“Focus on what you want to do and don’t take your eyes off of it. If you believe that you can do something no one else can you will never loose heart.”
Katarina Vrhovac is a 21 year old self-taught photographer based in Banja Luka. She runs Okarin Photography- a personal experiment blog (see link below). Katarina also studies Ecology, so the subject of a nature human relationship is integrated into some of her current work. Katarina focuses mostly on portraits and photo manipulations. Read on to find out more about Katarina and her work.
Tell us about your photography and how you got started.
I started a long time ago, first with a plastic film camera, then a digital point-and-shoot and finally a DSLR around 6 years ago which is when I started really getting into it and learning more about photography and Photoshop. I did a lot of experimenting over the years but somehow portraits were always the centre of my interest and are still my main focus when learning new things.
Was this always what you wanted to do or did it emerge over time?
I suppose you could say I always knew I wanted to do photography throughout my entire life. I always carry a camera with me and I couldn’t imagine not documenting my life and lives of people around me. It is definitely an important part of my life and something I couldn’t live without. When it comes to photography as a full time job, it’s only in the last few years that I started to consider that option.
Who has helped you in the process of following your dream?
I always had huge support from my parents and friends and it helped a lot, certainly. Having someone to challenge you and push you over the limits you set for yourself is priceless.
Tell us about your blog challenges.
Being a bit lazy and easily distracted as I am, I realized I had to find a way to stay focused and motivated in a way that was fun and creative so I wouldn’t get sick of it. That’s how it started. First challenge I did was a 30 day challenge I found on the net and it was exhausting. It felt forced and superficial because I was doing something that someone else put together, but after I was done with it, I felt a great sense of achievement and pride, so I decided to continue with it. I created new, smaller, challenges that were more focused on what I wanted to do and what I liked to do the most. That is when I realized I had to do things on my own, and not by someone else’s rules. This year I started a year-round challenge, posting one photo each day on my blog, and I feel great about it. Two months went by swiftly. I find it to be the best way for me to stay on track.
What inspires you?
I find great inspiration in Japanese anime, in books and in people I see around me. Fictional characters represent the extension of reality for me, and with the help of a camera and Photoshop I am able to bring them to life the way I see them.
Almost everyday I see one more person on the street I’d like to photograph. There is so many people who inspire me just with their appearance and style. They give me new ideas and a drive to do more and more.
What challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
I love challenges. They make me work harder and push me further and further towards my goal. I would find a solution that fits me and that that way I learn how to deal with anything.
Have you encountered burnout and if so how did you deal with it?
Certainly, yes. I am easily discouraged sometimes and am not good with routines. I need constant changes, no matter how small they are. So, when I am overwhelmed by the amount of work or simply if I’m doing a stagnant work I have to take a step back or change my approach. I love photography way too much to let it become a source of stress. 🙂
What message are you trying to share with your work?
I explored a lot of subjects recently, regarding beauty and self-awareness, connection with nature and the human influence on the nature itself, since that is also one of my focuses in life. I want to represent the true position of a man in the great retrospect of bio system.
With my miniatures series, the goal is always to tell a story and create a scene showing bits of an imaginary world.
How did you learn to deal with criticism?
I don’t think I ever had a big problem with criticism. I disregard anything that will not benefit me or my work. Accepting the fact that not everyone will like you and learning to do things for yourself and not for anyone else is the first step.
What is it that you love about photography?
Everything. I love the idea behind capturing a moment forever. I love the opportunities it gives to a creative mind. Making reality into an art and playing with it is the most fun. Anything I can imagine I can turn into a photograph – this gives me goose bumps. 😀
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Create. Focus on what you want to do and don’t take your eyes off of it. If you believe that you can do something no one else can you will never loose heart.
What have you learned in the process of following your dream?
Photography is a real life teacher. You have to be so much to be a photographer. You have to work with people and learn how to deal with them properly. You have to be able to use the equipment and software. You have to be familiar with the history of photography as well as the newest trends. When I was learning how to retouch a portrait I would watch many make-up tutorials on YouTube. When looking for the new poses for my models I turned to dance videos. I guess the most important thing I learned is that everything you do can be a lesson, and if you are open minded you will find everything you need to know.
What are you most excited for in the future?
I am always excited to see what will happen next. Sometimes this can be overwhelming so I have to keep my impatience at bay, but I certainly like the way I live and work. I keep myself on my toes. 🙂 I want to see how far I can push myself and am excited for all the places I want to go as soon as I get the chance.