I discovered Eva Skalakova’s work last night while I was browsing through the Sony World Photography Awards shortlist. She is a Czech photographer and I so wish I had discovered her work while I was working towards assignment two – Elements of Design. Her compositions are a cornucopia of design elements and delights. The first images that I came across were featured in the professional photographers shortlist for the Sony World Photography Awards. Her series is entitled “Landscape touched by a human” and comprises a set of minimalist landscapes, which are absolutely amazing. The subject matter is so banal and consists of mainly of man-made items, (pipes, fences, electric wires, ladders, telephone poles, etc.) but the way she composes her photographs turn them up quite a few notches pushing them totally to a more serene level, almost ethereal. This series is in black and white and many are done in a high key way, with highlights either totally blown or almost blown out, but this doesn’t distract from the image at all, rather it enhances it, drawing one’s attention to the other elements in the frame. She composes with low horizon lines, right to the edges of the frame and makes such striking use of diagonals, triangles, leading lines, points, s-curves. I particularly liked her image of a horse in a pasture which can be seen here. Even though the image is calm and serene, there is a tangible energy emanating from it from the diagonal lines of the electric pylons and the paddock fencing which seem to resonate off the horse’s trot downhill.
Skalakova does a lot of street photography as well and her elements of design are evident in those images too. I think she has to be a very patient street photographer, probably selecting her vantage points carefully and then waiting for the right subject to walk into her frame as compositionally the images might seem to be thought out beforehand. Even in her street photography her placement of the elements in the image are quite dynamic. She makes great use of high and low placements in the frame, as well as light and shadows to complement the elements she has chosen to photograph:
She is quirky and has a good sense of humour in her street photography, gently taking the mick out of her fellow townspeople, which really engaged me and kept me up half the night as I did not want to stop looking at her work. Rather like picking up a page turner book and not wanting to put it down until it was finished! I found it really inspirational. There were no images that I did not like, but here are a few fun ones:
She has another interesting series on her website where she has photographed people, and these are posed portraits, against interesting backgrounds. What makes this series interesting is that the people are wearing complementary clothing that in some way or other work with the background. For example, in one image the background, an architectural wall, has vertical stripes with interspersed colour blocks and she has photographed a person whose shirt in the same colour scheme has horizontal stripes also with colour blocks. Obviously a lot of thought and planning went into this series.
I think I might just try out a few of her techniques. Find an interesting backdrop or mural, sit and wait for the photo to come along and see what happens.
Eva-Skalakova [online]. Available from http://www.eva-skalakova.com/fotogalerie/ [Accessed 25 February, 2015]