Introducing: Kristina Babak
I am a portrait and fine art photographer currently located in Stockholm, Sweden where I am part time working as an intern, creating content for Profoto. I was born in Austria with a Swedish mother and Austrian father and raised on a small island in the Bahamas. Because I moved around a lot when I was young, I developed an urge to record time to hold on to my surroundings; the camera became my tool for that.
Where my ideas come from and what inspires me:
My ideas often emerge from people and their emotions that I try to translate into images. When I understand the feeling I want to express I begin to think about how to capture this. I draw my inspiration mostly from paintings and literature, but also get inspired by anything surrounding me, like moody lighting on a rainy day, a vivid story someone tells, or a banana rotting in the kitchen. My brain will directly go to creating a mental image, a thought that will be forming and reforming until I have added all the elements to make a full picture.
While I was at University, a photographer called Gregory Crewdson was my main source of inspiration. I was obsessed with his images, his cinematic lighting and the people he captured, their haunting expressionless faces and the eerie surroundings he places them in. Standing in front of one of his large photographs in a gallery is like looking through a window into another world, seeing an entire movie starting off from a single frame. Many times I have tried to capture exactly that feeling of complete absorption in my own images. I have yet to succeed.
My mum is a historian and art lover. Growing up we always had paintings of Picasso, Klimt, Hundertwasser and Schiele hanging around the house (of course these were only copies). Today their paintings guide me whenever I feel stuck in my creative process.
There is a quote by Rebecca Solnit that stuck with me:
“Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting Caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay” (Solnit, 2014).
She writes this in her book, “A field guide to getting Lost”, it is a collection of short stories thematising loss, losing and being lost. The feeling of being lost or feeling stuck, and the urge to leave that place of discomfort, is a theme that runs through most of my images.
I got my first film camera while I was at University and have ever since preferred film to digital. Although I mostly shoot with a digital camera for work, I will always bring a film camera on set with me to sneak in a shot or two. I like that shooting on film forces you to slow down your process, to go through your framing and lighting once more before pressing the shutter, knowing there is only a limited amount of images on one roll. I use a Mamyia 7, a Canon A1 and an Olympus OM1; digitally I shoot with Nikon. A lot of my images were taken using daylight or smaller camera flashes. In recent years, however, I have started to use photographic flashes and light shaping tools more and more.
I used to love to experiment with different camera techniques to create a surreal looking images. Light painting, long exposures, and placing small flashes in a scene to create a dramatic stream of light, were amazing tools to establish interesting lighting on a low budget. It’s now been a long time since I dragged out furniture onto the street in the middle of the night to point a flashlight at it, but experimenting with different techniques is something that I am now looking forward to doing again during my internship at Profoto.
If you are interested in seeing more of my work, you can look me up on my website or Instagram . I hope this post gave you a little bit of an insight into who I am and what my pictures are about. That being said, I am excited to start my journey at Profoto and to soak up all the knowledge this place has to offer. (:
Written by Kristina Babak