Wow, it’s as if a whole small city has seen this!” It’s all pretty surreal.