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Revealing Little Secrets

Image from Slovenian photographer Katja Kremenić photography

“What enchants me in photography is the fact that each picture no matter how real it is or isn’t has a lot to do with reality.”

Katja Kremenić is a contemporary photographer from Slovenia. She works on personal projects as well as commissioned assignments. Her images have been widely published in international magazines.

For Katja Kremenić photography is a way to capture her version of the truth and “expose others to glimpses of it, too.”

Interview with Katja Kremenić

Katja, one of your latest series is called “Rip Currents”. What is it about?

Actually Bonanza is the last one as it was shot a few months ago.

“Rip Currents” is part of a personal project where I try to document in a diary like form my own explorations in photography, but also in life in general. It was shot last year during a three long winter months in Costa Rica.

At the beginning of each project one often has some kind of idea in mind as to what the result could be like. Sometimes that changes along the way and the result is quite different. Was that the case with “Rip Currents” and if so what did you learn during the project?

The aesthetics of documenting and editing this story follows a concept which I previously used in a story documented during a month-long travel around the island of Corsica, France and later on in Bonanza. I consider this works as more than the mere snapshots. It is less about finding intensity within everyday and more about encountering the new world, in a documentary but deeply personal and often romantic level.

I learned that you need to be able to read the landscape in order to decipher the real stories. The beauty of things and people and moments. Even strange or bizarre. What enchants me in photography is the fact that each picture no matter how real it is or isn’t has a lot to do with reality.

The images are shot in black and white, and have a grainy, blurry style to them. Similar to other personal series you’ve made. Can you elaborate a bit on your aesthetics please?

“Rip Currents” is series of black and white photographs documented strictly on Ilford delta 3200 ISO film, working solely with natural light sources, which in some cases resulted in scans with interesting visible shape formations.

Do you use film and if so, what do you like about analog photography?

Yes, a lot. I love everything about it. I like to not be able to see the image immediately and I like how it becomes a surprise when you finally develop the roll. Especially if you are traveling somewhere remote. It could last months till I get a chance to process it in the lab. I guess I will start shooting digital much more very soon, but till then and even then it would be a shame not to master everything I want about film till it’s still here.

Not all your series are shot in black and white. What do you prefer: monochrome or color?

“I visualise ideas in my head before I even decide to make them happen.”

Actually I enjoy both. It’s just a matter of a decision before I even take a first photo of a project. I visualise ideas in my head before I even decide to make them happen. And already in that early stage I see it monochrome or color.

A great deal of your work focuses on portrait photography. Portraiture is a genre traditionally used to explore issues of identity. What do your photographs tell about the persons being portrayed?

Portraits are such an enjoyable part of photography because in case of portraits it’s not about me anymore it’s about someone else. And I like discovering and getting to know somebody through taking pictures of them. And I extremely like portraying people that are close to me. It’s like revealing little secrets.

On the other hand it’s said that a portrait also tells a lot about the person who took it. Do you find that to be true and if so what do your images of others tell about yourself?

It depends. In some cases I really want to focus on the person I’m photographing. My roll is basically to be very relaxed and make my subject comfortable and opened and then pressing a shutter in the right moment. On the other hand there are projects, as Corse Noir, Rip Currents and Bonanza where the only two persons are my boyfriend and I. So that’s where everything I know about photography becomes very layered and complicated.

What reaction do you intend to provoke in people looking at you photos?

I can’t really answer this one. But the one thing I’m always careful about is to show them something real. Even if it’s a fashion photography. I like truth and I like to expose others to glimpses of it, too.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges contemporary photography is faced with? And what are the most important changes recently?

“Every single photographer that takes part in today’s art scene is shaping contemporary photography on a daily basis.”

Personally I’m not the kind of person that has to try everything new in the exact moment that was placed in the market. Amendments in technology and all the new equipment are not the real changes. Those are all just tools. And every single photographer that takes part in today’s art scene, no matter the equipment, is shaping contemporary photography on a daily basis.

Susan Sontag once said “The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own”. How has photography changed the way you look at the world and what have you learnt about yourself?

Not so much really. I’ve always been too curious and got myself in awkward situation because of staring too much at people. But I did learn a lot about myself and in fact I’m still learning. There’s nothing more satisfying than a feeling of growth.

Every photographer is going through different stages in his formation. Which “landmarks” do you recall that have marked you and brought you to the place where you are today as a photographer?

“Business side of photography is still something I’d like someone else to handle instead of me.”

What I’m trying to do with my photography is really very similar to what I was trying to do back then when I first got a proper camera. A big change happened when I learned that I need to be more professional and strategic and invest some more time into exhibiting and selling work. Even though I took way too much marketing classes, business side of photography is still something I’d like someone else to handle instead of me.

Last but not least, let’s switch roles: Which question would you have liked to be asked in this interview about your work that I didn’t ask? Please feel free to add it – as well as the answer.

Q: Hmm, how about what am I up to at the moment?

A: I am working on several new collaborations. So there’s a lot of thinking and talking going on lately. I am also preparing two little shows and editing some work I haven’t yet managed to since I moved lately and still fighting a terrible cold. And I’m looking for a new apartment again, from February.

Image from Slovenian photographer Katja Kremenić photography
© Katja Kremenić
Image from Slovenian photographer Katja Kremenić photography
© Katja Kremenić
Image from Slovenian photographer Katja Kremenić photography
© Katja Kremenić
Image from Slovenian photographer Katja Kremenić photography
© Katja Kremenić
Image from Slovenian photographer Katja Kremenić photography
© Katja Kremenić

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