Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Svetlana Kleandrova, owner of Dot Dot Dot Photography, which serves Lake County and the entire Chicagoland region.
Svetlana Kleandrova knows what it’s like to truly be a citizen of the world. Svetlana is currently a Lake County resident, but she was born in Kazakhstan. She went to Russia for university, moved to England to earn a higher degree, and then moved to the Netherlands for work. She met her American husband, who hails from Highland Park, in the Netherlands. He was there working for a major pharmaceutical company, and Svetlana was a lawyer for a mining company.
Eight years after arriving in the Netherlands, Svetlana found herself moving again, this time to “the beautiful town of Libertyville,” she says. “[My husband] likes telling the story that his company sent him to the Netherlands for two months, single and with two boxes of personal things and they had to move him back to the States five years later with the family of three (and a half at that time) and a full container of household things,” Svetlana says. “I call it the roller-coaster of life.”
It’s in Libertyville that Svetlana has fulfilled her long-time dream of starting her own professional photography business, which she says was one of the biggest and bravest things she has ever done professionally. “For a very long time it was a beautiful dream, but deep in my heart I was not sure I would have the guts to actually set it up,” Svetlana says. “However, one day I realized that life is too short to say ‘no’ to my dreams and went for it with my whole head and heart. This by far has been one of my most rewarding and yet most challenging experiences. And I am loving it!”
Dot Dot Dot Photography serves the entire Chicagoland region, and although Svetlana focuses on maternity, baby, child, and family photography, she also does event and couples photography. She loves working with people, the artistry of photography, and the constantly evolving technology. “The beauty of being a photographer is that the status quo basically does not exist,” Svetlana says. “The technology changes almost every day, my personal artistry is evolving, the people I meet are all very unique and different.”
In her free time, Svetlana loves spending time with her family and enjoying Lake County. She has a 14-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old daughter, who keep her busy with their many activities. One of their favorite things to do together is read. Both of her daughters love reading and Svetlana makes sure to keep a stocked library of “good old paper books” around the house.
“Some of the books I am reading to the little one are those I read myself as a child,” Svetlana says. “And for me it is a total time machine, which takes me back to my own childhood.” Svetlana and her husband are teaching the girls both English and Russian, so they too can grow into world citizens. “For me it is very important that they can communicate properly with both sides of the family and be aware of their multicultural background,” Svetlana says.
As a photographer, Svetlana loves the change of seasons in Lake County. Some of her favorite Lake County attractions include Lambs Farm, Independence Grove, and the many forest preserves throughout the area. “As a photographer and a very visual person, the ability to watch such beautiful nature cycles and changes in seasons is one of the most satisfying things,” she says. Despite settling down in Lake County, Svetlana continues to travel across the world at least two or three times a year, family in tow. This year they are going to Colombia. “We all are absolute and hopeless travel junkies,” she says. “You tell us where you want us to go and we are off to pack our luggage!”
As Svetlana lives out her dreams through her photography business, she tries to instill in her daughters her passion for developing meaningful relationships with people and embracing the diversity of the world.
“I am trying to live my life to the fullest and teach my daughters to be open-minded and tolerant,” Svetlana says. “Once you understand how diverse the world is, how unique each person’s background is, and how-far reaching each culture is, you look at it as a wealth of knowledge, which enriches each of us as a person.”
Next week Svetlana steps in as guest editor with her calendar picks, and later this month, we’ll share more about the photography services offered by Dot Dot Dot Photography. Dot Dot Dot Photography is holding fall mini sessions on September 24th and October 9th in Libertyville. The cost of one 20 minute session is $250 with 10 digital images included. Contact Svetlana today to schedule your session.
Dot Dot Dot Photography is offering an exclusive discount for Little Lake County Readers! Mention the Locally Grown feature when booking your appointment for 20% off your 2016 photography session.
Disclosure: Dot Dot Dot Photography is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.