Intimate and sincere – these are undoubtedly the characteristics of portraits he takes. In the digital age, he still often uses film, which gives him the opportunity to fully focus on the model. The intellectual connection he builds with other artists he works with results in inspiration which can easily be seen in his photographs. Today, we gladly present a great portraitist, Sebastian Cvitanic.
Why do you personally still shoot film?
It was the medium that I started with, and allows me to connect deeply with my subject because of its simplicity.
There is a beautiful mix of color and black and white portraiture amongst your works. If you had to choose between them, which do you enjoy shooting with most?
Taking into consideration that expressions are one of the most important factors, if not the most important to me, I will have to choose Black and White. Sometimes color can be distracting depending on the surroundings and environment.
Would you say there is a favorite of camera, lens and film combination that you always fall back on? What do you trust to always get the job done?
For portrait work I can rely on my Leica M6 with a roll of Kodak Portra, and always at 50mm, the equivalent of the human eye.
Your portfolio consists of a large percentage of female portraits; can you tell us why you have this focus and how do you decide who to work or collaborate with?
It’s not a matter of gender, it’s a matter of inspiration. I mainly work and collaborate with other artists, photographers, actresses, actors, models, painters, writers, etc. which I feel I can connect intellectually.
There is a certain seriousness tone in your photographs, was this intentional to you and why?
Absolutely, I find myself going thru layers of deeper emotions a lot, it’s really meaningful to me, lots of conversation. Good conversation.
If you were to describe the role of emotions in your photography, what would you say?
I work with a range of different emotions depending on the subject, and the mood. Some of my work is described as cinematic because I work with so many actresses and actors but I also love documenting specific moments in people’s lives.
In terms of your photography process, how much planning goes into each project and how much is left to chance? Would you describe yourself as spontaneous or someone who likes to overlook every detail?
There’s very little planning, and most of it is left to chance depending on the light but at the same time I can get extremely particular about quality of light, texture, color palette, etc.
You quite openly refer to yourself as a self-taught photographer; do you think that has had any influence on your photography style as a result? Do you feel it has helped or hindered your process from beginner to present day?
Yes, learning from trial and error and making hundreds of mistakes definitely helped my creative vision. Today making beautiful mistakes is what keeps me going.
What are your influences? Whose work in the photography field do you respect and admire at the moment?
I’ve been admiring the works of photographer Edward Weston for the last 10 years, and have always been intrigued by the aesthetic of filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni.
In this digital age where social networks seeming rule, feedback and opinions are direct and immediate; Do you pay attention to it when it’s directed at you, if so, would you say it has an effect on the way you perceive your work?
I do pay attention, I feel that everyone is a curator in their own way, and everything influences in some way.
What is your view on nudity and the growing trend for censorship in photography?
To me nudity is the finest form of art and it always will be. Censorship is politics, religion, and ethics solving the unsolvable.
We would like to ask you about your project – “Book of Portraits“; Where did the idea for your publication come from and why is this collection important to you?
It was mainly a way to see my work in print and in a certain order. It’s like a personal journal, more than anything else.
Is there an inherent message within your works that stretches from one image to the next? What is your message to the viewer?
Yes, there’s always a message, there’s always mystery, there’s always a paradoxical concept of equality from one photo to the next.