“Both my documentary and my conceptual work require thought and research. Balancing this are the times where I photograph more spontaneously. Structure and play are equally essential to me.”
Ves Aronova (born in 1966) is a Croatian self-taught photographer currently based in Hannover, Germany.
Born into a labour immigrant culture of the 60’s in Western Germany, Ves Aronova’s work confronts us with multi-layered qualities of time, seen and lived from the perspective of an observer deeply rooted in a life between worlds. Reconciling the contradictions of life and cultures, her work in its complexity evokes emotions of cathartic quality, she allows us to step out of time while making its manifestations ever-present.
Looking at her work, the interplay of colours, the subtle nuances of light, we begin to sense the layers of life, history and pain standing before her. Not an illustration, not a portrait, a living presence. And revealed in precise and exquisite clarity.
Ves Aronova’s work was exhibited in museums. She places her focus on her personal projects as well as on activity in non-profit and educational frameworks.
Interview with Ves Aranova
Ves, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
My first camera was a simple point & shoot that I initially bought to take sketches for my paintings at that time.
Why did you become a photographer?
Initially for the ease of the medium and the ability to carry my artistic tool with me in my pocket wherever I go. I then instantly found that photography is an ideal medium for me.
What does photography mean to you?
I was born at a time when cameras presented a privilege among immigrant cultures of the mid-60’s. Personal photographs were rare and of high individual value. This is where my love for analogue photography and my deep-felt appreciation for the craft come from. Photography in its great documentary strength reflects the moment between the past and the future for me. Moreover, it calls on us to live in the here and now.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
Of all the great masters of the analogue era whose work I admire, it is Edward Steichen’s work that inspires me most, for it represents the versatility and the art and craft of photography in perfection.
Your favorite photography quote?
“Photography is an empathy towards the world.”
How would you describe your photographic language?
I take a contemplative approach in my work, I am guided by themes and notions which are inseparable from me and which move me personally. Both my documentary and my conceptual work require thought and research. Balancing this are the times where I photograph more spontaneously. Structure and play are equally essential to me.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
Knowing who you are. I think of the creative force of an individual as naturally striving to become as independent of styles as possible. My vision is part of me. It matures with me.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work?
“I photograph reality as I find it with the camera I have at hand at that moment.”
I am a purist. I prefer to work with available light and avoid any excessive digital post-processing. With the exception of my conceptual work where I inscenate ideas, I photograph reality as I find it with the camera I have at hand at that moment. BW or color, film or digital, it gives me a flexibility that serves my artistic intent.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
Personality, wisdom, empathy, ethics, perseverance, and wit.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
A strong sense of the maturity and humanity of the photographer.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
I find inspiration within myself, in my reaction to the world I live in. In the tiniest of leaves, in a thought, in the reality of a person or a place. In the wonders and abysms of life equally. In a stillness.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I use both, digital and film cameras. My true love, however, belongs to film.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
I recommend to take a look at www.photography-now.net.
What photography book would you recommend?
Alexey Titarenko’s “Photographs” and, of course, Susan Sontag’s “On Photography”.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Be realistic about it. Do what you love and do it with passion.