Magdalena Lutek is a young photographer and graphic designer based in Kraków, Poland who works under the pseudonym Nishe. Her photographs are sensual and dreamy, with a particular focus on nature, gestures and emotions. She recently worked on two video projects with polish videomaker Człowiek Kamera. Hit “read more” and enter Nishe’s world!
Could you please tell us more about your background and career? When did you start taking photos?
I started taking photos when I was 15, I found my father’s old camera in the attic and asked him to teach me how to use it. Back then I mostly photographed nature around me, especially in the winter as everything died down. I only used black and white film. In 2009 I began experimenting with self-portraits, my face was always obscured in the photographs I took and it became my obsession to portray a person, their soul, emotions, anxiety, loneliness without showing their face. In December 2011 I began working with models. The summer and autumn of 2012 has been the most prolific time for me, I’m living and breathing photography.
How do you relate to the narrative and fictional aspects of photography?
Looking back at my photographs from years before, they always happened due to strong desire to create, to capture the world and feelings the way I saw them. It always happened when I needed it to happen, it was spontaneous and instantaneous. When I work with models now that moment of creation has to be set before, the photography becomes more staged. There must be a reason for the photographs to exist, artist must create a fantasy world and the model has to inhabit that world. That being said, I like to leave as much as possible unplanned and let myself discover things as they happen in front of me when I’m photographing. I find that the most beautiful photographs happen in the moments in between “poses”, in those moments of sudden, unscripted feelings the person you’re photographing experiences.
Where do you get inspiration from? Who are your favorite photographers?
Nature and the season’s change inspire me infinitely, the dying nature in the Winter, emotional landscapes, light. Silence, tension, anxiety, longing. Gestures. Sudden moments of ephemeral beauty. Childhood dreams. Sally Mann, for the series of photographs “Immediate Family” and the technique she uses most often – wet plate collodion. The fantasy worlds Paolo Roversi creates with large format on instant film. I also love very much the unstoppable childhood imagination of Tim Walker.
Looking at you pictures it seems like they’re all obtained using analog techniques, is that true? Why?
It’s not true, I often work with digital cameras. With digital photos I always alter the colours and tonality to make them look softer and less machine-made. However, if I had to choose only one medium of photography I’d probably say instant film for its beautiful colours and softness.
When approaching a commissioned shoot, what are your sources? How do you prepare?
The only commissioned shoots I’ve done were those for magazines and I had complete creative freedom to do what I wanted. I’ve never worked with a stylist or make-up artist, I style all of my shoots myself and I prefer minimal make-up or no make-up at all. With my style of photography the only preparation I need to make is scouting a place with natural light, choosing the clothes and thinking about the story I want to tell. I always want my photographs to be set in an indefinite past and the person I’m photographing to look like a character from childhood books.
Could you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Człowiek Kamera?
Człowiek Kamera is a talented, wonderful and infectiously invetive artist, he is fearless and wants to push the boundaries of what’s possible. He agreed to help me with my first video project, it was an immense amount of work on his side and he let me learn slowly the most basic things about cinematography. The planning, concept development, finally the process of creating moving images for which I am forever grateful. I hope we will work together again. So far we’ve worked on two projects and both are being edited by him right now.
What is the most common trouble in you job? How do you cope with it?
Lack of time to do everything that I want to do. The only way to cope with it is to either say no to some projects or to be exhausted most of the time. I try to keep balance between the two.
What are your favorite places in your city that you’d recommend to visit?
Botanical garden, little coffee shops. I like walking around the streets of the heart of the city on summer evenings. If you ever plan to visit Kraków go to as many concerts and exhibitions as you can – especially Unsound and Sacrum Profanum Festivals.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured / interviewed here?
Warpaint, the whole band.
File under: Interview