Life On Film: An Interview with Iva Cukic

It would be easy to mistake Iva Cukic's photography for film-stills.  Between posed subject portraiture that contains a strange, seductive quality and landscapes that sometimes stretch on verdantly into snowcapped mountains and meadows populated by flocks of sheep, you'll realize that Cukic's photography is actually a film about her life.   Cukic, who is based in Belgrade, Serbia, is also an architect and designer, and fell into photography almost serendipitously. Pas Un Autre caught up with Cukic to ask her a few questions about her photography and inspirations. 

PAS UN AUTRE: How has Belgrade inspired your work?

IVA CUKIC: Belgrade is special city. It has some unique energy. I love its cityscape, people I meet or already know, things I do, etc. But it’s not only Belgrade that inspires me. It can be any ambient or any person anywhere.

AUTRE: How would you describe the images you take?

CUKIC: Ordinary things that make my everyday life. My friends, my family, time we spend together or places I visit; I love to catch those moments. It is a kind of my visual diary. What brought you to photography? Photography was always magical to me. I remember few years ago, when my uncle forgot his Canon A-1 camera at my place, I took it and went outside to make some photos. I was playing with the settings, and even though I got most of the photos overexposed, I was so thrilled! That was how everything began.

AUTRE: Can you remember the first image you ever took?

CUKIC: Yes, me with a phantom mask. It was the first photo I took with analog camera. Yet not the first ever in my entire life, that one I cannot remember.

AUTRE: What are some some of your thoughts as you look through the viewfinder?

CUKIC: I’m looking for an intimate moment; either I’m taking photos of people, or just of some indoor or outdoor space. When I want to take a photo I wait for a while so I could capture the instant when everything gets spontaneous and more natural. For instance, when you ask someone to take a photo of him, usually he/she makes a pose, but if you wait enough you can catch more natural expression.

AUTRE: Major inspirations?

CUKIC: Few days ago I watched movie Le Havre directed by Aki Kaurismäki and I’m still under the impression of its esthetics. Besides that, I would point out Michel Gondry, Stanley Kubrick, Nan Goldin, Lee Friedlander, Lukasz Wierzbowski.

AUTRE: Whats next?

CUKIC: Titled photos. That’s what I’m working on right now. Something like movie frames.

See more of Iva Cukic's photographs on her flickr. Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre.