When you thought Russia was a spot the place nobody smiles and bears mingle amongst folks, you’d solely be half-correct.
Meet Stepan: a 750-pound bear that’s taking the Japanese European trend world by snow-storm.
The good-looking brown bear was found as a cub deserted by its mom, and taken-in by spouse and husband Svetlana and Yuri Pantileenko. Now 28 years previous, the apex predator has lived below the care of solely people since then, and has the docile demeanor to show it, in response to Moscow-based photographer Mila Zhdanova.
“Folks have some stereotyped concepts about Russia. They suppose we by no means smile and have bears strolling the road,” Zhdanova, 40, instructed Media Drum. “We do have bears, however I wish to present in my photos that we do smile.”
She added, “Taking pictures with Stepan is such a deal with and I’ve to restrain my feelings.”
Zhdanova has launched a sequence of photographs depicting the charming bear subsequent to girls in ornate costume, usually conventional Russian garb, harking back to a fairy story.
“Stepan is so pleasant due to his trainers’ care and love,” stated the photographer, whose work as attracted “fashions from Thailand, Australia, Germany, Britain, and Israel,” all hoping to work with Stepan.
“Some had heard of the modeling bear and had been dreaming of this for 5 years,” stated Zhdanova. “The shoots are pure delight. There’s by no means any points.”
“I’ve had extra issues photographing kittens,” she joked.
Her newest sequence that includes Stepan was shot within the woods of Moscow over a interval of a number of months because the wild animal can solely be anticipated to “work” for an 90 minutes at a time. Any longer they usually would possibly threat agitating the bear.
However regardless of their innate ferocity, Zhdanova’s fanciful portfolio is indicative of Russian wildlife itself.
“I hope folks see the sweetness and energy in animals and nature by means of my images,” she stated.