South American photographer Andreka has a penchant for all things retro and serene. Reveling in quiet moments and the haze of memory, her work captures and enhances the innate beauty of objects both natural and manmade. Whether she’s shooting an abandoned landscape or constructing a still-life scene of her own, Andreka is constantly in search of a visual with emotional weight and relevance. Using digital manipulation to play with color, filters, and effects, she blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, while subtly adding a sense of artifact and timelessness to her creations.
We spoke with Andreka about how she arrives at her finished images, what drives her as an artist, and why stock photography is the ideal outlet for her creative impulses. Read on to gain more insight into the work of our latest Shutterstar, then explore our lightbox featuring some of our favorite pieces from her collection.
How do you define yourself creatively?
I’m a sharp-eyed photographer; I’m very perceptive about the emotional ambience of what I photograph. I like to capture atmospheres in which pure happiness can be perceived — joy, tranquility, quietness — places of reunion with oneself, with the delicacy and beauty of nature and of objects. Regarding artistic style, I think I’m quite innovative in the editing process, because although my work tries to reflect a retro style and, as such, represent a bit of nostalgia and melancholy for vintage aesthetics, it remains warm and happy.
What influences the subject matter of what you photograph?
Traveling, getting to know new places, societies, and cultures. I’m inspired by cities, towns, or places full of light. Every place I’ve gotten to know has a different light, but there is nothing better for me than a city with a lot of light, blue skies, and a warm climate. I’m influenced by cultures and societies that are tranquil, respectful, and relaxed — places where you can be yourself without being judged. My best photographs have been taken in places like those.
The women in my family — my mother, my grandmother, and my aunts — have been a great influence too, because of their love for the beautiful objects that decorate their houses and their restless work ethics. I’ve also done a lot of research and seen a lot of contemporary artistic photography, both landscape and still life, and in those two categories, I definitely like Canadian photographers the most. Their art is full of color and life, with traces of nostalgia and a lot of editing and color manipulation.
Are there any tips you can share with other contributors about selling photography?
I remember when I began in stock photography, I read the best piece of advice one can ever have: You have to have a high tolerance to the rejection of your work. On the other hand, my advice is to create and maintain serious self-discipline, to work hard and constantly, but also not to lose your personal space and time. Because what’s the point in working so much if you can’t enjoy what you get from your job?
On the other hand, stock photography is like any other business. You have to invest time and money, and you won’t see the profits until much later, even a year or two. Just like any other good business, you have to be patient. Love what you do enough to have the patience to wait for the results, and make what you want creatively without being influenced by “hot sellers,” so you can find your own, unique style. Clients love that. They love seeing unique things.
Can you briefly describe your process when creating for stock imagery?
When I travel, I always carry my camera around. Always. I capture a lot of photographs in my travels; when I’m back home, I choose the best ones. I edit them according to the time of year and my desires. I make a lot of editions of the same picture, and after a few days of observation, I choose the best of those.
For still lifes, most of the ideas or compositions with objects come to me suddenly, so I draw them or write them down. I look for the objects, lay the compositions on the product table, arrange lighting, and take the picture. Again, I make a lot of editions of the same picture before choosing the best.
Are there any adversities you’ve had to overcome to be able to focus on your career as a photographer?
Being self-taught can be a big problem, because if you want to work as a photographer in a company, you need to have some related college degree and professional experience. Neither of those is a problem in stock photography — not your experience, or your education. In stock, what really matters is the ability you have to make things good, and I think that’s wonderful.