Sasha Mihalova is originally from Bratislava but has recently moved to London where she is working as a successful commercial photographer. When we first saw Sasha’s portfolio of work we were really keen to share it with you and we were therefore delighted when, despite her incredibly hectic schedule, she completed a full in-depth feature interview with us. Read on to discover her experiences working as a photographer on a cruise ship, what style of photography Sasha thinks makes her unique and what her current career highlights have been.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
It’s always been my passion and I love expressing myself this way, it makes me feel complete. I decided to do photography as a job, because it’s something I will never stop doing whether there are obstacles and many roads to choose from…
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
-- People in any situation: expressive moments!
-- Special moments in people’s lives: (weddings, music events)
-- Fashion Photography: even in posed photography I like to capture the moment, to freeze the moment in time.
-- Travel Photography: to capture different cultures and lifestyles.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
Very entertaining and full of new knowledge. I just started to live in Dublin then, met many people, enjoyed the artistic life of the town; fell in love with the architecture and people. Work wise it was challenging and finding small freelance jobs kept me going and during the free time I used productively, by doing more photographing, learning and exploring.
Q: Who inspires you?
Marilyn Monroe, Joe Buissink, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, Anna Kuperberb, Dalai Lama
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
Maggie Sottero, Vivien Westwood, Renato Balestra.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
-- Dedication: (only the dedicated ones will become successful. Photography business is very challenging and many give up, well ‘giving up’ is not in my dictionary)
-- Passion: (it’s a key factor in becoming a good photographer. With passion we develop our own artistic style. And when everything else fails passion is still strong and present.
-- Improvement: (as photography is a complex, to understand photography is one big journey, there’s too many aspects of photography and you can always be better and better)
-- Boldness: (with fear there’s no adventure, without exploring there’s no new skills and knowledge, no growing and self-developing.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
I love film for the classic look and the genuine quality. It’s sharper, the grain is smooth, organic, reliable, and you don’t just lose data because the software or memory card decided to crash.
It’s not that times change (it could also be the main reason), but we’re living in a world where time is so precious that we’re doing everything to save time. We are on the move constantly and have no time to waste. So the best technology comes and it saves even one minute of our time we own it. I have to admit I am one of those; I like my time too much. Even I believe developing my own pictures would be worth it, and that it wouldn’t exactly be a waste of time, it’s just the situation that doesn’t allow it. I do have a 70’s film camera that I use; I just don’t develop the film myself.
So using digital is a great option, too. Knowing photography from the technical side allows me to achieve great quality too.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
I prefer location as I can be much more creative. My favorite is nature and then architecture. Different shapes and for example, the distance between the subject and background can bring an interesting effect and in the studio this is limited. In the studio I do like the advantage of lights but its no problem making a studio outdoor as long as you have a minimum of 2 flashes and umbrellas.
Q: Do you have an interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
When I was working on a cruise ship (as a photographer) there was this string trio, three Russian girls playing classical music. I had an idea straight away, they looked pretty and played great! As I love classical music I made a proposition to them, I said I’d do a photo shoot with them in return of them playing my favorite piece by Tchaikovsky for me. They got real excited about that idea. So for a few days we were discussing it and how I’d like it to happen. They didn’t think I was serious about going to the woods (we were in Alaska then), bringing their beautiful dress and instruments. They laughed and said it would be ok to just do a shoot on the ship. I’m like ‘I’m sorry I don’t do ordinary’. So for a few days I’d talk about it and said I was serious and we should act on it. And we did. A few days later we picked a day and went for an adventure. We took a cable car to get to top of the mountain, girls loved it. We had so much fun that they decided to do it again, this time with cello 🙂 Little did Julia realized we had to do a hike this time (which I did mention but she didn’t know it would be a little bit uphill). Anyway she was upset and complained the whole time so we had to stop and do the shoot anyway… That was fine; I was improvising and found some great spots for the right light and distance. They played music, we met a few interesting people, dogs.. They really enjoyed the shoot, it all turned to be a fun day rather than strenuous walk. After these sessions looking at the pictures I realized I combined my favorite passions -- photography (obviously), fashion, music and nature.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
Combining the contradictory, simple and complex at the same time
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
It would have to be a photo of Aleks, a very young adventures model who was up for anything, a shot of her coming our of the ground, covered in soil and grass.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
Marilyn Monroe (yeah, I know), Joe Buissink, Annie Leibovitz, Naomi Campbell
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
It’s an art and it inspires me to be creative and capture a great artistic piece. Garment , shape, color, it gives the picture depth and character.. Fashion combining with photography is one of my favorite passions. I am not exactly a fashion victim but I do appreciate good fashion.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
Combining the contradictory, edgy, fun, nature + woman, clean and deep.
Q: Where are you based?
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I am originally from Slovakia, Bratislava. It is lovely, a little boring for me now as I know this place and because it used to be a communist country there’s still the impact of communism there in Slovakia. Not that capitalism is any better, in fact it can be worse. We have nice mountains and food and music. There is a lot of pride in Slovakia, the history is quite strong and we were fighting for freedom a lot. And of course, the history has a big impact on the nation. So Slovakians are proud people.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Wedding and Fashion Photography: I have done a few weddings and this is something that I would like to get into more in the future. Capturing one’s such an important day makes me really proud. It’s a great feeling to be so trusted to capture the moments of such a very special day as this happens once in a lifetime, for most people (I hope).
In Fashion: I have learnt the most and experienced the most fun. Its my most favorite as I get to capture the beauty art -- fashion and the beauty of woman and men. To capture one’s beauty and expression dressed in art makes me extremely creative and I get explore my ideas and improvise.
Travel photography: I’ve traveled around India and experienced the most amazing things and it can’t ever compare to anything that I have learned at school. That was one life changing experience and have done 2 exhibitions in Dublin about India. One was called ‘Ordinary Life, Extraordinary People’ and the other one ‘Expression Of Compassion’.
Working as a photographer on a cruise ship was a very hard job, character building and I learned a lot as it was a big lesson in life.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve over the next 12 months?
To become a Recognized name. Getting my work published, making more contacts and photo shoots. Continue gaining more knowledge and skills and do what I love.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Listen to music, walks in nature.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Massive Attack, Nina Simone, Joss Stone, Ledisi, James Brown, Lyn Collins, Bob Marley, Fat Freddie’s Drop, Black Roots, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin, The Prodigy, Queen, The Rolling Stones…
Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Apart from photography I like video, juggling, project making.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Be honest. Be honest about your weaknesses and strengths; continue to work on your weaknesses. Don’t try to be everything. Find where your deepest passions lie and go for it.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
The results, but most importantly all the fun that I experience, while getting the results.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
When I work with people I like to make them feel comfortable, have fun with them and make it an enjoyable experience for them. Experimenting and unlocking different personas is how I work.
Editor’s Note: Sasha Mihalova effectively moulds her technical expertise with her love of the human form, nature and expression to create some very appealing and commercial shots. At Urbanity Chic we’re looking forward to Sasha’s career and portfolio continue to enjoy success into the future.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Sasha Mihalova just follow the links below:
web page link: http://www.sashamihalova.com