Serbian art photographer Jovana rikalo combines fashion with nature to create dreamy escape images that resemble scenes from a storybook. From a mother and child wearing matching ball gowns in a grassy meadow to a woman in an ethereal white dress and leading a horse through a field of flowers, each photograph offers a portal to a charming world you would want. to visit.
A mostly self-taught artist, Rikalo began practicing photography while studying law. During this time, she quickly fell in love with the medium and her ability to create different narratives. Since then, she has channeled her love of clothes – especially dresses – and respect for nature into transporting images that straddle the line between reality and a dream.
We recently had the chance to catch up with Rikalo. Scroll down to read the exclusive My Modern Met interview.
What is your background in photography? What attracted you to this particular medium?
I started taking pictures nine years ago. It all started spontaneously. I’ve always loved photography but never imagined myself to be someone who would hold a camera all the time and think of new concepts and ideas. At the time, I was taking photos on my family trips and self-portraits. In my second year of law school I discovered a website called Flickr and some great art photos! They left me speechless. They had such strong emotions and stories. I started to look at photography with different eyes. It motivated and inspired me to try something new, different.
(continued) I started taking pictures of friends, of familiar faces. I was too shy to ask someone to pose for me. Slowly I opened up to new faces and broke the ice with people I didn’t know. It was difficult, I didn’t know where to start and how to pose people, but we learned that along the way. After nine years, I have worked with over 300 models.
Your photographs are incredibly transporting and contain many fantastic elements. Do you see your photos as scenes from a story?
Yes! My photos are stories and scenes. Each element has great significance. I like to explain each photo and why I choose this element, but each person will see it differently and create a new story. Once you publish the photo, it is no longer yours. Everyone will see their own life and stories reflected in the image.
What inspires your stories?
My great inspiration is life, nature and people. I like to connect the three to make a story. Almost all of the stories you see in my photos are based on my life. I connect these stories with beautiful dresses, natural elements and fresh faces. In addition, photographer Tim Walker was a major inspiration when I started my photography practice.
Do the models in your photos represent characters or ideals?
I am very picky in the choice of models. Each model should connect with the concept character and the whole story. Body language is also very important. It’s like a movie and the models are the main characters. I like to look for fresh and unusual beauty, and features like freckles, extra long hair, shiny eyes, tattoos, etc.
How important is location to your photograph?
Very important. Every element is important: model, location, outfit, hairstyle, makeup and accessories. It is important to know early on how you are going to tie all the pieces together and what is important for each story. The location represents the entire scene, where the main action takes place. There is no rule on how I choose a location. Sometimes I know what to look for and other times I find a place by accident and then think about the whole story.
Clothing and costumes seem to be separate parts of building your world. How do you choose the clothes?
As for the outfit, I usually choose dresses. Why? Because you can choose different colors, shapes, sizes .. You can play with many options. And it is also pretty in the photos. I am all in dreams and magic; and dresses represent that, right?
What is the most important part of your photographic process?
Think about the concept, plan each scene, communicate with my team members what props I need and how to make them. What you think and what you see on set has to connect that day and that’s the hardest thing, if you ask me. But that feeling, when you see your idea on set, cannot be described. Especially if you have a big stage and a lot of elements.
Do you have any advice for aspiring art photographers?
Practice, think about the concept, write down your thoughts, but most of all don’t be afraid to start. You will see how important this step is in photography. Each photoshoot will give you a new perspective and a new lesson.
Do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?
I plan to visit different countries where I will create different scenes. Lots of amazing things are going to happen next year!
My Modern Met has granted permission to present photos of Jovana Rikalo.
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