In a series of moody photos inspired by one of her short films, art student Marta Skoczeń tells us the story of a young man who finds himself drawn into an old woman’s world of nostalgia and romanticism. Taken using a simple Olympus mju loaded with Rollei Retro, Asylum is a surreal Photo Story in monochrome that is eye-catching in both its visual and narrative elements.
Marta, who’s currently juggling her studies between the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Beaux-Arts de Paris, has been shooting film since her teenage days. The natural affinity that she has found with film shows in this set, and definitely puts an edge to her ideas and storytelling style.
“When it comes to photography, it has always been something very natural to me. It comes both from the need to express abstract ideas and, to put it simple, to capture situations that happen around. I always work quite intuitively, but I’m also trying to follow the theme and the idea. The aesthetics part is very important to me as it can strongly affect viewer’s emotions, but I try to keep a balance between the form and the content.”
“At first, I just had a very strong image of a young boy entering a universe of an old woman. I saw their relation, the elements of the surroundings, and I could definitely tell the atmosphere. I wrote a story not knowing where it would lead me,” she said of the idea behind Asylum. “At the beginning I thought it would be a good idea to combine text with Polaroids, as I’d loved working with the medium in the past. Out of nowhere, I suddenly discovered an old Olympus Mju. That’s how it started; I bought some rolls of Rollei and Rollei Retro and enjoyed the results. In the end, I loved making the baryta prints in the darkroom and adding some marks and scratches on the film itself.”
When asked what makes film a relevant and important medium today, Marta believes that it’s a universal medium that doesn’t have to be associated with solely associated with the past. “There are still some amazing photographers whose work wouldn’t be the same without film. It has some irreplaceable qualities, but it’s not to say digital photography can’t give you interesting effects. It’s just very different.”
What makes a photograph effective or compelling, meanwhile, is a bit more complicated to explain for Marta. While it should generally show technical expertise, a theme, and a mood, it needs to have something else. “To me, it’s something I would call a moment of a very concentrated energy. Photography requires being very courageous and even blunt at times, as it’s important to get physically and/or emotionally close to the subject. Besides it all, I’d say it’s the artist’s personality that actually determines the final result.”
To see more of Marta Skoczeń’s work, please follow the links below: