An emerging young talent from Bratislava, Natalia Evelyn Bencicova (b. 1992) is a promising visual creative whose work explores mixed media with photography. Currently studying in Vienna, she works mostly with digital photography, actively pursuing a point where the commercial and the artistic meet. We spoke with Evelyn about her life, art and philosophy.
What’s your story?
In very few words: I want to communicate the things that I see through the medium of photography. With each project I’m trying to bring something new and innovative at least for me, to educate myself and go deeper into the topics which I consider interesting. My life is about getting inspired and my work about delivering this inspiration further.
What do you care about the most when taking photographs?
Most of my work happens before the photoshoot. A journey from the original idea to the final picture is usually very long and complicated in staged photography, which is what I do. It includes concept development, research, production, creative direction, the scouting of faces and locations, styling, hair and make-up plus whole process of organization and communication. Everything is important. Even if I try to cover a large part of this myself, there are a lot of amazing people who always help and support me, first and foremost my close friend Adam Csoka Keller, as well as many others, without whom most of my projects would not have been possible. Normally we work without any budget in very improvised conditions. I believe that most of creativity is born out of discomfort and lack of resources, when you are forced to invent new solutions. Anyway, I would never exchange the exciting and free atmosphere of our shoots for anything else!
Tell us about the Ecce Homo series.
The Ecce Homo project is about humanity and mankind’s behavior in this world. I illustrate archetypal situations by positioning human bodies in cold, unspecified interiors. I was trying to avoid any kind of classification of these places and people. It can be anyone and everyone, no matter their age, sex or social class – a sense of generality also supported by their nudity. It should have a natural and human, not erotic character.
How would you describe the current photography landscape in Slovakia?
There is a lot of talented, creative people but not many opportunities to showcase their talent properly. I’m trying to get inspiration from our own culture, our real history and stories. Right now, that’s what’s much more interesting to me than blindly following rules and trends of the fashion world, which I don’t even understand.
Most of the time, in Slovakia, photography and photographers are split into two very different groups: commercial and artistic. My goal, however, is to connect these two worlds and bring them closer in my work. I want to create pictures with a strong underlying concept as well as aesthetics, something striking and meaningful at the same time.
What would you say is your favorite book?
I read more for information than for pleasure but one of my all-time favorites is A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Most of the time my eyes are employed by working on pictures so instead of reading I’m listening to spoken word, usually documentaries in English or German. That, I find, is a good combination of learning and relaxation.
Is there a city, country or place that inspires you every time you’re there?
I visit Berlin so often that a lot of my friends actually think that I moved there! Even if I travel for over six hours each day from Bratislava (where I live) and Vienna (where I study fine art and photography), and travel a lot because of the jobs I take on. Berlin has its own magic, with all of its messiness and crazy, spontaneous energy. I can breathe more deeply and forget the world for a while. There I can allow myself to purely enjoy the moment as a well-earned reward.
What’s the single most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You can be whoever you want to be, just never forget who you really are. I gave it to myself and a few close people around me.
All images © Natalie Evelyn Bencicova