Interviews / Stories
Interview: Photographer Santa Kelcey (Letland)
Tell us something about yourself
My name is Santa and I’m from Latvia. I used to work as project manager in oil transportation companies but now I’m photgrapher and my pictures have been displayed in several exhibitions and published in two photobooks.
How and when did you get into photography?
I have always liked to take pictures, but my first real passion with photography started after one photo plein air five years ago. One of my friends has signed up for this plein air, but she could not attend it, so I took her place and so my photograph journey started! I’ve tried myself in several areas of photography – landscapes, reportage, children, weddings, but the genres I like the most are portraits and fashion photography.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is deep, intimate communication with people. You need to access them, so they open up to you and often need to encourage them. I like the fashion photography the most and it’s my chance to work with fashion industry, which I like very much and which has been one of my dreams.
Please briefly describe your photography style
I like the most portraits and fashion photography. For me it’s very significant that pictures show genuine emotions, it is the most important thing.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I take inspiration from famous photographers and their works – such as Arnold Newman, Steven Meisel, William Lords, Richard Avedon, Aiga Redmane, Helmut Newton, Sebastian Kim, Annie Leibovitz. Often inspiration and creativity starts from attending photo courses and seminars. Working for the project, I search for ideas, and can take inspiration from movies, randomly encountered people, from travel or searching the web. Sometimes when you meet the model, which you have to photograph, she herself becomes a source of inspiration and is very easy to work with. Sometimes as an inspiration to me serves the place or the environment where the photo session takes place, especially if it has historical or artistic value.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Sometimes I specifically know what I want, but if for some reason it fails, it results in feeling of frustration. So often I like to work spontaneously and I try to always be ready to unexpected situations.
Studio, on location or both?
I definitely like better to work on the spot. When working on the spot you have a lot of opportunities to complete picture with the different elements and more ways to construct compositions. But I also like to work in the studio.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
Photography is my profession.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
It was only recently, but this particular photoshoot has been one of the most challenging. The day started at 5 am in the morning, because I had to get to remote Dikļi palace 250 km away. Behind the wheel I was myself, and I did not have an assistant, all photo equipment and requisites I had to carry myself and in addition I was working with a very old studio light. I had planned many different shots, but when I started to work, I realized that none of the things I planned looks the way I wanted. It created a huge stress, but I could not show it, to not distract the model. At this photo shoot was present also designer, whose works I photographed and the atmosphere was very tense. We started to work 1pm and ended 3am at night, when I got in the car to go back home. The whole next day I slept and did not want to contact with designers or model for a week. At first it seemed that I will just delete these pictures, but it took a week and of course I started the picture editing. Some pictures from this photo shoot I have included in my portfolio. Thanks to model for the reliability and she has agreed to participate in other photo sessions with me after this one.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
It depends in what area they want to work. If it is a fashion photography, it is important to create your own team with stylist and makeup artist. Efforts should be made to work with professional models, because for beginners is more difficult to work with non-professional people, it is difficult to open these people and show their emotions in the picture. It is necessary to watch a lot of other photographers' works on the Internet. You must have good equipment and I recommend not to spare money for good lenses. You need to be sure of your work, to believe in yourself and set goals. It says that in the new year you need to write your goals and intentions on a red paper in order to fulfill them and become true. That’s what I wish for you!
What do you think of our new magazine?
Wonderful that there is a magazine where the models, photographers and stylists have the opportunity to learn about each other. Keep up the good work! Thank you for the attention.