Interview: Ana Stanojevic. Digital Creator.

Interview conducted via email. Questions by Tony Frame. Answers by Ana Stanojevic.

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

By profession, I’m a video editor. That’s my day to day job, but more recently I have started working on another passion, which is photography, and more specifically, photo manipulation. But really how it all started, was by wanting to be a writer. I went to a Screenwriting and Film Production course, and it was there that I slowly started learning about other aspects of filmmaking, and became really interested in video editing. At the same time, that was where I had my first Photoshop lesson.

It was a really basic crash course, but it got me started. At the beginning, I was just creating film posters and retouching my sister’s photos, and it wasn’t until this year that I really started improving on my skills. I think I’d come across a ‘free for all’ editing challenge on Instagram, and that was my first composite. Or more precisely, my first successful composite. Something really clicked for me at that moment, and I realised that I can actually do this, so I started entering more and more challenges, watching tutorials, and started my own Instagram page.

Nowadays, I’m looking to develop more of my own work, so I edit on my own photographs only. There’s definitely ups and downs, but overall I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved this year. Photography has been a truly transformative experience for my creative life. I can’t draw to save my life, so Photoshop is the perfect way for me to be able to recreate the images that I see in my head.

Who or what are your inspirations for your work?

It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint to one source of inspiration, as I am just at the beginning of my journey, and I feel that I’m still developing my own style. At the moment, I tend to browse through Instagram and Pinterest a lot, and I inspire myself from the things I see. I also watch a million tutorials, and any given piece I post on my page, may be very heavily influenced by the style of the person whose tutorial I was watching.

I think it’s truly interesting to see all the different techniques and the different ways in which people work. Everyone has their own way of doing things and I think there’s so much to learn. One of the artists that I truly love though, is Vanessa Rivera (@the_life_of_aivax).  Her work is  so full of magic and whimsy and just 100% original. I’ve spent hours watching her tutorials, and she is a truly talented artist. It’s also really impressive considering that she hasn’t been using Photoshop for all that long either.

A few others I can name are Ronny Garcia (@_ronnygarcia), Alex Miller(@liquidverve), Gabe Rodriguez(@stillsincolor) and Rosie Hardy (@georgiarosehardy). But that’s all in terms of visuals. In terms of ideas and concepts, I draw a lot from song lyrics and poems. There’s often lines that just stick with me for a long time, and I love the challenge of turning them into a visual.

What has been the hardest part of doing what you

To be honest, the hardest part has been not giving up. Whenever I get started on a piece, it doesn’t look good in its early stages, and it can be really easy to take a look at it, and think ‘I’m not going to be able to go anywhere with this’, and simply bin it. But I’ve found that more often than not, if I take a little break, and stick with it, it slowly begins to shape into something beautiful. I think some of my favourite pieces have come out that way.

In fact, the piece called “On his shoulders” has brought me so much agony, because I had the idea in mind, and I just didn’t know how to do it. I spent a few good hours lamenting over it at my computer, and being certain that it was a lost cause. Eventually I decided to stop questioning myself and to just do it. In the end, it became one of my all time favourites, and one that really pushed me to think creatively in terms of technique. 

Another side of that is the self-judgement. I think that comes with any creative work, but being on Instagram, and constantly looking through amazing pieces of work, it can be daunting. I’m always comparing myself to others, but I try to push through it and try to look at my progress instead.

What are your plans for the future in regards to your work?

At the moment I’m trying to learn more about photography. I spent the last six or seven months learning about photo retouching and manipulation, but I think working with other people’s photos, even if only certain elements of them, can be trickier. I want to fully transition into creating composites of my own photos, as well as doing more portrait photography. Depending how things go next year, in terms of the pandemic, and the world being open again, I would like to slowly transition from video editing into full time photography. It’s what has brought me most joy this year, and I’d like to continue down this path.

What would be your dream job?

I’ve got 2 dream jobs, and I can’t possibly choose between them, but I think I’d be really happy doing either, if not both. That’s writing, and photography. I think I’d be really happy making photography a full time job, and especially if I could dedicate most of that time working on the more creative pieces, and being able to properly budget for shoots, but at the same time, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I have always dreamed of being an author. Seeing one of my books in a bookstore has got to be one of my biggest dreams, and I’m not going to let up until that happens.

Do you have a strange story to tell? This could be a celebrity you have met, a ghostly encounter? A strange coincidence that has happened?

I don’t think anything particularly strange has ever happened to me, at least not that I remember, but I do tend to get the most bizarre dreams almost all the time. I usually wake up, and let it all play out in my head so I can remember it properly, but it’s impossible to properly retell to someone. There’s places that keep repeating and that I revisit, and I’ve definitely drawn inspiration from them at least once or twice for my writing, but I’m yet to put one of them down in visual form. 

Thanks to Ana for taking the time to answer these questions! Links to her work and social media channels can be found below:

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