"Awakening is a series of 35mm film photographs shot on Kodak Ektar, dedicated to the play of light and shadow symbolizing physical and mental awakening. All the images are soft, delicate and atmospheric in order to depict the fragility of the person who is embarking on a new journey or is living through a new beginning. It is about that short period of time in the morning, a period of hopeful uncertainty, right before you step into the new day.
Marina Danic is a visual artist from Serbia and working internationally. After graduating from the department of Journalism in 2011 at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, she studied documentary and feature film at Cleveland State University. Marina received her MFA in Creative Film and TV Production at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade. She has exhibited her photographs in several countries such as Serbia, Argentina, Uruguay, Denmark, Great Britain, Austria, USA and Japan and is currently represented by Lossenart Gallery in Milano. Her work has been published in various independent print and online photography magazines".
SFUK: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in photography.
MD:I have never thought about photography as a job or a career. Making money out of something so personal and intimate seemed wrong to me. My approach to photography is very personal and I usually document things that I witness. My first film camera was a vintage Keystone and I got it from my parents at the age of 15 so that I could document my European travels. While other kids were posing in front of monuments, I would always wonder off and capture a weird looking tree or catch people off guard sunbathing on the beach. I still am a very passionate observer. I studied in the US for a while and there I got my second camera - Pentax zx, and my first 36 shots were a black and white representation of the American amusement park. It happened as an accident, but it turned out to be quite interesting juxtaposition. I used a red filter as well, not knowing for what it was used for. I remember a guy approached me and said – A red one! Nice! It will turn out great on this cloudy day!
SFUK: Why do you shoot film, have you always shot film & do you switch between digital and film?
MD: I don’t use digital cameras at all, and just saying that makes me feel so old school. It seems to me that digital image is the norm today, in the professional photography anyway. Since I don’t live from photography, my approach has never changed. From my perspective, post production is a very powerful tool, but it does not relate to my view on photography as a documentary art form. My focus is always on the light and colours, so when someone asks me to compare a film print with digital one, I always laugh. It takes a very skilful colourist to mimic the colours that you get from 35 mm film.
SFUK: Who inspires you, any favourite people or places you frequently go to for inspiration?
MD: Taking photographs is my way of taking in new experiences. I know that I am okay as long as I can think what to shoot next. My inspiration in photography will always be Anselm Adams, and out of contemporary ones a fellow Serbian Ana Kras. Japanese photographers because of their unique aesthetic also inspire me. Sometimes I take screenshots from the movies I watch that appeal to me visually. When I look back on a series of photographs that I did few years ago, I am always thrown back to that place and how it made me feel. That would be the definition of photography in my book. I found out recently that my grand uncle had a dark room and he would develop all of his photographs there. Last year when we met at a family gathering to celebrate his 90th birthday, he took a photograph of me with his old Zenith camera so effortlessly. He is not a professional photographer, but he never stopped shooting. I hope that camera will always be just an extension of my had, as it is for him.
SFUK: How would you describe your style of shooting?
MD: Shy. I always wait for everyone to become comfortable enough and stop noticing that I am carrying it. On my photographs rarely anyone looks at the camera because that would be too invasive for me. I am not interested in how people interact with the camera; my interest is more on how they interact with the surroundings.
SFUK: If you could have any camera in the world, which would you choose and why?
MD: My current camera is Minolta Dynax 60 and it works very well with Kodak Ektar. I would like to try out Contax T2 Sonnar or Leica. Having a very good camera is not the most important thing for me.
SFUK: Do you have any plans for your next project?
MD:At the moment, I am focused on making photo essays. It is a completely different mind-set when you know in advance that you are making a series of 20 + photographs. In the future, I would love to use my photo journalistic skills and capture some interesting people and places.
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