EWW: Igor, If I were to walk into an room which included works of yours as well as others, would I immediately know which ones were yours and why?
Igor: I think you would be able to recognize my work, because it would probably be the darkest one in the room. By “dark”, I don’t refer to the theme, rather to my lighting style (chiaroscuro look). I feel very comfortable in experimenting with light through great amounts of shadows.
EWW: I am curious to know, if someone were asked to make a comment about your work as a whole, what do you think they would say?
Igor: The most interesting comment I heard about my work was from one observer at a photo exhibition at Texas A&M University, who stated that my work appeared to be photographs of paintings. As all my exhibited work was photography that strongly implies paintings, I didn’t take that as an insult – more like an unconscious appreciation of my art photography.
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EWW: What would be your comments about your work, as a whole?
Igor: I am still exploring my fascination with shadows by using minimal light with new subjects. The dark background is often my signature but not the universal formula. Some of my older work was more documentary style and didn’t require very strict lighting treatment. But overall, I am focused on each individual subject placed in a dark environment.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, in your fine art photography are there any themes that consistently run from one work to the other such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Igor: It’s always about lighting, and I allow the rest to arise organically through a chain of instinctive decisions. My lighting determines the mood, and my subject has the role of character, rather than model.
EWW: Do these creative themes in your fine art photography carry over into your commercial and fashion work as well?
Igor: They do, especially when it comes to picking the model. I like to work with people who are not professional models. They always bring something unexpected to the image, because they are not trained to pose. They are also often shy. These subjects don’t make faces for you – they are giving you what they are. That’s what I call original beauty.
EWW: Can you elaborate on Chiaroscuro with regards to the photographic medium?
Igor: I would describe Chiaroscuro as an immortal artistic concept that has sustained throughout the ages…from the ancient Roman world, through Caravaggio’s breath-taking paintings until today. In almost every visual medium, we can recognize shapes of that unique visual concept. The subject is dramatically lit from a single light source that defines the contrast between the object and the dark background. This concept can be established by natural as well as artificial light.
EWW: Igor, what areas of your work are you still learning about and working on to improve?
Igor: I am a cinematographer who is also a passionate photographer. On a photo shoot, I still find myself acting as director of photography on the set, rather than photographer. That particular mentality can help, but sometimes, it can slow you down. Perfectionism is not always your best friend.
EWW: When you do an exhibition of your work, besides choosing the theme, what other things do you considered in order for it to be successful?
Igor: Communicating with your audience through emotion results with success in any art show or performance. I usually convey strong emotion through my lighting design and subject on the dark background.
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EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? Is it successful for you?
Igor: I promote my artistic and commercial work through my website (www.igorkraguljac.net). Facebook (www.facebook.com/IgorKraguljacPhotography) has also been another great tool for my work to be exposed to and reach a wider audience. But I am considering other marketing platforms, as well.
EWW: There are many places on the Internet to display and promote one’s work. What things do you consider when deciding on where you will place and promote your work, on the Internet?
Igor: To me, there are two key factors. First, is the web layout. Some websites that promote visual art do not visually reflect their mission statement. The second is the type of artwork that they promote. I appreciate those sites that glorify concept, over cute puppies and sunsets.
EWW: Igor, just to wrap up the interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?
Igor: I think the great thing about my photo journey is that it has a completely undefined destination. I love my profession and enjoy every second of it.