Serbian photographer Jovana Rikalo chases magic and tells stories with her camera. She has made it her mission in life to search for moments which she can capture for eternity. We sat down with her over a coffee and had a chat about where she goes looking for locations and how beauty manifests itself in her work.
Hi Jovana, what’s your favourite drink at Happy Hour?
Cafè latte and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Where do you find the dreamy locations for your shoots?
I must admit that is the hardest thing because I always want to find something new and different. Sometimes I go for a walk and go looking for beautiful corners. I’ve been travelling a lot recently and I’ve found beautiful locations online. One place I found this way was Rakotzbrücke in Germany.
Tell us a little bit about your creative and conceptual process. How do you plan a shoot from start to finish?
Before shooting, I have to come up with a theme, find the right model and select a location. I picture what the image should look like in my head. I imagine a scenario I would like to create. I always write my ideas down on paper, it's easier. Sometimes I draw what I want to create with that idea. I'm always trying to tell a story through my photographs.
My models have strong facial features, such as bright eyes or freckles... Then there is also the making of props that will go along with the story. My brother helps me with this. He either makes them himself or acquires the props in some other way. After a shooting I use my favourite tool, Photoshop, to create a final image. It requires a lot of time and effort to create an image. I spend more than 2-3 hours on one photo. When it comes to photos I am perfectionist. I love it when everything in a photo looks perfect, just the way I imagined in in my head.
Who are the women in your photographs?
Mostly girls, between 18–28 years of age with strong features. Beauty inspires me. When I see and feel beauty with my eyes, I can make everything.
How is your personality reflected in your work?
I bring a lot of my personality into my pictures. Sometimes I use my models to recreate a story that happened to me in the past, or enact one that is going to happen in the future. It's interesting to see how they play that role. I see myself in front of my eyes.
Who or what inspires you?
Beauty, dreams, LIFE. Also work by other photographers; Tim Walker is my eternal inspiration.
How would you describe your style?
Dreamy, mysterious. I am an art and portrait photographer who loves telling stories with a camera. I love creating something unrealistic in the real world.
What is the main message you’d like to share with your work?
I want people to first see the photo, and then look at everything else. I want them to imagine what I wanted to say with this photo. When it comes to portraits, I want them to see beauty; the portraits are frozen in time, but I want people to feel emotions while looking at my images.
Of the photos you sell on JUNIQE, which one is your favourite and why?
It's the black and white photo of a girl with a crow on her head called Guardian. Because that was the first photo I created. I received a lot of positive feedback on this image, and not long after that the photo was taken, it was posted on many photography websites. This exposed my art to a great number of people.
Flowers or butterflies?
Oh hard question, can I choose both? I will choose flowers.