Lovely Aneta Ivanova is a young Bulgaria-based talent, nothing short of sheer beauty coming out of her camera and her wonderful mind. Making use of double exposure, a technique as old as photography itself, she creates spectacular portraiture by joining together silhouettes and landscapes in the art series ‘Scars’. Do follow us through a dialogue with the artist to get closer to the core of this charming project!
1. Aneta — what a lovely name for an artist’s signature! When did it all start and how? Both your passion for art and following your passion for photography, as I expect it wasn’t love at first sight?
I have been drawing and painting since I was a little child. But I have always had the problem that I just couldn’t finish my ideas and that they never seemed to turn out the way I wanted them to. Probably that is the reason I liked photography so much: everything just felt complete. I started taking pictures when I was 13.
Art is something I need to do, I truly can’t stop. Doesn’t really matter the field – if you have an idea in your mind, fields, techniques, technologies don’t really matter. The finished piece is the only important thing.
3. I suppose an age as young as yours brings not just incredible energy and enthusiasm, but also a taste for experimentation. Do you think your present style is here to stay or is it perhaps the first of many to come?
I don’t think I will ever stop experimenting; age won’t change a thing. I’d rather say that my style is experimentation and I hope there’ll be many more techniques to come.
4. Can you tell me more about the technique of double exposure? It has been your signature style so far, not to mention it’s a rich tool to exploit, both visually and in terms of meaning.
Double exposure is just as old as photography itself; just two pictures in one. It can be shot on analog or digital, with the camera or on the computer. It’s a great technique, giving more freedom than the standard simple exposure and the possibility to invest a single image with much more meaning.
It was an experiment at first. I made the first Scar and thought it was cool and left it for a while. After a while, I saw Dan Mountford’s images and was blown away. So I decided to do more images like that one first Scar, and then to start a whole project. Now I’m trying to capture every new place I visit and make a Scar out of it, so I’m pretty sure it will be a lifetime project.
6. I know you once said you do not like being asked what the specific message of your work is. So I won’t do it. However, what did you have in mind when you created the series? Was it a flash of inspiration or maybe the fruit of a longer and more structured plan?
I’d rather say it was more like a flash of inspiration. I do have my own feelings associated with every image but what I hope for is that the people who view my art will find new and different meanings. I believe that everybody should be able to find themselves in art.
7. Now, ‘Scars’ is a rather strong word and I’m almost certain there is a longer story behind, isn’t it?
‘Scars’ was exactly the word I was looking for, a word strong enough to describe the project. I believe that everything new we learn, every new place we see, everyone who comes into our lives, leaves some sort of a mark- a scar. While everybody has many such things, we need to search a little bit inside our minds.
8. Why did you decided to have the pictures in black and white and not in a full range of colour?
I’ve always been a fan of black and white photography. I think sometimes colours can distract the viewer and that is why I wanted them in b&w. However I recently started doing some double exposures in colour too; it’s new and very interesting.
9. Just a funny little thing that crossed my mind: why people ‘filled’ with buildings and not buildings ‘filled’ with people?
We see buildings filled with people everywhere, don’t we? It’s actually strange… I wanted to show the private things happening inside of every person’s mind, away from the scrutiny of others – thoughts, dreams, feelings- and make them as visible as the people we see in buildings.
I don’t find it ironic at all. Think how most people live their whole lives trying to create something that will last after their physical existence has ended. We continue living in the things we create as we put a part of us inside.
11. Are these photographs representative of your personal angle? Is this superposition of human form and architecture how you visualised your experience of being in those places? If so, you must have lived it very intensely.
Yes, creating the images is the way I chose to show my experience in the every specific place. Every city touches me in a different way, so yes.
12. Lastly, about the experience created through your art, I’d like to ask if ‘Scars’ is subtly playing on Landsberg’s concept of prosthetic memory. A memory that is not of your own experience but somewhat borrowed from other mediums, allowing people to see and live that what they haven’t seen and lived in person.
Isn’t this the reason why every person seeks out for specific kinds of art? Meant to give one the opportunity to look at the world with someone’s eyes and mind, viewing art also has the great advantage of being a deeply personal process.
13. So many thanks for agreeing to this interview, Aneta! It was an absolute pleasure to talk to you and I do hope we will repeat the experience in the near future!
Thank you for the talk too and hope to have more to show you soon!
Image Courtesy: Aneta Ivanova