Natalia Evelyn Bencicova (4.12.1992) is a young visual creative working in the field of digital photography. Growing up in Bratislava, Slovakia, she currently studies photography and fine art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. She aims to create commercial work with artistic influences, focusing on the visual and conceptual aspect of photography. Her project “Ecce Homo” is a series of nude bodies staged together in uncommon positions, illustrating the vulnerability of humans in a somewhat surreal way. Ecce Homo, Latin for “behold the man” is a biblical reference that has been widely depicted in Christian art. For more check out the interview below and visit her website www.evelynbencicova.com.
Whom do you look up to?
I look up without looking at somebody. I set my goals high, without having any specific role models. Of course I admire people for certain personal or professional qualities. I am also influenced by what I adore, but only to a little extent, as I don’t want my work to be just a copy of other artists. I’m fully aware of the fact that our imagination consists of what we have seen, heard or experienced unified into a new unique mixture. This is the reason why I gather as much high quality information and impulses as possible. Some of my favourite sources are the work of cinematographers Roy Anderson, Andzej Zulawski and painters like Theodore Gericault, Egon Schiele or Edvard Munch.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
There are many. Each of my work is a collaboration. That’s the reason why I usually call it our work. I’m just a part of it. Without them I would be nothing. To collaborate means having to spend time together, so it is better to choose collaborators according to personalities rather than working skills. This of course also forms the way our character develops. Sharing one vision implies to influence each other’s thinking and to understand somebody without the need to speak. I reached this point with my close friend and colleague Adam, so he might be a person.
How did your photographic career start? What made you want to become a photographer?
Although I’ve spent the last three years working on photography, I never considered it to be a profession. It is my life. I never made a clear decision but it suddenly became an indisputable part of my everyday existence. I always had the tendency and desire to observe and discover everything unknown. Photography gives you access to all kind of people and places. Camera is an excuse to do what isn’t normal and to see places usually forbidden. I am fascinated by many things and interested in a great variety of topics. The more knowledge I gain, the more curious I become, having to delve deeper into the material. As soon as something inspires me, I feel the urgency to move it further, to transform it and share it with the world. Photography is the language for my thoughts. Through photography I am projecting my ideas onto pictures, although it’s just a very week and distant interpretation of what is happening inside my head. I never knew whether this medium will work for me and I’m not even sure about it now. But I believe that trying hard will pay off ☺
What is your favourite project and why?
I don’t have any favourite project. Each one is different and that is the point. As I am emotionally involved with the work, I need a certain distance to judge on whether it has turned out good or not. And because these emotions constantly keep changing, I cannot make such a decision.
How do you define creativity?
Creativity is not a definition but an action. It cannot be explained by a word or phrase. To create means to do things consciously and with intention. It can be seen as searching for new solutions and innovative ways of a certain action, to step out of usual ways of thinking. Creativity needs freedom to decide and the ability to make this decision. I would describe it as designing a pattern instead of following a pattern in your work or life.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Live your life for yourself not for the expectations of others. Do what you like without thinking how it should be done. There is no right way and no right time – just here and now. Creativity is an attitude, which can be applied to many situations. It’s the attitude to always search for possibilities instead of making excuses. Most of the time creativity is born out of discomfort. You either have to find a solution or build it up yourself. Of course an advice is just the ideal case. It is much easier to give an advice than to really follow it yourself.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
I have many. It is always hard to decide so I will make a random choice: “The minute you know you’re on safe ground, you’re dead.” (David Bowie)
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
With every photo shooting I am trying to challenge myself in a technical or conceptual way. I’m always willing to experiment and even to fail as long as I learn from the mistakes, but I think my biggest problems are more personal. I find it difficult to balance life and work, to distinguish between public and private. To be who I want to be without forgetting who I really am. The gap between illusion and reality sometimes gets too wide that I’m getting lost somewhere inside. It is important to find the compromise between vision and result, to live life to the fullest, to always create while staying on the thin line between open-mindedness and total madness or depression. Sometimes I’m just working to escape my thoughts. That is the healthiest and cheapest therapy I can think of. ☺
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
I’m 22 so that might not be such a big difference, although I am learning new things every day ☺. I’m trying to be more patient without expecting things to happen immediately. Growth needs a certain time. I cannot force the natural development and constantly accelerate the tempo if I don’t want to burn out. I should definitely be more careful with that.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
Fortunately I haven’t found myself in this situation until now. I cannot tell for sure, but to create is my current priority in life. Medium can change with the time. Photography itself is not my focus of interest but the way I use to express my vision. My main role is to create a world that can be captured in one picture, but this can develop beyond the realms of photography. I’m curious where it will lead me to ☺.