Monday, May 9, 2011
Interview With Vancouver Photographer Nina Pak
Image Credits: Lauren Marler-Makeup Artist, Rosalba Vagge-Model,Temna Fialka-Clothing Designer, Photo-Nina Pak
Nina Pak is a very talented artist, photographer, and designer working out of beautiful Vancouver, BC. She was the design editor for AustralAsia magazine in Moscow, Russia as well as worked as the curator for the Glendale Arts Council for many years.
In addition to photography, she is passionate about painting and creating unique mixed-media pieces with photographic elements.
She knows how to bring her vision to life, as well as bring out the best in her subjects.
I am thrilled to feature an interview with Nina on this blog, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. :)
Image Credits: Studio Facade-Makeup Artist, Lanna Barrones-Model,J M W-Hair Stylist, Photo-Nina Pak
AVIVA: How long have you been a photographer?
NINA PAK: I first took photography in high school, I loved it but did not have a good camera of my own, I had a little point and shoot, I was always taking snapshots over the years but did not get serious about photography, as a focus of my artistic expression until the 1980s. I spent some years doing darkroom work with film and various experimental methods with liquid emulsion, and large mural sized prints, and various alt process, and transfer techniques, then I lost access to the dark room facilities I used. So I began to do digital work. I had taken some early Photoshop classes when it first came out, however the serious experimentation with digital manipulation began about thirteen years ago. Before the 1980s I was mostly a painter and print maker, so the work I do now with photography is largely influenced by that medium.
AVIVA: How has being a photographer helped you develop as an artist?
NP: This type of image making is very immediate, it is also flexible in ways that no other media is. There is a quality to this medium that allows me to express the dream quality in an image that I was never able to capture with paint.
Photo by Nina Pak
AVIVA: Do you have a favorite subject, if so, what is it?
NP: Yes I prefer the human form. I especially like to work with an undressed figure as it works best for the layering techniques that I use, and also because a nude is timeless, as soon as the person is dressed they are set within the period of that style. But in general I love to work with people; landscapes and still lifes do not give me the same inspiration. I like to capture something of the soul from my muse. Recently I have been working more with fashion and costume, and I am loving this new venue.
AVIVA: What do you feel is the biggest challenge, if any, that you had to overcome as a photographer?
NP: I am not very technically inclined. Not with the camera and not with the computer, I mean it does not come naturally, I have to work at it. I am the do by feel, or do as I see it done sort of person. When I read a computer book, it just puts me right to sleep. I also don't tend to remember technical terms. I know what works for me and I do that, and I love to experiment, to do things in a non traditional way. I feel it can be limiting in terms of creativity to have too many rules, so accepting my nature and trusting that my way is OK was very difficult, I often feel that I am not good enough, when I don't do what other professionals do. I also work rather simply, I don't have a lot of fancy equipment.
Photo by Nina Pak
AVIVA: What achievement(s) are you most proud of? (publications, etc)
NP: I was perhaps most proud of the work I did with the Russian publication AustralAsia, as I had the dream job as the design editor, and I was also a staff photographer. It was challenge and a lot of fun. I am always pleased to have my work published and over the last few years have been fortunate to be included in art, and photographic magazines and fashion lifestyle publications. It's one of those things that makes me feel in some way accomplished.
I also do presentations of my work process to groups such as the PPA (Professional Photographers of America ) and the Mensa regional gathering. It is always an honor to be invited to share with other creative minds.
AVIVA: Do you have a crazy/funny/interesting photoshoot experience that you would like to share?
NP: I was doing a fashion shoot for a young designer. She had used crow feathers in a head dress that went with this elegant black evening gown. I was walking the model through my neighborhood when the crows began to get pretty vocal, then they started to dive bomb the head dress rather boldly while cawing loudly, the designer was stunned, the model crouching and running for cover, And I was laughing so hard running behind them. But we did get some wonderful shots that day.
AVIVA: Do you pre-visualize your photos, or do you put all the components together as you go?
NP: I normally don't I like to plan the image, I prefer to feel what is there in a natural uncontrolled way. I do know what I want, when I see it however, I just try to be in the moment, to be ready, to be sensitive. I also shoot pretty fast, I want to capture something unposed, something between what is expected.
Occasionally I will plan if I have a costume, headpiece, mask, or some fantasy concept in mind. But I am flexible and open to the flow and changes that tend to happen.
AVIVA: What would you do if you won the lottery?
NP: Pretty much the same as I do now, but with a budget. It would be great to be able to realize some of the elaborate fantasy costumes and concepts I create in my mind.
AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
NP: Well maybe I would say something about ethics, attitude, responsibility...
I pride myself as a photographer who cares about her models, her stylists, her assistants, and who truly wants everyone involved to enjoy the process of creating art together.
I also take my commitments seriously, I am prolific, I work long hours editing my images and get the finished edits to my clients and team quickly. I feel it is important to mention this only because it is not common in this industry. I was a model in my youth and at least half of the photographers I worked with, never gave me prints, or would give me poorly printed proofs that I could not use in my portfolio. I suppose it is due to those experiences that I feel an obligation to give, perhaps, more than is expected, to do something special.
I would like to thank Nina for this wonderful insight into her artistic world. I wish her all the best for many years to come, because she has amazing talent.
You can check out more of her work on Model Mayhem, Facebook Page, and Website