Inspiring Instagrammers: schwarzkopfnonne

I just love browsing Instagram … it’s so much more than selfies and pictures of people’s lunch. During the last two years I have met so many lovely, kind and interesting people. For this reason, I want this to be the beginning of a series of posts about the people whose pictures brighten my day and inspire me to become a better photographer and person.

To make a start, let me introduce you to Olesya, the beautiful young woman instagramming under the name of schwarzkopfnonne. Every time her pictures pop up in my feed, I feel like I fall out of time back to bygone days of lacy dresses and ornate home décor. Yet at the same time her pictures are often very grounded, in the sense of close to nature, and in every way far, far away from our lives dominated by technology.

Born in the Ukraine, Olesya now lives in Northern Austria. I had the chance to ask her a couple of brief questions:

1. Since when do you post on Instagram and what made you create an account in the first place?
I posted my first picture in spring 2012, I believe. It was a saturated picture in green tones of a lonely tree. At that time I was aged 14 and just discovered the new app. I held an HTC gratia in my hands and had only 1Gb free internet. So my photography abbilities were limited and I also couldn’t spend much time on Instagram to not exceed my internet. Today I’m 19, I use an iPhone 5s, a DSLR camera and have unlimited internet. When I created my account I was on a ‘voyage of discovery’, only at the beginning of developing my style, so I started out by posting saturated pictures with a vintage touch. At the age of 15 I had already more of a plan, I went into the minimalism and fashion direction. And with, say end of 16, I had already found my vocation. It is what you see today.

2. Could you briefly explain the meaning behind your username?
Schwarzkopfnonne is German for black-headed/chestnut munia which is a small passerine bird. I won this lovely taxidermy bird two years ago in a giveaway. To be honest, I just loved this word – the interesting combination of Schwarzkopf, “black head” (my hair is actually dark brown) and Nonne, “nun”. It sounds unique to me and I feel like I identify with this name so I couldn’t imagine to part with it. I’d also love to be a bird in my second life.

3. What inspires you? How do find your subjects?
Everything! I think one can find beauty in many things – you just need to look with the “right eye”. People often ask me about where I took this or that. Often, those people live in the same town as me and I just say, “Oh open your eyes, do you see this? And that?” And then they’re like, “Ooh yes! But I wouldn’t take notice of it if you didn’t say.” Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration because of school work which “sucks out” my stamina. (To compare with a dementor.) When not consumed with stuDYING, I enjoy to escape into my little world; I’m driven by my fascination with the mysterious and the past, especially from the Middle Ages to the Long 19th Century. With my work I want to create an atmosphere of past for those, who sometimes feel like they were born in the wrong era too.

Here are some more of her outstanding captures:

View this post on Instagram

The Mourning Bride.

A post shared by Olesya Alexejewna Parfenyuk (@schwarzkopfnonne) on

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Olesya Alexejewna Parfenyuk (@schwarzkopfnonne) on

Lisa v. D.


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