Maria Agustina is a 21-year-old photographer draws her photographic inspiration from the things that she's obsessed with: music, feminism, and human physical/spiritual conditions. Take a peek into her psychedelic vision and get to know more about her in this interview.
Hi, Agustina! What's keeping you busy lately? Any projects you're working on?
Hi! Lately what keeps me very busy (more than I would like) is my job. It's full time, so I don't have really much time to spend on do what I like. That really frustrates me. So I try to take my camera with me, everywhere, in order to make the most of my time and any opportunity that seems interesting or possible to capture. I also play bass in my free time and spend a lot of time listening to music and watching independent movies. I'm a big fan of Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Jean-Luc Godard, Gaspar Noé and Xavier Dolan. Most of my inspiration comes from what I hear/see every day.
At the end of last year, I began to develop a project idea that is still being formed. I wanted to start using and putting into practice my feminist ideals in my photos. Using more erotic nudes that can go beyond a physical body. So every time I can photograph a naked body, I try not to miss the opportunity. Even if it's only my boyfriend who offers haha!
In the city where I live, which is very small, there are many prejudices. Especially if it is the body of a woman. Maybe I find a person with whom I have a very good connection and who likes my work; but when I clarify that she has to feel comfortable with being naked, they start to hesitate and reject the offer. However, I try not to lose my hopes and I continue to move forward with the project.
Could you tell us how you got started in photography?
I started when I was 17. Basically, I spent a whole summer photographing anything I liked (in digital format). Until I began to feel great curiosity to continue experimenting and I wanted to try the analog format. I remember that at the time I was totally obsessed but I didn't have any cameras to try. I just got one at the end of that year and it was quite an adventure. I never studied photography or took any class about. So it was all self-taught. Obviously, I made a lot of mistakes and I screwed up a lot of film rolls.
Your photographs emit a psychedelic vintage vibe. Who or what inspires you to come up with such visuals?
I think mainly, above all, my biggest source of inspiration is music. The past year I wanted to experience something totally different from what I had already been doing. I was very influenced by the music. I was listening to the time and wanted to try to translate it into a psychedelic visual format. I really like to experiment and try different things. With the repetitions, I simply put the filter on the camera and I point. If I like what I see, I shoot. Plus, I thought it was very complementary to what I wanted to reflect and had in mind.
How would you call your photography style?
I think I can't tell you. I don't think art, in any aspect, should be classified or explained. I think everyone has their own way of seeing things from their own perspective and that's what makes it so interesting.
I just like to experiment, try different things all the time. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a particular style of photography. That terrifies me. I think it's the worst thing that can happen to an artist; be afraid and not encourage yourself to see things beyond of what they can become. It's necessary to change and evolve. Both as an artist and as a human being.
What is your go-to camera and film?
I work with the only camera I have. A Nikon FE. I bought it in 2013 and despite being a camera that was already used, I adapted pretty well and is one of my favorites. It seems like a simple camera but it really surprises you with the possibilities that it offers. Besides, I like that the handling is almost completely manual.
I don't have a favorite film. Mostly I always use Kodak Colorplus 200 or Kodak Ultramax 400, because they are the cheapest and most accessible in my city. I recently experimented with Lomochrome Purple for the first time and was fascinated. Clearly, it will not be my last. Sometimes I also like to buy chemically intervened film, or sometimes I do it myself.
What's the most important thing that you learned in photography?
I think it's kind of hard to answer. Since I started taking photos, I grew up and learned many things. Being self-taught, you are always exposed to mistakes and the possibility of ruining something. And I think that's very important. Don't be afraid of failure, nor fear of being able to make mistakes. It seems to me that it is an essential part and that we should all be able to pass through it.
I never studied photography or have a professional background in my work. It is all a result of experiencing and proving in an empirical and self-taught way. So, my biggest advice is to experiment and escape from the predetermined and simplistic forms of application that homogenize and limit the ability to express yourself and see things beyond of what they are. It's also important to always put your own essence; that really shows in a photo, when an artist has his/her own foundations and stick to them. And most importantly, be persevering. The results will eventually come.