“Photography has become a way to comment on the world around me in visual language. When working on a project I allow myself to go much deeper into a topic than I would otherwise do. Photography is my way of exploring and sharing my explorations.”
Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte
Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte (born in 1986 in Vilnius, Lithuania) is a contemporary photographer currently living in Glasgow, Scotland. She studied photography at “Vilnius Academy of Art and Glasgow School of Art”. For Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte photography is a means to explore the world around her and to share her vision with others.
“My photographic work ranges from documentary to constructed narrative series. I am interested in memory, the concept of home and belonging, and human mind. Through my projects I explore constant change, nostalgia and struggle using varied visual language.”
“Artist Profile” – Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte
Kotryna, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
After studying in secondary art school in Vilnius where I got to try many things from print making to sculpture, life drawing and design, I drifted towards sculpture for its many possibilities. Whilst documenting my work with an old russian film camera I realized that some of the photos could stand in their own right. I liked the darkroom process for it being very tactile and physical and the digital side of photography for being very clean, precise and liberating.
Photography has become a way to comment on the world around me in visual language. When working on a project I allow myself to go much deeper into a topic than I would otherwise do. Photography is my way of exploring and sharing my explorations.
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
I tend to work quite methodically and treat my photographic work like any other task. There is no mystery of inspiration or talent. I go and see exhibitions, photography books, follow photography news, keep in touch with other creatives. I try to be aware of the world around me. That’s where my topics and ideas come from. When I have an idea, I put it through a period of research, which inevitably changes it. I write a lot and even draw sketches. It is very important for me to start shooting as soon as possible though, the longer the transition from writing to photographing, the harder it is for me to finish the project.
I print small photos of the whole unedited lot and put them on the walls. This helps to see clearer and make judgements. There’s got to be a balance in between structure and ambiguity. Sometimes things just feel right, aesthetically or conceptually and that’s also fine.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
It’s definitely impossible for me to mention one person’s work as the most inspiring. There was a time when I discovered Gregory Crewdson and thought his work was the most unusual, dark, cinematic and aesthetically stunning. Since though, I loved the work of Taryn Simon, Simon Roberts, Hannah Starkey. Thinking more locally I am inspired by work and wonderful personalities of Scottish photographers Alicia Bruce, Sarah Amy Fishlock and Robert Ormerod. These names and many others I admire are a fair example of my mixed taste in photography. Anything from documentary to staged narrative series can be inspirational and interesting to me.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
Can not possibly think of one just now.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
For my personal projects I tend to prefer film to digital. My favourite one is Mamiya RB67, which can sometimes be too bulky or slow, so then I turn to my old 35mm Nikon. Digital technology has advanced so much though, that after purchasing Nikon D800 last year for commercial assignments, I am starting to use it for my own projects too.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I have a few that I visit regularly, “Conscientious” by Jörg M. Colberg is very professional and inspiring. I read print version of “British Journal of Photography”, but there’s interesting things on their website too. I’m also following many photographers, publishers, magazines and photography curators on Twitter, which turns into my own photographic daily news feed.
What book about photography would you recommend?
I tend to buy photography books representing particular artist or even their particular project. From theory there’s a few obvious names like Susan Sontag, John Berger, Roland Barthes that I sometimes turn to.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
Think and shoot as much as you can. Only constant practice can bring results. Don’t get discouraged and try to always know why you’re doing it. Reasons behind your work should be clear to you, even if just on intuitive level.