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Interview by Gabriela Piţurlea for SUB25

Link to the interview.

You said in an interview about how your character keeps going back to her childhood. When remembering your own childhood, what images and sensations come instantly to mind?

My grandmother’s garden, the road that led to her house through very old chestnut trees and her house – the way light traveled inside. Very cold, white winters, frozen pond, hungry sparrows at the bird feeder. My meadow in the spring, cherry trees in bloom.

Looking back, what do you think that had the biggest impact on the way you portray the world?

Spending a lot of time alone, observing, learning, imagining. I was a quiet child, always away with imagination. There are people who find inspiration in chaos and constant noise, I am not one of them.

Do you still take auto-portraits, and if so, how are they now, compared to how they used to be?

I do sometimes, though I much prefer working with other people. I am more conscious about my work now and my vision became clearer over the years, that’s probably the biggest difference.

How important is having a story before you start shooting, and which was the hardest to turn into photographs?

It’s quite important. It’s not always a story, it can be a feeling, one word that creates this space for me and my model to live in for the time of shooting. I can’t take photographs that are devoid of emotion, there must be something to connect to. Sometimes when people ask me to take photographs of certain type I suffer if I can’t find anything that touches me, anything I can relate to.

A lack of story, lack of feelings, no connection with your subject are the hardest to turn into photographs.

So many of your photos have that virgin-suicide feel. What draws you to portraying this border-innocence?

Two of my most recurrent motifs is the loss of innocence and the pains of growing up. My work is very introspective and those subjects are important to me. Instead of explaining why I invite the readers to look at my photographs and find the hidden stories themselves.

Do you have any visual fetishes, things that you insist on tremendously when you take photos?

Portraying melancholia, loneliness. Cutting long hair. Clothing that doesn’t indicate when the photographs were taken, vintage dresses, little girls clothes.

What do you tell models to help them get to where you want to go? Are you a talker while photographing?

I am awful at giving direction, I know what I want but verbalizing it is often impossible. I try to do my best. I often mimic what I’d want them to do.

How hard is it to find the appropriate clothes for your shootings?

It’s not hard at all, I find them in different places, often online. I don’t usually look for them, but somehow they find me (smiles).

We can’t record dreams, but – sometimes – they become memories to be told. Could you tell me about a recent dream (or daydream :) of yours?

Recently I often dream about being in love, it’s a shame I never write them down, I forget them right after waking. My dreams are vivid, lucid, often disturbing. Sometimes they leave me in a state of now knowing where I am and what is real, because of the realness of them, they are my alternate life.

1 thing that makes you sad, 2 that make you melancholic, and 3 that make you happy.

Anger.

Winter, memories of childhood.

Reading, being in a warm bed in the morning and not having to get up, sunshine.

About those nonfiction books :) Would you recommend one or two, for the rainy days?

Diaries of Simone the Beauvoir, Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes, A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking.

So many people seem to be scared of being alone these days. How do you relate to loneliness?

I find that loneliness in itself is not scary, only the paroxysms of it. Those moments when it becomes overwhelming and suffocating. Moments that are the opposite of clear thinking, feeling that life has no purpose and questioning your own existence.

People are lonely even when they aren’t alone. My advice is not to put your faith in others, instead build your strength inside, never stop learning and growing.

Having said that, I love people and being around friends is one of the best feelings, even for such loner as myself.

Interview by Christian Hillengaß

Some general information about you: Where are you from? How old are you? What are you doing if you don’t take photographs? Since when are you into photography?

I live in Poland in a beautiful rural place. I am 28 years old. When I’m not photographing I’m most likely working, reading or decorating my new home.

The first time that I picked up a camera (with film loaded inside) I was fifteen, it was my father’s old camera and I was completely fascinated by it. I would only take black and white photographs then, something I almost never do now.

Some of my earliest memories as a little child are connected to photography. For instance when I was five of so I remember playing with a Smena, I pretended to be photographing butterflies at the meadow behind our house. It is one of my fondest memories, I still can see those imaginary photographs that I “took” then.

What does „Nishe“ mean? In general and to you?

“Nishe”, I created it for the way it sounds, soft and whispery. At that time I didn’t want to use my real name and preferred to remain anonymous.

In my view, your pictures are in contrast to a modern neon-pop-world, in contrast to a fast industrial-globalised world. Is your photography a silent protest against a noisy world? A kind of escape?

My photographs show what touches me deeply, they are a longing for the past, a way for me to go back in time and live in another world. They are an escape from reality. I create worlds that are moulded from reality, but their essence is always a fantasy.

They are also my way of connecting to others, showing them how I see the world, where my imagination takes me. I’ve always been a recluse, spending a lot of time alone thinking, imagining things, creating stories. I have a sentiment for the past where imagination played an important role.

The modern, or the real world, is driven by consumption of all kinds, consumption of goods, news, exciting experiences, love. I find that the neon-pop culture is just a way to sell more, consume faster until we are left with nothing that lasts.

Or is there another philosophy behind? Do you intend something with it at all?

My intent is to quietly connect to the viewer, to speak to them in a myriad of subtle ways. I find that some people “speak the same language” as I do and identify with my art or that it moves them.

Are you dreaming about an other world?

Not only dreaming but creating them.

Why photography (and not painting)?

Since I can remember I’ve been looking at the world around me and seeing so much beauty. I’ve always wanted to save them by photographing them. Photography came to me naturally, I’ve always been fascinated by the camera and the possibility to record my daydreaming.

I abandoned painting and drawing for photography years ago. Recently I’ve decided to go back to both.

Are you inspired by 19.century, prerafaelite, symbolistic painting (e.g. Burne Jones, Waterhouse, Millais etc..)? And if so, why?

Yes, almost everything about prerafaelite paintings speaks to me, the way subjects are portrayed, the choice of subjects, how their emotions are captured, the mystery, hidden meanings, love for nature. I especially love Millais paintings of Sophie Gray, her coming of age, the untold stories I can see in her eyes.

Although you seem to be very busy in the digital world (digital photography, facebook, homepage, blog etc.) your Artwork and your attitude seems to be „analog“. Is this a conflict to you?

It isn’t, I perceive the internet as a channel of communication and it is the content that matters to me. I am thankful that I can speak through my art to the kind people who choose to follow my work on websites such a facebook, flickr or tumblr. I’ve met exceptional, beautiful souls through the internet from around the world whom I’d never be able to meet otherwise.

Digital cameras are just tools, it’s the vision, the story that is important. However I do prefer to shoot on film and instant film, because of the quality (the texture, tonality, colours). Analog techniques fit better with my seeing of the world.

Is the internet the only place you epxose your work?

Mostly, yes. Some of my works have been included in publications such a magazines and appeared on book covers.