I'm often asked
why I do art,
what do I want to say
with my art photography,
and what is the use of it?
Once in a while I start to worry
how to actually measure
the impact from the art
like we do with medicine or technology,
where we can see the results
and calculate it.
Then I would finally be able
to explain to my mother my art
with real numbers.
But my art is so far from metrics,
and moreover, my photography
is widely exposing the theme of escapism.
My theory is that all of us
struggle sometimes to escape
in order to analyze our reality,
appreciate it or change.
I don't work with daily life as it is,
and I'm not a documentary photographer
in the common sense.
But I am a documentary photographer
in a different sense.
I document dreams.
I work with daily life as it could be,
as I imagine it.
I am a daydreamer, but at the same time
I love things that are authentic
and deal with our innermost nature,
which I would never want to escape from.
I adore complicated personalities,
and real life inspires me
to create my images.
Real life inspires our escape,
and sometimes that escape is very needed.
I believe heroes are not created easily,
and I choose to work with individuals
who are survivors
and facing everyday routines
that are not always full of color,
people who are on their way
to a better life,
fighting against life circumstances.
Why do I choose people
like that for my models?
Because I've been in that position myself,
when I had to learn
how to survive in real life.
I was a student living abroad in London.
I was working at two places
at the same time as a waitress.
Obviously that wasn't my dream job,
but I decided to play a game
where I imagined
that I am taking a role in a film,
and in the film I am a waitress,
and I need to act great.
I used to dye my hair
and brows to gingerette,
I changed my hair to curly perm,
I lost weight
and made myself believe
I am just a character acting in a film.
That isn't forever,
that is all just temporary.
That helped me a lot.
It motivated me to change my life
and take a hard time as a game.
Now, as an artist,
I am creating different
lives for my models
in order to give them the experience
of being someone else in reality.
Through the photographic process,
all of my models
become like silent movie actors.
They are captured at the moment
when they believe
in being someone else entirely.
In order to create
a new reality in its entirety,
I physically create
every single thing in my work,
sometimes from outfits to the stage.
Because I work with analogues,
and I don't make any digital
manipulations to my photographs,
I need everything
to take place in reality,
in spite of the fact that nowadays,
digitally, you can create
pretty much everything.
I don't like this path.
Even if that reaches perfection,
I see the beauty
in authenticity of making,
and that's impossible without flaws.
A digitally manipulated photograph
is not true for me.
It doesn't capture anything real.
It's not experienced, not motivating.
It's like, instead of going traveling,
you look at someone else's
What I find so exciting
is the ability to make people's dreams
of being someone else a reality.
That's like a drug
which pushes me to keep working,
even without metrics.
One of my models
had always dreamed
of being seen as a warrior,
but she wasn't able to do sports
because of her health problems.
Half a year ago, she passed away
from heart disease at the age of 22.
But two days before her death,
the images we spent months
working on together
of her as a warrior
she dreamed of becoming
were published at a large exhibition
in Milan by Vogue Magazine.
All her life was about overcoming.
Before she died, she had known
that thousands of people
saw her image from the land of escapism
and believed in her
as a brave and fearless warrior.
For my work, I invite people
to play a game
like we all used to as children
when we pretend to be someone else
and that process made us really happy.
To my mind it is important for grown-ups.
We need these transformations
to enact this in the name of art.
It gives us the very real feeling
of being important and powerful
in order to influence our reality.
I know this from
my own personal experience.
I have had so many versions of myself
through my self-portraits
that I've been many different characters.
Being someone else in the land of escapism
doesn't exactly give us numbers
that we can gauge,
but it's like a real lost form of magic
which exists but can't be measured.
There is a unique power in art
to transform and lift our limits.
Art creates what I call a conjured life,
which helps our existence
and pushes, motivates
and inspires us to dwell
and express ourselves
without metrics or calculations.