Zsófia Heisler, Photographer
Fashionwithus got the chance to do an amazing interview with a talented young woman who has chosen a very specific segment of her profession. By precision, accuracy, and the planning of every detail, she creates near perfect images.
Many people say that they wanted to be photographers from a very young age. When was the moment you decided to take up photography?
I’ve been trying to do portraits of artists (actors, ballet dancers) in my milieu, since my childhood. They were very supportive. Although in my teen years theatre and ballet were my main interests, I later turned to photography, and nowadays I only go to the theatre or ballet as a spectator.
What defines your style as a photographer; spontaneity or set ups?
I never shoot spontaneously, instead I plan everything down to the last detail! I search out locations 1-2 weeks before shooting. If it is far away my location manager sends me pictures of it. I take the model with me for a test shoot on location, if I possibly can. If I am able, I arrange everything beforehand with my clients and the crew.
What kind of camera do you use and why?
Mostly I use an RB Mamiya with a 6×7 digital or film camera back. Or a Hassleblad version, which takes a 6×6 picture.
These cameras are rarely used by photographers today. Why do you think this is?
Firstly, using the Leica format you have 24 or 36 shots per film, meaning you have 24 or 36 chances of taking a good picture. In my case, the 6×7 medium format allows only 10 pictures but the cost of the film and developing it is the same. You can still find some professionals who use the same kind of equipment as I do, but nowadays I see them using it with digital camera backs.
Have you been using film cameras since the beginning?
I have no issue with digital cameras but, if I can, I prefer working with film.
With the help of a childhood friend, who taught me many small tricks, I quickly learnt to work in the dark room. Anyway I’m happier doing everything on my own, from scanning to enlarging. Naturally, if I do not have time I just give the photo to the lab but, if I do, I prefer to work on the picture myself, as then the result will be exactly as I want it to be.
This approach to developing pictures is important, because I never crop or retouch, I never do any kind of post-production on my pictures. I like everything on the picture to be the same as it was on location.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
First and foremost I feel lucky to work with people that I have wanted to meet and work with for ages. Now these people seek me out. This is a great step forward for me.
On the other hand, years ago in London, I saw a French film, which had a poster with Zsolt Nagy on it. I started looking him up, I followed his work. When I launched my own project called Szabadon, I wanted him to be part of it, so I asked all of my contacts and finally reached him. I’ve done a few photo shoots with him since, then and it was a great experience. He is one of the finest Hungarian actors of all time.
My most motivating experience so far was working with the actor Balázs Czukor over the last couple of years. Balázs is an actor, director, thinker who can easily express the stories I want to tell. This is art at its finest because we do it in a second, without words. Maybe we somehow speak the same language.
For me, when Tamás Dobos opened my ‚Szabadon‘ exhibition it was one of the most remarkable moments in my life, one of my biggest achievements.
Are there any photographers whose work inspires yours?
I have to mention Tamás Dobos again. As a child I liked Helmut Newton very much, I saw lot of his exhibitions. Naturally it is very inspiring to have such creative minds around me as India Roper-Evans and Lili Érmezei.
I love the works of British born contemporary photographer Andreas László Konrath. He was born in London, his father is Hungarian, but now he lives and works in New York. I follow his work closely. In my opinion what he does in applied photography is unbeatable.
I could mention many other names too; such as Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, or from my generation the American Alex Prager, the Swiss duo Claudia Knoepfel & Stefan Indlekofer, Benoit Pailley, from France. I love their work!
However I do not think that my inspiration is drawn mainly from other photographers. For example, when I’m preparing for an exhibition or a bigger project, I do not look at magazines or photo albums, because I don‘t want to copy ideas that have already been done.
My best friend, David Karas’s support and encouragment have the greatest impact on me. Especially the fact that he is not an artist, but a social scientist. If he had not driven me on, then I don’t know where I would be. I believe he is the one who drives me to get better and better.
What are your future plans? What is the pinnacle of your profession in your eyes?
I’d love to work with more and more artists in other countries. The most inspiring thing is to photograph artists whose work I like to watch or read, or politicians, whose views concur with mine.
Please tell us about your next project!
I’m setting up an exhibition in the Fogas Ház in Budapest for Design Week, supported by the Szputnyik Shop, in collaboration with a young photographer, Marcell Krulik. The exhibition will show eight pairs of pictures. I took fashion shots as portraits.
Then there will be another exhibition next year. A huge, multi-city, multi-artist movement, a series I should say. I cannot tell you more about it just now… 🙂
Finally my website has been launched, designed and constructed by a fellow designer friend, Levente Szabó.
And finally, I’d love to find some time to do a series of Ange Sandorfi!
I would like to say special thanks to Emma Roper-Evans.
Posted and made by Fashionwithus