22-year-old Maria Kazvan studies Journalism, though this isn’t her passion. She loves taking people’s portraits and strives to fully capture expressions on her subject’s faces so as to expose their underlying emotions. Brimming with ideas and passion, we expect her photographic desires, explained in the interview, will soon come to fruition!
What’s your camera and film of choice and why?
I am using Minolta XD-11 + Minolta 49mm f/1.7 lens now, but year ago I had a Zenit 11 and Helios-44. It was a nice camera, I really liked it, but now it’s broken. I cried when it happened, it was cheap, but I knew how to use it, knew every little crappy thing, every mistake, so it was kind-of an emotional devotion. Now I have a Minolta, as I said, and it’s a nice Japanese-make. That’s the only camera I have as I don’t like to use many cameras, because you have to think every time you change the equipment and I like to think about picture, not about the buttons. And, usually I use Fujifilm Superia. It gives me nice, juicy colors.
Do written works such as favourite books inspire your photographs? Who are some of your favourite artists? And, tell us about your journey with writing and how you arrived at photography.
Everything inspires me, books too. I am very slow reader though. Moby Dick takes me more that 2 months, and I still don’t think I’ve understand it completely. The last book I’ve read was Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain – really powerful thing! You see, there are many stories about life in 60s, 70s, in that book, and all those small things accumulate in the head. You see all the pictures while you’re reading. Someone said once, that head is the best cinema. I think every photographer would like to have camera inside his or her head, or at least learn how to take same photos you see in your head, with all that machines. As for poetry, I think it’s the same thing. I was taking pictures in the head, and wrote them down on paper. It’s just too hard, to be a writer, I mean all the public readings, and people that look at you, and the fact you hear your own voice, it’s real stressful. Plus, it doesn’t make me really happy. As for artists…you mean painters? I love Egon Schiele, Albert Lynch, James Tissot. And my favourite writer is J.D. Salinger.
As a poet (from what I’ve read, ‘not practicing’) could you pick a photo of yours that you’d be able to translate, almost instantly, into a poem? In other words, which is a photo you hold near, and dear, to your heart?
Maybe this one, it is enough abstract to see some story in it. I’m not sure.
What’s your favourite object or prop to photograph? Also, are there certain ‘themes’ you explore more than others?
I’m not sure about this one too. I’ve been shooting posed people for more than three years now and I’m tired of this. I want to try something new, alive, shoot people on the streets, in buses, buildings, shoot places and light. Also I want to show more sexuality in my works, I always think I’m not ready to these things but now I feel like it’s right time. I want to make something true, but not ugly. I think internet is filled with trashy photos. I’m still searching, that’s all what I can say…the only stable things is that I love taking photos.
What’s a medium of expression that you’ve not yet explored that you’d like to?
I want to buy a 28 mm lens, I’ve never used wide angle lenses.
How many takes does it get to capture the truth, to accurately convey your subject’s emotion? We know you’re critical of the images you select to display publicly. What advice can you give budding photographers on how to go about capturing honest images?
You really think I do? I still think my photos are plastic. But anyway, I can tell, that I am turning my brain off, while taking photos. I’m not sure if this is the right advice, but that is what I am doing.
Where’s one place you’d love to photograph in but haven’t yet owing to time and distance?
I have two dreams, one is to travel around America and the second is to find some vagabond circus and travel with them, no matter where to, and shoot their life.
You study Journalism – what’s your focus and do you use techniques and information learned from your studies in your photographs?
No, I don’t use any information. We had a really, really small photography classes at university but it’s nothing. We only once shot in an improvising studio, that’s all. And I can say, everything that a Ukrainian learning program can do is to compel people to hate things that they liked before they started studying. All their studying programs are really archaic and scattered.
Do you believe we can ‘grow’ as photographers, and writers? What does this entail – fewer errors? Isn’t part of the process making mistakes and finding a hidden gem among the chaos?
Chaos and order is the god, all together, like life and death. Everything is the one. And if some human can find the way to this fountain, this would be a great-big human that could say something important to others. Maybe the way of “mistakes” and “changes” is the right way, is the evolution. I’m not sure about this, I’m not that good.
What are your thoughts on and relationship with analogue photography? And what can we expect, in terms of projects or experiments, from you in the near future?
As i said before, I want to show human sexuality, in portraits, plus I want to take more pictures on the street, showing street life, showing more landscapes.