Art, Artists, Fine Art Photography, Introductions, Photography

Introductions – Anja Matko

Anja Matko is a new artist for me, I came across her work very recently and I was blown away by it.  It is very similar to work that I have tried to do myself, but she does it so much better.  I have seen other artists doing similar also, but there is a raw element to Anja’s work that the others don’t have.  Perhaps the darkness of the images is also what draws me in.

img_1975_cop1y_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d6qp4f2There is something about entrapment to her work, a need to escape, I can’t quite explain it.  I look at her work and I want to know what she is thinking.  Many of the images, I think all, feature her and are self portraits.

When I emailed her for permission to use her work, I ask if she would answer the questions I ask everyone.  The first, as always, why do you take photos.

Well, since I remember I liked to express myself through art. First, in high school I was drawing. Now that I remember, I always had a little darker imagination. :) In that time I didn’t really think about expressing it through photography.
I loved capturing moments, though. Wherever I went I had my camera with me, and photographing everything. I remember, when there was still film, I used an entire film just to photograph my cat, from every angle possible. I guess she was my first model. :)
I started to look photography differently when I started college. I don’t know what changed in me. I just fell in love with it. And now, I can’t stop. I can’t go to a concert without my camera, because I love catching the light and the moments on the stage. I can’t go in nature without it. I’m addicted. :)
And then, last year, when I graduated, I decided to take a step further in my photography. I wanted to learn more. So I started a 365 project of self-portraits. I’m so happy that I decided that, because I learned so much, and I think I finally found my style. I love to express myself through photographs, to create this dark atmospheres, situations and different surreal worlds.

img_5746_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d749x4eSo impressive that she is producing one of these everyday.  There is so much thought, and I would have thought planning that would go into them.  It is an amazing challenge for anyone.  I just can’t help wanting to know more.  These images really grab my attention.

Inspiration is something that is really important to artists, we need it, so I asked Anja about hers.

I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes I just see some objects and the idea for a photo pops in my head. Sometimes is the location. Some locations are just calling to take a photo there.
A big inspirations for me are also movies, some tv shows, books.

We have similar inspirations.

img_9525d_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d6p66u8When I was going through her work, I was really surprised to see this, so much colour.  Most of her images are very dark, or have almost no colour, so to find one, that has some was really interesting, or almost out of place in a way.  The only colour, though, that you tend to see in her work is red.

There are many ways for an artist to work so I asked Anja if there was anything special about how she worked.

For my self-portraits, first I usually think about the story I want to tell with the image. Then, what kind of dress I will wear and why. Next I choose the location. Sometimes I shoot outside, sometimes I simply do it in front of a white wall and create a story there. I use my white wall like a blank canvas. :)
Then, when I start shooting, I first make a test shoot, so that I can adjust the settings on my camera. Then I try few poses (I don’t always know what will work the best for the story I want to create until I see it in camera, so I keep a open mind about that) and when I get the one that i’m happy with, I make a few shots of just the background around me, because I expand my frame into a square later in photoshop. I always use a tripod. Sometimes I do everything alone, for some photos I have helpers –  usually my boyfriend or my mom. :)
When the shooting is done I process my work in Photoshop CS5.

img_6112_copy1_cop1y_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d6uyvcwI find it amazing when people photograph themselves, not something I am comfortable with, photographing me, not the concept of others doing it.  I guess it is a great way of always having a model.

I find myself almost speechless with the images, I really like them, but am not always good at saying why.  They really appeal to me and perhaps is it that isolation and desolation that I see in them, that I also try to get in my own work.

Kit with any photographer is so important and she told she uses the following.

My camera is a Canon EOS 5D, mark II; Canon 50mm, f/1.4 lens, Manfrotto tripod and wireless remote control Canon RC-6.

Anja has given me three links where you can find her and her work.  She has a blog called Anja Matko Photography, she is on Deviant Art, she is CrazyGirl44 and she is on 500px under her name Anja Matko.  There are a lot more self portraits on those sites and you can learn a lot more about her, so I hope you will go and take a lot at her work.

I am going to include a gallery with a selection of images, ones that I really liked.  I would also like to thank Anja for giving me permission to show her work here.


  1. sarahlearichards says

    Very horror-like and noirish. Love it!

  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    These photographs are insights into her psyche or soul one – I don’t know which. They are eerily beautiful. I don’t smile as I look at these but I find myself looking for what message she is trying to convey. I like these images. ;)

    • I know exactly what you mean Jackie, I don’t smile when I look at them either, but I am curious and I have questions. I could look at these for a long time, I love images that won’t let me go.

    • Very hard, I couldn’t imagine doing a new photo every day, and as you said, to such a high standard.

  3. leecleland says

    Thanks for the intro Leanne. This young lady has a great imagination and I personally love the red trees it is sooo very colourful even though dark.

  4. Beautifully artistic work – She certainly does have a unique style – I get a Brothers Grimm or Through the Looking Glass feeling as I view them – certainly nothing from this contemporary Earth. Thanks Leanne.

    • Yes, I agree Robert she does. I like what you get when you look at them. You’re welcome Robert.

  5. These are absolutely incredible! I think I’ll toss my camera out now lol. Just kidding. But they are truly amazing. Thank you for sharing these.

    • I know what you mean, they give me lots of ideas, and I think it was work that I really needed to see right now.

  6. These are absolutely incredible. Very dark but there’s something really intriguing too. I could get lost staring at them and I think I’d like to know where they would lead my own thoughts.

    • What you are saying is exactly what I think too, I could get lost in them as well. I am finding them very inspirational, I hope you do too.

  7. A style like this takes so much thought and depth that it would be easy to spend quite some time exploring the ideas. Simple, yet complicated beneath the surface. Thanks for sharing :)

    • It does, you could spend a very long time doing it I think. I like what you have said, so very true. :)

  8. I love the sense of narrative in these dramatic scenes. They remind me a little of Florence and the Machine’s promo work. Thanks for sharing.

    • The narrative is great, and I find that really intriguing. I don’t know their promo work, I know their music, might have to look them up. You’re welcome.

    • No thanks needed, I have been waiting to show her work, I really loved it, so this one today was really for me. :)

  9. You are so aware – artists so often inspire photography – I must get to London three photographic exhibitions at National Portrait Gallery. Always look forward to your posts

    • Artists are a great inspiration and I think we learn a lot looking at them, I think that is something that I really learned in art school. Have fun at the exhibitions, let me know how they are. I must get into the gallery and see what is happening.

  10. The atmosphere in each of these photographs speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing the stunning images and introducing a brilliant photographer.

  11. Not exactly my thing but these images have a haunting style and are all beautifully executed. Great work!

    • I am glad that you can appreciate them Noeline, I understand that not everyone is going to like.

  12. What a Superb collection of work Leanne . Thought provoking in the same manner as I’ve found your creative work .

    • Her work is very creative, I have learned a lot from looking at it, I especially like the way she has processed it.

  13. She is an absolute master at capturing the atmosphere. The mood she is able to capture in just one snap is absolutely amazing.

  14. Ohh, I can see why you’d like her work! :) You two have similar tastes and I love them! Thanks for sharing her sites!

  15. Thank you for showing this photographer to all of us. Her work is breath taking. I think another photographer that you may like is Rosey Hardy. Her work is also breath taking, her self portraits are amazing. She is the one on the cover of Maroon Fives album “Hands All Over”. She also took the pictures of herself.

    • I must check her out, thanks for the name. I like it when people recommend people to me. Glad you enjoyed Anja’s work, I think it is breathtaking as well.

      • I like hearing about different artist, mostly photographers too. I have a lot of favorite photographers. I’ve been told some of my work is similar to Sally Mann’s photography work. It was a great honor to be compared to her.

      • I think if you like particular artists/photographers, then it is pretty reasonable to expect that your work will be influenced by them and that you will do similar stuff and when a comparison like that is made, it is fantastic.

      • I agree 100%. We are all influenced by different people. We may not even look at an artist/photographers work, then one day we look up their stuff and we do have similarities to their work. As long as we are not copying an artist/photographers work the exact same way theirs is it is perfrectly fine for someones work to be similar.

      • No nothing wrong with having work similar to another artist, as long as you aren’t copying it, though copying it can be a great learning experience. We did it at art school, as long as you let people know it is a copy and don’t try to say it is your own work.

      • Right. I do not see myself doing anything but photography. Maybe writing, dancing, and painting. But nothing will have my heart like photography does.

      • I completely understand that, I’ve tried quite a few things, but I always went back to the camera.

  16. Thanks Leanne, another great post and artist / photographer.
    Her work is so interesting! Glad to read about her too.

  17. Truly beautiful art …. but it give me a feeling of sadness and loneliness – have seen some of her images before. It also gives me an urge for freedom.

  18. What she seems to be saying about restriction, vulnerablility and de-/repression in a very easy to read and palpable style really holds my attention. It makes me want to learn to speak that kind of language to talk about what i want to put out there.
    And then there is the little voice inside my head who keeps asking, “How did she do that?” Another in my guts says, “Could the style be addapted to ‘desire’, ‘alienation’, ‘rage’?”

  19. Reblogged this on Looney Babewynie, the jabberwock cook: and commented:
    What she seems to be saying about restriction, vulnerablility and de-/repression in a very easy to read and palpable style really holds my attention. It makes me want to learn to speak that kind of language to talk about what i want to put out there.
    And then there is the little voice inside my head who keeps asking, “How did she do that?” Another in my guts says, “Could the style be addapted to ‘desire’, ‘alienation’, ‘rage’?”

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