Māgoa presents Urša Premik, a freelance fashion and portrait photographer, currently based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Urša’s personal project with her grandma titled Super Hilda will be presented in a special exhibition, tomorrow, at Kresija Gallery. So, read more about her creative process and the vision behind the project in today’s interview down below.
Could you quickly introduce yourself in a few short sentences? Who you are, what you do at the moment and where are you from?
I am Urša Premik, a freelance photographer currently based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I mostly work in the field of portrait and fashion photography.
How would you describe your beginnings in the creative field? Was this the career path you have always wanted or is it different from what you have imagined it to be?
I wanted to be a photographer since I can remember. Actually my grandfather was also a photographer and I have always listened to the stories from my grandma about his photography. Since young age, I was always more of an “artsy” type of a person and always loved creating and meeting new people and I think this job is the perfect way to do these things in life.
What first got you interested in being a photographer?
Probably the most important thing for me is that there is no routine and you always get to meet new people on a daily basis.
Are there any photographers who have influenced you?
There are always some names that come to mind, when I get this kind of question. But I don’t like to reveal the names of artists, because I rather focus on the work they produce and the images that stand out. I like to be influenced by the daily life as well, stories that are happening around me and people. I like to draw the influence and creativity from people and their characters. Usually, when they are in front of the camera and when I’m photographing them, I let them influence me with their personality and charisma.
How did you develop your distinctive visual language which we see in your work today? Did you know it since the very beginning or was it more of a gradual process?
I think it was some sort of a long process that was developing through the years. I believe that every artist from the beginning is struggling with everything, not only with finding their style or visual language. I still think that I’m not exactly where I wanna be, and that when we have this mindset in our heads, we’re still looking forward to creating and improving our visual language, which means that we are still growing as artists and as a person.
Your project Hilda became extremely well-known after Vogue Italia published your photographs. How did this project come about and what was your grandma’s reaction to your proposition?
The project with my grandma Hilda actually started as a personal project in my college when we were exploring and photographing our personal space. That was the actual beginning of this project that still hasn’t really ended, because it has been going on for 6 years already and it’s changing through time. We keep exploring the different aspects of photography and different styles with Hilda and it has been an incredible journey so far and I can’t wait to see what the future brings. At the beginning my grandma wasn’t really excited, but after years of spending time together and creating different photographs, we are truly enjoying and deep down I think that she really is the kind of diva that deserves all of this attention.
Do you remember your first photograph with Hilda?
Of course I remember. One of the first photographs was her while playing the *pool*.
Now you have your own photography exhibition coming up, centered around Hilda. Congrats! What can we expect from it? Will it feature any new content?
Thank you so much. This is actually already the third exhibition with Hilda. You can expect some old material as well as some new exciting projects we created in the last year together. This exhibition is actually a mix of some of the most natural work I have ever created and I wanted to show Hilda in the most pure and natural way possible. Also there are some crazy fashion projects we did together with some of the most respectable artists in Slovenia, where I wanted to show that my grandma can be also a fashion diva.
Where do you do most of your work?
I love creating photographs in different environments. I simply don’t like creating photographs in the same exact location over and over again. I think that I spend most of the time scouting the locations and I really focus a lot on that part, because I think that the location can make or break the shoot. I always try to choose the location that suits the subject and complements their character and charisma.
Do you have anything particular you like to focus on when you’re taking a photo?
I think that for me the most important part while taking a photo is probably the energy. There is no simple way to say it and there is no recipe for it, but there is something magical that can happen during the photoshoot.
What technology / software / camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best?
I think that nowadays photographers are thinking way too much about the technical aspect of the photo and what camera they are using, which lens is the sharpest and what kind of modifier they are using to bend the light. I like to focus more on the subject right in front of me, the technical aspect of the photograph is probably the least important for me when I’m taking a photograph. That’s why I never talk about the camera gear, software, technology.
What is the best thing you have experienced by being a photographer so far?
The best things are probably the moments that happen during the photoshoots or after/before it. I usually end up developing great friendships with a lot of people I photograph and that’s one of the best things that this photography career has given me.
How much has social media impacted your work? What is your approach to this? Do you think that your social media presence helps in gaining commissions?
I consider social media as a channel to broadcast our work on and to actually see the light of day. You have to use the advantages of social media nowadays because it is a great tool to be seen. I also know what are the disadvantages of using and being active on social media and I try not to share a bunch of my personal stuff.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your work?
As a photographer you really don’t have any knowledge of what people are saying about your work or you, so I don’t mainly focus on that. It’s always great to hear the compliments and great words about your work, but I think that the most amazing compliment you can receive as a creative person is that people, who you work with, say to you that they had an amazing day on the shoot or that they feel great in your company and I think that you’ve got to stay true to yourself and humble and never act as a “diva” on the set.
What would you like to see more of in the photography world?
More honesty and less copycats!
What’s next for you? Do you maybe have any upcoming project you would like to share with us?
After this exhibition, I’m gonna need some good sleep and some rest, but after that I have so many new amazing projects that are still in my head and need to be realised as soon as possible, but I never like to talk about projects until things are done and finished. I’m always open for new collaborations, so I’m really looking forward what these upcoming months are going to bring.
You are all kindly invited to visit the exhibition opening of Super Hilda by Urša Premik on the 26th of March at 6pm, Kresija Gallery, Stritarjeva 6, Ljubljana. The exhibition will be open until the 21st of May.
Urša, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects!