“I ‘speak’ in photographic narratives rather than single images – and then reach further than photography itself; pushing the boundaries of conventional ways of seeing, understanding and the intake of photography.”
Ana Ilic (born in 1985) is a young photographer from Serbia currently based in Belgrade (Serbia). She holds a BA in Photography from “Cambridge School of Arts/Anglia Ruskin University” (UK). She’s represented by Artis Center.
“Visual communication for me represents an exciting journey into the mysterious world of personal and collective perception. It seems as if I constantly challenge the traditional conventions, because in reality of destruction, fear and death, I tend to find beauty and compassion.”
Interview Ana Ilic
Ana, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
It happened when I was shooting “The Death of the Dog” back in 2007. I can’t say what it was exactly. Perhaps the traffic that simply continued to go over the poor dog or the harsh August sun roasting its minced body or the fact that the dog and I were fellow beings. Despite the fact that it was one of many strays of Belgrade, I had a sudden urge to build him a visual monument, to make people see the consequences of their reckless and heartless behavior. As I was taking pictures, people started looking in that direction. Their faces were shouting at me, each one judging in its own frame.
Ever since perception and awareness became the emphasis of my work.
Why did you become a photographer?
I fell in love with photography in college, during a lecture of Richard Bardy on Sebastiao Salgado’s work. All just froze around me as I was intoxicated by the beauty of the photographic media.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to transmit with your pictures?
I hope to raise understanding and awareness about perception, give back to art and humanity.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
In terms of contemporary fine art photography Cindy Sherman, Nobuyoshi Araki, JH Engström and Wolfgang Tillmans. However I also have to mention some of my all time favorites: Julia Margaret Cameron, Diane Arbus and Nadar.
“I am always surprised at all the things people read into my photos, but it also amuse me. That may be because I have nothing specific in mind when I’m working. My intentions are neither feminist nor political. I try to put double or multiple meanings into my photos, which might give rise to a greater variety of interpretations.”
Your favorite photography quote?
“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
I “speak” in photographic narratives rather than single images – and then reach further than photography itself; pushing the boundaries of conventional ways of seeing, understanding and the intake of photography.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
To “listen” to other photographic voices that you personally hear the loudest, learn and then reply in your own style.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
I study the relationships among the images as well as the space that surrounds them. I constantly strive to push the boarders of the way people perceive photography and the world around them.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
Passion. Patience. Endurance.
Intense desire to know and understand.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
Like any other work of art it needs to resist time in every sense, after all that’s what we admire the most about photography – the beauty of immortality – we cannot get over it.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
All different place and sources, for me it’s like a free fall – exciting and dangerous, but above all challenging.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I use many different kinds of camera, however my favorite is TLR Rolleiflex. I shoot mostly on film and experiment a lot, so I use many different brands and types of film.
My favorite black and white negative manufacturer is Ilford, when it comes to color slides or negatives Fuji Film and Kodak.
What photography book would you recommend?
There are quite a few, here are some excellent ones in English:
Susan Sontag (1979), On Photography, London: Penguin Books
Roland Barthes (2000), Camera Lucida, London: Vintage Classics
John Berger(1990) , Ways of Seeing, London: Penguin Books
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
Believe in your voice, but don’t lose perspective.