We first introduced to the Lomography community the talented Džesika Devic a little over a month ago. Her vintage-y wedding and engagement photos were simply so stunning that we just had to talk to her! We’ve finally gotten in touch with her through an e-mail interview just recently, and here she opens up about herself and everything vintage photography.
Hello, Džesika! We already know you as “Toronto’s only authentic vintage wedding photographer,” now please tell us a little bit more about yourself.
I am 25, I love sleeping and I’m in my head most of the time.
How and when did you first dabble with photography? Your career as a wedding and engagements photographer?
I stumbled upon it. I received a small point and shoot camera from a friend to take photos of these cartoons I was drawing. I wanted to experiment with some sort of animation/stop motion. Once I got the camera, though, I abandoned that project and got carried away with taking pictures.
Shortly after, a family friend gave me my first film camera: the Canon AE-1. It was refreshing to shoot film after working with digital. I found the results that I got were closer to what I saw with my own eye and had such a great nostalgic feel to them.
Aside from photographing weddings and engagements, what other subjects do you like taking photos of?
I love taking portraits. I find people’s faces so interesting to photograph. I have been working on street photography – as much as that scares me (I had an old man attempt to attack me with his cane). I also love taking photos of nature.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t know exactly. I am a little bit all over the place. I’d just say documentary.
We see that you’re a member of our community (@devic)! Please tell us about your experience with taking photos using our Lomography cameras, if any.
Holga was my first. I love its color flashes and how easy it is to take double exposures with it. I got a La Sardina because I wanted to have a small camera with me at all times, for all those times I kick myself for not having a camera. It’s small and quiet so I find it really awesome for street photography. Strangers don’t notice you.
The Sprocket Rocket is super fun. We recently traveled to Banff with it, and it was so great to get landscape shots of the mountains. I also love using it for weddings and doing big family shots, or emphasizing a vast landscape surrounding the couple.
You’ve listed your “secret weapons” aka your arsenal on your website, do you have a favorite/s among them? If yes, why?
I love my Canon AE-1 because the results are the closest thing to real life. I also love my Yashica-A. It feels so cinematic to me. Also my La Sardina. The reactions I get when I pull that thing out are the best. I love using the Lomo Color 100 ISO film with it. Perfect combination!
In line with this, we found it endearing that you’ve included your husband Eddie in your list of “secret weapons.” How did the two of you meet? Were both of you photographers, or was it you that got him into photography as well?
We met each other in passing through mutual friends around nine or so years ago. We lost touch for a few years. Then five years ago I was walking down the street and heard someone yell my name. I turned around and it was him. We started hanging out and taking pictures together.
He was already beginning to get interested in photography when we started hanging out. He had inherited his opa’s camera, The Wirgin. He definitely pursued it more since we started hanging out.
Aside from taking photos the analogue way, we know that you also take photos with your DSLR. When do you shoot film and when do you shoot digital?
Weddings are really fast-paced, and I find that in order to keep up and not miss any moments, I will shoot digital. Then when I have a moment to put together and properly compose people and lighting, I will switch to film. I also love using film for portraits. I will pull aside guests from a wedding and take their photo.
What inspires you? Also, who are the photographers and/or artists that you look up to?
Traveling, my experiences, light, music, nature, other peoples work, fashion editorials, strangers, and Daria Werbowy.
I fortunately have a lot of friends who are very talented so I don’t have to look so far to be inspired. Other photographers whom I love are Elliot Erwitt, Vivian Maier, and Saul Leiter, as well as artists Dali and writer Hemingway.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve done so far? Any interesting and memorable story? Please tell us about it!
I’ve really enjoyed our travels to Paris. I’ve always dreamed of putting together a photo book that showcases my photos from a trip that I took. So after Paris, that is just what I did. I shot only in film while there because when I think of Paris, I think of cinematic, film noir, romantic, etc. Film emphasizes that.
While I look through a book or while I am editing photographs, I love to completely zone out and not be in touch with my surroundings so I’ll listen to a really good album. I wanted that experience when people purchased my book. So my husband recorded a bunch of songs that people can listen to while looking through my book. We recreated a little world with site and sound, even if it is just for a short while.
This project was fun and even more so because it took patience and thought, and it was a collaboration between me and my husband, Eddie.
Your dream project?
An editorial for Vogue Italia, or being sent to the middle of nowhere to learn about a culture and environment and taking pictures of it. Then holding a gallery exhibit.
Aside from photography, is there anything else that you do?
I love traveling. I also collect rocks.
What has been keeping you busy these days? Any ongoing/upcoming projects that you’d like to share with us? Exhibitions you’d like to promote?
I have lots of projects that I start and never finish. Lots of loose ends. I sometimes feel like I physically can’t keep up with my brain. I am hoping to someday soon have an exhibition of my Paris photographs. Until then, you can get a copy of my Paris book here.
Any advice that you could give to aspiring photographers?
Take any opportunity that comes up to share your work, or an opportunity for a photo job. You never know where one thing can lead to.
Don’t be scared to show your work, as scary as it can be.
I had a part-time job for the longest time while I was doing photography. But I was happy because I was at least doing photography. Don’t stress if you aren’t doing it full-time. It is considered a success if you are doing what you want to do, no matter what it is. People forget to do what they love.
Oh, and don’t listen to people who tell you can’t do it.
Any last words?
Pictures are fun!
Related article: Vintage Wedding and Engagement Photography by Džesika Devic