When you have high ambitions and you live in a small country such is Serbia, you have to be highly talented and hard working person in order to get noticed or hired. Because Serbia, however it may seem, has a lot of young, talented and knowledge-hungry artists per one square meter. It’s a “rough” terrain bursting with creativity, so you have no choice but to be skilled, in order to succeed. You know how they say _calm sea never made a good sailor_ so we are bringing you our first interview with a very young, yet extremely professional Serbian fashion photographer, Aleksander Zivkovic, whose editorial “Clinic beauty” grabbed our attention, so logically… we grabbed him.Hi A. We are very happy to have you featured on Snobbyamish. So, what’s your story, tell us a bit more about yourself? My story… I had a dream to become great and famous painter, and that dream led me to the big town, to my High School of Art where I’ve discovered a whole new dimension of art and myself. Those were essential years for my development and growth, since I had enough space to learn, discover and express myself. Besides many ateliers, school had one small photo studio. Even back then, my professor who was teaching photography at the time, had noticed my great drawing skills,excellent understanding of space and movement and that I would be great in fashion photography. At that point I didn’t understand the connection between my artistic skills and photography, but now when I’m in the industry I understand and appreciate my artistic background greatly and combine all knowledge constantly. I can say that I transferred my passion for painting in photography trough postproduction process. Usually people start taking photos and then learn how to edit them to achieve maximum out of it, but for me it was the other way around. At first I took interest in postproduction, which resulted with great urge to create serious author work. It took me a lot of time and wandering to find the perfect mixture of classical painting and modern art, and the answer I was looking for was in photography. When I shoot my first editorial, I felt so inspired and fulfilled, which confirmed to me that I’m on right way, also it gave me boost for further learning and work. Regarding my photos, intense colours are dominating and always creating a specific atmosphere. I love the high contrast, intensive hue, perfect texture and theatricality. I’m fascinated with woman and her beauty. My work is based on expressing female beauty through various stories and ambient using mentioned artistic qualities, that are well presented in my latest editorial CLINIC BEAUTY, that we are talking about now.
Why fashion photography? Can you tell us a bit more about the “initial contact” with the world of fashion? Focus in fashion photography is person and figure. Character and gestures of model itself are stressed out with their own emotions and fashion items. As humanist and portraitist I found shelter in artistic photography, dealing with human figure. The renaissance in me leaded me to fashion and beauty photography. What I love most about them is that they give me a lot of possibilities for artistic and aesthetic experiments and of course a chance to work with a team of creatives and professionals, is an additional boost. My fist contact with the world of fashion was numerous assistances during photo shoots, where I learned a lot. I had that luck to be able to watch and learn from the right people. For someone so young, you have a high both creative and technical quality in your photography work. Who is your role model, what inspires you and why? Seeing many local and international magazines I admire and get fascinated by other authors work and quality. Most of the times I don’t even pay attention to authors name, I simply focus on the work itself. I like to rely on my own intuition and sensibility. I don’t make compromises, nor care what current trends in fashion industry are. I get inspired from surrounding and the people I work with, luckily in my country there are many talented individuals and gorgeous models. I like to look upon good projects and works, but I don’t really have an idol or a specific favourite, at least not in fashion world. Sources of my inspiration are abstract places and things. I like stars, sky, space, street lights and shiny disco balls. I’ve been thinking for a while about space themed editorial.
We consider fashion to be an Art and the strong spotlight shines upon it these days. In your opinion, what makes a great editorial and fashion photograph today? I believe that core of good photography is a good model. Good creative team, art director and photographer follow after. In fashion photography there is no difference in the importance of model. Most observers first notice person itself, and on second view they notice details. Model is the key figure in the fashion and it makes the difference between amazing and average. That is why brands, tend to stick to one model as their brands face and invest fortune in them.
Editorial we chose to feature stands under a bit edgy and provocative name “Clinic beauty”, is there any particular reason behind it? CLINIC BEAUTY has special place in my career. Project had its premiere on very popular and famous local fashion website URBAN LOOK under name SHELTER OF BEAUTY. Basically, this editorial doesn’t have one specific message. It is not commercial for anything, or anti-campaign for modern aesthetic clinics and their methods. What was meant to be shown is the dark atmosphere and side of model’s life and their sacrifices on the “path of beauty”. We didn’t know what reaction we will evoke in public; all we knew was that we want to make experiment with powerful visual impression. Our obsession with beauty and how much we seek shelter in it is a very common question these days, one hidden lifestyle we are living. Every photography in editorial was made to give you creeps, to hurt, make you admire, wonder and eventually analyse the meaning of it. This project is product of pure artistic urge. What did this project mean to you professionally? This is as I mentioned experimental project. I’m aware we are playing with fire here, since thematically elements can easily slide us into disaster. SHELTER OF BEAUTY is special due to my authentic personal touch. High contrast, perfect textures and theatric ambient are my signature. There is also dramatic moment which emphasises dark side of the story. What really means a lot to me is to see positive reactions and critics from the fashion world and to see a large number of shares through social networks with really remarkable comments, like never before. Since this is pure artistic project, I think it is logical it got best reviews and comments from creative and fashion experts. For me, as a beginner, this fact is very important and motivating.
How would you describe your photography work to someone who has never seen it? I would describe it as a big experiment in all terms. Considering my constant development, learning and changes in approach, style etc. I can’t find some short description or explanation. Only thing I can tell for sure is that you will see more incredibly beautiful women.
What is the gear you use on your shootings? I worked with various brands and manufacturer and i am in love in Canon-s models. Questionless that in spite of talent for the realisation off of certain vision really need to work with good technique. Wright now i am using Cannon 5D mark II with which it is photographed CLINIC BEAUTY . Soon I plan to move on Cannon 5D mark III and i am very happy about that.
What are the biggest challenges of working in Serbia? Where i live and work, the market is very conservative and unfortunately not innovative enough, but I can tell you that i love my country and that in here are some serious talents living. In Serbia there is an expressed creative spirit among co-workers and we often work together and organise art projects and editorials “L’ ART POUR L’ ART”. The spirit of make-up artists, hair stylists, models, set designers, fashion designers, photographers, etc , It is very intense and thanks to social networks, we have the opportunity to show their art projects and creative impulses beyond the bounds set by the commercial market. Often this kind of art projects come alive on the world stage.
Tell us how your day before the shooting looks like? It’s always, more or less, the same. A lot of questions, tension, wondering how it will all go, what will the cooperation with team members be like (if I work with someone for the first time) etc. I tend to freak out, but strictly and only in my four walls, when I’m all alone. Interesting thing is that night before some important shooting I don’t sleep at all. I always pray for happy, enthusiastic model which is able to trust me. But the good thing is that once I start shooting, all tension and questions disappear and the magic happens.
What things do you not like to do? Organisation of set would be the answer. It is extremely tiring to organise so many people. I’m bad organiser, but when we are shooting something big, I do like to be involved in a process of creation, preparation and organisation of the idea. As for photography itself I’m really specifically oriented and I do not accept offers than won’t give me satisfaction and creativity.
In your opinion, what are the main attributes or skills of a good photographer? Being authentic, having your own artistic expression and most important is to have TALENT. I’m one of those who believe in talent and vision. Above all I think that love towards art is essential, since time changes fast, technology develops even faster, but love stays and pushes you to keep up with all of it. Only true motive is love and obsession.
What are your plans for the near future? At this point I’m happy where I am. This whole year was in sign of beauty editorials for licensed local editions of international magazines (Hello, StilBook, Cosmopolitan, World Of Fashion, Elle etc.) Really important year for me, and big milestone for sure.I plan to work a bit more on networking and promotion of my work, and I would really like to establish cooperation with some creative team abroad. I have big dreams, but I’m also realistic and aware that it will be rocky road to the top of world scene.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone entering the world of fashion, what would it be? Be careful with beauty…
Photographer | Alek S. Živković
Stylist | Majda Cupać
Make up & Hair | Sofija Iličić
Fashion Designer |Dajana Vasic
Jewlery | Koishi Lamat
Model | Daria Petrak@Crystal Model Agency
Interview | Sanja Čežek