Image Source: Jarka Snajberkova – Fashion
– Jarka Snajberkova
JS: Berlin is naturally creative and relaxing city and so is the fashion here. Fashion is more accessible, for example if you want to go to the fashion week, you do not need to go through such sophisticated accreditation system like in Paris.
What made you move to Germany, are you yourself German?
JS: No, I was born in the Czech Republic or more precisely in Czechoslovakia. Maybe because I grew up in Warsaw in Poland, my father worked in international business and having a lot of friends from various countries there, I always felt more international. In 2010 I had a six-month internship in London, which was my first experience living alone abroad ever. At the beginning I worried about what to do there? But my friend told me that even if I should walk in the city and look around only, things would soon make sense. And it did! So in my free time I was walking the streets and walked through and through all the northern part of London. London was also where I made the decision to work professionally with fashion photography and started to photograph fashion there. It was my last year at the university so it was necessary to choose a field of specialization. After coming back to Prague I established a project, which was connecting models, stylists, make-up and hair artists and fashion designers and organized photo shoots. Within these shoots I was exploring possibilities and borders of fashion photography and learned how to process the photographs and the business around. In some moment I felt to broaden my horizons and that is why in autumn 2012 I went to Berlin.
Did you study photography or another discipline?
JS: Yes. I have been drawing and painting since childhood and every week visited art lectures. I started at the age of 4 in Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. When I was 14 I started to photograph and gained an admission to a Graphic High School in Prague where I studied photography for 4 years. But because it was difficult for me to deal with new medium and achieve technical mastery of analogue photography (it was before the dawn of digital photography), I did not want to photograph after I left school at all and moved into painting and fashion design which I also wanted to study at university and created a whole collection by myself. Albeit I still felt that photography was still a part of my skin and after a two-year break I began to photograph again and reached my mastery at the Film Academy of Photography (FAMU), Photography department.
After viewing your art driven photography talk us through the thinking behind these pieces and the motivations that led up to some of this work?
JS: Usually it is about some inner tension, which materialize outwardly and photography can take a note of it. I like visually attractive subjects but there must be some overlap. I am not interested in the form only. Regarding to my way of working I may be described as a disciplined systematic with frequent intuitive insights.
‘My Clothes My Body’, is a project based on the principle of every day shooting of one subject. My mum does the washing by hand a lot to avoid losing the colour and to save fine fabric and so do I, especially because I wear a lot of black colour. I lived in a flat with a bit of a smaller bath than the usual and while doing washing I noticed that it looked like a womb and the clothes inside like viscera. I got an idea to connect outer and inner body and other questions related to this theme, for instance how we wear things on the surface of the body can influence our inner body, how much we identify ourselves with outer aspects and what is actually inside if we pay so much attention to the outward factors. When the project was exhibited for the first time, it was called Processes and the last bath in a row was empty.
Following and popular Black Bed Sheet was created in the same way but it captures my bed sheet every morning after waking up. I noticed that almost every morning there were strange, surreal and dramatic shapes as if they imprint the whole kingdom and dreamy processes of the sleeping body during apparent inactivity. It may have connotations with the Veil of Veronica and it also reflects dealing with photography and painting, in this case with monochrome painting.
Image Source: Jarka Snajberkova – ‘Black Bed Sheet’
What was the last art or photographic exhibition you visited?
How do you personally marry your artistry with photography?
JS: Sometimes you cannot take a picture of everything. So I write a lot. Writing brings me the clearest way to record my ideas, feelings and thoughts if it is actually possible to record anything in exactly the way it appears. I write my dreams down and naturally my big wish is to capture them with my camera. I would love to not have to create another interpretation of the dream but the exact description of the story but via photographic pictures, which could be possible within high-budget production only.
When I was asked to participate on a group exhibition called ‘Sex Extremely Lovely’ which was a topic of eroticism in contemporary art, I selected my dreams with this topic and photographed my hand-written notes. In the gallery I wrote my dreams on the wall.
In fashion photography I often think, where are the borders of art? Because I still assume that this photographic discipline is primarily about the clothes, so thus applied art not fine art, with some author’s intention. The point is to combine respect for the current product whilst gently adding some of your own ideas. To be put in layman terms it is similar to when you cook from already great ingredients and you finely add spice to the food.
Image Source: Jarka Snajberkova – Tex Saverio
…The fact is that I am a woman, I feel like a woman, and I do not want to pretend that I am a man”
– Jarka Snajberkova
We are aware that as much as the photographer brings to life the vision so too does the model, are there any particular models that you are working with or would love to work with?
JS: Let’s leave it as a surprise.
What is the art of being a good photographer?
JS: To be good at anything I think requires to do things naturally, feel it and then to go into more depth. In general to get to know the history and present tendencies and to keep this in the back of your mind but move away from all these, then to manage the technical part of this profession as the base. There are so many exciting elements around, people shoot everything and fast but if you do everything you never do anything properly because it is not possible to manage it. Then the photographs look like semi-finished products, they look all the same and almost none of them stay fixed in the mind. Of course it mirrors the present day and generally todays approach to everything. From my perspective to be a good photographer is to photograph genuinely and to try to move away from the boundaries of the mainstream, trends and maybe even yourself and of course to get along with people, to be tactful and polite but also to keep following your direction.
Image Source: Jarka Snajberkova – Disturber
Which photographers’ work do you admire?
You have worked at Paris Fashion Week, what was the best brand/s you captured?
JS: I like Yohji Yamamoto and it was nice when I was invited to his showroom after his Fashion Show in Paris last year. To work on fashion week and to be in touch with all those people who work hard on the collection and its presentation made me come to appreciate any creative effort and I always felt deeply touched after each show when I saw the happiness in the eyes of people who worked on the show. So from this point of view all brands were fantastic.
The challenge with a digital age is that everyone who is anyone believes that they are a photographer or a term that is often used ‘an artist’ do you embrace these changes or do you find them as somewhat of a slight obstacle for aspiring photographers who obtain all the necessary qualification etc.?
JS: I am sure that everyone knows his or her own artistic or any other role. We like to label ourselves because somehow it can help us with identification but it usually brings more confusion into our own inner systems.
In Berlin, where it is said that there are a lot of artists, it so happened that someone asked me if I have my own camera. This had never happened to me anywhere. And then I also noticed that people started to perceive label artists pejoratively in some way.Photography is interesting in the context of today’s events including various phenomena and on the other hand university or any other qualification does not automatically create a photographer or an artist from you.
Do you ever express the German culture within your work?
JS: It is interesting because in Germany I started to embrace more Czech culture. I am interested in alternative culture especially in the music industry, and also in alternative fashion, which I was exploring during three seasons of Berlin Fashion Week and related events. I am also interested in the question of gender and identification through sexuality.
How do you keep your creativity fresh and current?
JS: I think pure creativity is always current. I keep myself healthy and balanced and it keeps my creativity fresh.
As a female photographer in a male dominated sector of the industry how do you manoeuvre around any prejudice?
JS: The fact is that I am a woman, I feel like a woman, and I do not want to pretend that I am a man so from this point of view I cannot be equal to a man and opposite. Maybe the best way to face any difference is to be authentic and then I think it does not matter if you were born as a female in photography.
What is the best thing about being a photographer?
JS: To have a camera and possibility to change any situation.
Image Source: Jarka Snajberkova