INTERVIEW: ANDREA KOPOROVA - A SENSE OF SPACE AND LONELINESS
A SENSE OF SPACE AND LONELINESS
Self-taught Slovakian photographer Andrea Koporova only started making images in 2011, Yet she quickly caught the eye of curators and editors. At first dreamy and rather romantic, her work has gradually become increasingly urban and surreal, mainly through the use of bright colors and modern settings. Her main themes have remained the same: isolation, alienation.
Andrea, where are you from in Slovakia and where do you live today?
I was born in Slovakia in a small town called Lucenec in the middle of the country. Today, I live partly in Austria and partly in Slovakia.
When and how did you first start taking photographs?
My first experience with photography stretches back to the year 2011. It started totally randomly with a borrowed camera. And it ended in this strong dependency. You could also say it was simply love at first sight for photography and me.
When and how did you realize you wanted to make it a career?
I never wanted to make it a career. I only wanted to do something creative and something I love. I found myself in photography.
Can you remember one of the earliest photographs you ever took and that really made an impression on you?
Yes, that was the portrait of a woman in a very dreamy style. With this image I won the first prize in beauty advertising at the annual Neutral Density Awards (ND Awards).
You’re a self-taught artist. That always sounds a bit abstract. What did you do exactly to be called “self-taught”?
As a self-taught photographer, I try to always do something new. I like to experiment. As a self-taught photographer, I must do a lot of experiments. I must experiment with the settings, makeup, styling etc. I have no team. I work by myself on all my projects, which is not always easy, but I love it. I don’t want to stay in the same place for too long. Also, I don’t have one style of photography. In my last series of works, for example, you can see a lot of pictures in a very in very minimalist, abstract style, but also very realistic images.
Once you made the decision to try becoming a professional photographer what was your first real breakthrough?
The first real breakthrough was when I saw art galleries and prestigious magazines become really interested in my work.
Comparing your earlier work with that of today, it seems to have become more surreal through your use of color and choice of settings. You agree?
When I compare my early work with my current work, I see a lot of differences. My early work was more romantic, dreamy combined with a dark mood. My current work is characterized by radiant colors, a minimalist style and simple compositions. The saturated colors bring together portraiture and minimalism.
In my work, I seek to reveal the colors of a particular place. In my series Ghost Town, for example, the spaces are gray and abandoned. Nevertheless, the photos are filled with color. Sometimes I jump from one extreme to the other extreme, for example, in my last series Invisible, in which I used a fine white or in which there is hardly any color, only the caps and costumes worn by the model.
But not all my current work is surreal. The series Human Segments, for example, is hyper-real. In this series I put a lot of emphasis on the details, on the structure of skin and the light.
One of the main themes, however, seems to remain the same. Despite its obvious beauty, your work breathes a sense of loneliness, isolation and alienation even. Is that a reflection of your inner being or more an observation of the general state of mankind?
Exactly, it is more an observation of the general state of mankind. I am a very positive, happy and crazy person, although of course there are times when I feel sad.
What is so fascinating about swimming pools and sport parks?
Pools and sports parks fascinate me because they are places where I can show my creative universe. I’m attracted by their coloring and architecture. You can compare, for example, the pool series Invisible, The Swimmer and Underwater. The images are always different, because I use different settings for each shooting. I like the structure of the water and the pool floor with a single female figure positioned at the center of the composition. The water and the model in the movement make it look more abstract. I love water.
React briefly on the following words:
Vienna: Wiener schnitzel
Oneness: Of man and nature
How important is postproduction for you? Would you say most of the image is made in the digital dark room? Or is that for finishing touches only?
The most important thing for me is the setting for a photo shoot. Photoshop helps me give my images a little bit of my personality. I do not use too much Photoshop. One image is done in max. five to ten minutes. I mainly play with color. That's all.
What is the last art or photography exhibition that really blew you away?
The young talented painter Leon Löwentraut. I really love his abstract style and his color range. I also really like the photographer Stefanie Schneider. I love her softness in the use of colors and light.
What may we expect of Andrea Koporova in 2017?
I have many plans and ideas. But, for now, I don't want to reveal anything ...
INTERVIEWED BY PATRICIA SPROUSE