Digitalab Featured Photographer: Aneta Mak
At Digitalab, we know that you can’t underestimate the power of a truly exceptional image. The beauty of photography as an art form is in its diversity – with so many wonderful genres and so many utterly unique photographers out there, photography means many different things to many different people. That’s why we asked contemporary fine art photographer Aneta Mak for one of her images and asked her a couple of questions to find out exactly how she fell in love with photography and what she’d say to any aspiring photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.
Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.
This was from a wedding in Bergerac of a bride that was one of the most elegant women I have ever met. She carried herself like a swan and I was absolutely mesmerised by her for the entire day. This particular image was taken on my Contax 645, which is what I use 90% of the time, on super grainy BW film stock – Ilford Delta 3200. I love using colour a lot, but there is something about the softness and the heavy grain of this film – every time I use it (in the right conditions) it always feels magical. I’m not a huge lover of BW contrast, so this film stock is perfect. It’s not ideal for badly lit / no flash situations, so I only tend to use it on a handful of jobs per year.
Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?
A little bit of everything, but I keep getting drawn to Rodney Smith for my wedding work – I love his playfulness and a bit of abstract in his images.
For non-wedding inspiration, I am drawn to the darkness of war photographers – Tim Hetherington’s work is so beautiful, despite the subject of his photography. Every time I see his images, it makes of think of seeing something with the sound off – incredible, dark things are unfolding in front of you, yet you are standing there frozen in time, watching it unfold, in silence, in slow motion. I can’t quite describe it, it gives me goosebumps. I also love the fact he used film. And so recently.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Experiment. Lots. Different types of equipment, styles, etc. The more you shoot, the more you will discover your own voice. It takes time. And try doing it on film. It’s expensive, so it makes you think before each and every frame. That discipline is so important, especially in the world of digital when everything is immediately available and throwaway. For example, you are on holiday and you shoot a scene on your film camera – you wait for a couple of weeks for the scan to come back. You see that you messed up – you missed the moment, or the composition is not ideal, or the exposure is totally off. Well, you can’t go and recreate it again, not unless you go back to the same location. That pain or disappointment of knowing you have missed something great because your skill needs tuning – that, in my opinion, is what will make you want to prepare and improve before you shoot something again. And over time, you get better.