An Interview with Fashion Photographer Spela Kasal at Brasserie Barbès, Paris
The fine art and fashion photographer Spela Kasal and I met this summer in Paris on the lawns of the British Embassy, where we flicked through art magazines, rather than partake in the tennis match. An award-winning photographer, she's worked for Vogue, Interview Magazine, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton amongst others. Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Spela modelled between Paris and New York, where she gained insight into the inner workings of the fashion industry. A committed artist, she then returned to the Graphic Design Department of the University for Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana. This led to a photography degree in Paris and since then she has been working freelance across advertising, fashion and art photography, appearing in a diverse array of publications. As you will see from the photographs below, her personal style is almost hypnotic in its ability to captivate. Across her oeuvre, there are nudes, landscapes and the portraits of enigmatic young women that I find utterly beguiling. Her first book The Feeling I Get When I'm With You has just been released and captures the free spirit of the adventurer behind the camera.
Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion?
It happened when I started my studies at Academy for Fine art and design in Ljubljana. I clearly remembered it was the first introduction class to photography. Something happened there. And later I just followed this.
What piece of your work would you like to be remembered for?
Not sure there is about one thing or image in particular I would like to be remembered for. It’s more for my language. Intimate photography. It all comes from there for me.
If you could be born in another period of history, when would it be?
Maybe the time of Bauhaus? Before the war same period as Gertrude Stein was hosting her soirees in Paris with Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, Man Ray that must have been interesting to hang out with all these interesting people! The time of Andy Warhol’s Factory must be interesting too!
How would you define beauty in 140 characters or less?
Moment of fragility, imperfection, beautiful light, a moment which passes by.
Do you have a favourite book, film or painting, which inspires you?
I’m obsessed with films and art in general. It is a fuel for my creativity. Also I got lots of inspiration from the people I meet. I love Antonioni’s films. Visconti, from writers I like Paul Bowles, John Fowles, Passolini there are many!
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
Buying films, developing it and scan it to make super expensive perfect prints. Maybe shoes, too?
Do you believe that true creative expression can exist in the digital world?
Of course, it’s just a different approach as in analogue!
What do you wish every child were taught?
Read and write.
Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?
There were moments of course.
What is your favourite museum or art gallery and why?
There are many it depends what they are showing. In Paris I love Jeu de Paume, Grand Palais, Musee Rodin…
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Never thought of it. I’m collaborating with many people already- it’s interesting how people’s paths cross. If there is a mutual appreciation together you can achieve nice things. Sometimes unexpected too.
What is your daily routine when working?
It’s not so much about routine with my work. I’m always working with different people, also working on different projects. But when I’m on a fashion shoot I get to studio,we agree on hair and make up with the team, with my assistants set the studio, or check the location where we are going to shoot, we discuss it with stylist and start working. Play good music on set. Have fun. And work hard.
What has been your most inspiring travel experience?
I crossed the USA by car. That trip really marked me.
What advice would you give to a young person following in your footsteps?
Make sure you have the talent. Always believe in your work. And don’t give up.
Why do you love what you do?
I love taking pictures. It’s the time when I forget about my self and I start to see.
Written by Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, founder of Arteviste.com