FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY INSIGHTS: JARKA SNAJBERKOVA
Berlin-based fashion photographer Jarka Snajberkova has been working in the field of fashion photography for the last six years, collaborating with fashion clients internationally. Having gained degrees in Applied and Still Photography, she always approaches her work with an obvious artistic flair. A frequent collaborator of independent fashion magazines, Snajberk has been continuously shooting Paris Fashion Week shows for Schön! Magazine. Read on as she elaborates on her working process and teamwork efforts, attracting new clients, and trends in photography and social media.
Did you choose the fashion industry or did the industry choose you?
Probably both. I’ve always believed it was a two-way process. But the truth is that in 2010, I decided that fashion photography was going to be the field I was going to pursue professionally.
How do you go about creating a story? Do you have the concept in mind prior to the shoot or you decide once you see the location and resources?
The concept is to take good pictures and enjoy the process. For me, even if there is one in my mind, I am sure the result will be different. In my mind, there is no difference between a dream and reality, which makes everything much simple and easier. My desk and notebooks are full of ideas written on little papers. But, at some point, I stop making notes because ideas should be used naturally at the time of appearance. Good ideas tend to appear again later perhaps in another form, if you let them come and go.
I like complicated and spontaneous things. Creation, including post-production, is an open process, because everything is constantly changing – the models, the location, the clothes, the thoughts, the vibes, even the pictures afterwards, so basically it is about reacting on particular moments. It is great to have a good concept and built it on, like a puzzle, but you need to be open to change and possibilities, if the concept itself needs to be changed. Noble things are full of mysteries.
You collaborate with established fashion magazines. Are you in a point at your career where clients come to you?
I have been collaborating with Schön! Magazine during Pret-a-Porter and Haute Couture fashion weeks in Paris. Basically, yes, clients come to me, even if they are not always from the fashion industry. It’s the perfect compliment to my work. If there is a project I personally like, I always find a way to reach out and find new clients.
To what extend do you edit your images, and which aspect of an image do you most usually edit?
I believe, compared to analog, digital images are not ready the moment you shoot them with the camera. I need more time for editing and somehow accepting the images; it can take more time, like making a cake with different layers. I edit their tonality, contrast, colors, skin, fabric and tiny discrepancies, as if I was painting. But the longer I work in fashion photography, the less I retouch.
How did you develop the skills necessary to become a photographer? Do you think that academic studies and professional experience are enough?
Getting education was important, and of course everything that has happened up to now is great and has helped me grow. I develop my skills by everything I do; by constantly observing, switching between branches, studying languages, listening to people, thinking about photography and shooting. The skills that need to be learned right now come through this process. Even if I stop shooting, I always learn something about myself, which is beneficial for me as a photographer.
Do you have an assistant or a dedicated team you always work with? Do you believe teamwork is important within a shoot or is it all one-man’s work?
I used to work with a smaller team which was pretty close to me in Prague. Now it is more dynamic. And I wish I had an assistant; it would be beautiful!
Teamwork is nice – even if it is only me and a model. At the moment, I am in a very interactive mood, and I let others do their work and I love it! It may not sound like teamwork, but when everyone feels good at their position, then joint effort always works. Of course, I am the one at helm, and hopefully can feel it when I am tuned to people I work with or going against someone’s nature – and therefore against the whole project. So, it was basically something like a one-man show until the moment I discovered teamwork.
With street photography becoming a huge trend the last few years, would you ever attempt it?
I have tried it, even when it was not known as street-style photography. In 2005, I was shooting people in public transport in Prague with a slight documentary and ironic accent; it was called “Metro Fashion.” I also remember taking selfies with my analog camera and mapping my wardrobe. There was a certain fascination with fine, everyday fashion behind that. I think street-style photography is too overused nowadays.
Are social media important to you to promote your work? Are you stressing to grow your following to spread the word about your projects?
Sometimes they are. I really like exploring different ways of presentation, and of course I get in touch with designers or other interesting people, so we do not need to exchange contacts. Internet, social media, websites etc. are such interesting mediums, and allow photographs to be viewed in a different way. But I do not stress to grow my following.
What are you currently working on?
We’ll see what the future brings!
Images © Jarka Snajberk