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.
There 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.
So 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.
When 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.
I 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.