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Today, we give you an amazing 20 year old fine art photographer from Latvia. She is Annija Veldre, a self taught photographer who has found her true passion in life which is art. She creates fine art self-portraits of various emotions, situations and stories, bringing to life different perspectives in life, ideas that perhaps haven’t been told yet or haven’t been finished. Overall, she is playing with the nature and the world that makes her have an endless dream to creating the world around her. Find out more about her in this interview and enjoy!
In your own words, what is photography? And why did you choose photography?
Photography to me is art. It can be messy, it can be abstract, digitally edited, whatever, but it comes from the heart. It’s a way of self-expression, a way to bring out my soul. I got into photography, especially fine art photography, just because I thought it was something new, a completely new way to create something that haven’t seen before, a way to show everybody my thoughts, my perspectives, my ideas of the world.
Are there any specific photographers that inspired you? If so, who are they? And how did they inspire you?
There are quite few photographers that inspire me, for example, I started to get more into storytelling just because I spent one whole night watching Brooke Shaden , also a fine art photographer, teaching a workshop. I got so inspired, that I spent the next week just taking photos nonstop, creating new ideas, and just seeing what comes out of it. There are quite a lot fine art photographers in the world right now and each and every one of them is telling some kind of a story, or maybe writing it. Just by looking at other artworks I get inspired, inspired just by that something has been created. Seeing the passion with what we all work with, the pure love of the work we do, the pure love of art- that inspires me the most.
Can you tell us about your Heads in the clouds project? Where did you get the idea of this project?
The idea of this project came to me just because I wanted to bring the colors blue and yellow together, simple as that. Creating a photo in almost like a cartoon style, where I see the beautiful contrast between the colors, and then I thought that I should bring clouds into there. Clouds bring some playfulness into the work, something that perhaps everyone can relate to- having your head in the clouds, not thinking serious, just enjoying life in that moment.
Do you have any photography styles or techniques? If so, can you share to us what they are?
The only style that I constantly stick to is self-portraits just because it is easier for me to take a photo of myself in 5 minutes, than it is to find a model. I tend to use a lot of blue colors and undertones in all of my artwork, because it suits my personality well, as well as having the image in square. In Photoshop I use the basic tools. Everything that I know about Photoshop, I have learned by myself, just because it’s easier for me. Simply writing on Youtube: “How to…this and that.” I learned everything that I needed to create my photos so far.
Can you describe what your post-process workflow is like?
I pick the best photo to have as a base, and then open it in Photoshop and do some gamma corrections and things like that. If I have the final idea already on my mind, then, after that, I open up some stock images, for example clouds, butterflies etc., and then start the masking and layering, cutting and erasing job, which takes a lot of time and requires precision. After that, when everything is in the right places, I correct the lighting to the added objects, so that they match with the base image, and create some shadows so everything looks more realistic. And at the end, I spend a lot of time figuring out the colors, the tones and bringing the final photo to life. When the final image is ready, I reopen it and close it a couple of times, so that I have a clear look at the final image to make sure the colors are in the right brightness and everything looks good.
Can you share a memorable story from one of your photographic experiences?
If someone asks me, what is the craziest thing that I have done making photos, I always tell “the cold experience”, meaning that I have this thing, where I feel the need to take photos in dresses in minus 30 degrees Celsius. It is very cold, very windy and each time I think that I will definitely get ill after doing this, but it doesn’t stop me. I love it. It’s a crazy way to spend your winter morning, but I think it’s totally worth it to walk barefoot in snow with a dress on and just creating art. I feel magic in those moments.
Your The Four Elements project is really captivating. What is the message behind this piece?
The Four elements are the basis of our world. The water is the begging of us, the air keeps us a live, the land provides a home, but the fire keeps us warm. Bringing all of these elements together and having a human being in the middle of it creates, in my opinion, a symbolic art piece of basis of life, of what keeps us alive.
Are you currently working on any project you are excited about? If so, can you tell us a brief overview of that project?
Right now I am in the middle of a few little projects that all includes a forest. It’s a place, where I go to get rejuvenated, to get energy, at the same time to calm myself and think life over. I call a forest my office. I spent one day in a beautiful forest near my grandparents’ house and created few pieces that I am really excited about simply just because it is a beautiful and calming place for my soul.