Interview: Maja Strgar Kurečić
Luca Curci talks with Maja Strgar Kurečić, winner of PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE MONTH – NOVEMBER 2021.
Maja Strgar Kurečić (born 1972) is a Croatian fine art photographer born, raised, and based in Zagreb. Since the middle of the 1990s, she has been a professional photographer and educator. She works as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, University of Zagreb where she gives lectures from the courses in the field of photography and graphic prepress. In addition to teaching and scientific work, she has been involved in photography for more than twenty-five years as a lens-based artist with a strong background and experience in commercial, advertising and photojournalism. Within a deep personal devotion to a scientific but delicate approach, she overcame documentary and narrative and found herself in deep analytical and philosophical fields of experimental and abstract photography. Maja uses a camera as a tool that captures inner voices, emotions, and moods without the need to interpret reality. Most of the time, the process is spontaneous, intuitive, and unconscious. Her Abstract Art is a form of escapism that highlights the most difficult emotions in our everyday lives. Her abstract images talk about disconnections from the experience and balance in contemporary society. Those are layers of wonder in its most idealistic and pure form of art. Her work Floating Garden has been featured widely with international recognition of her experimental photographic projects. The most recognized works are abstract images from the series Other Worlds, 2017 – 2018; Escape Landscapes, 2017– 2019; Floating Garden, 2019 – 2021; and Lunaria Rediviva, 2020.
Luca Curci – How did you get to photography?
Maja Strgar Kurečić – I’m a visual being. Ever since I’ve known myself, I’ve been attracted to the visual media. Transmitting thoughts and feelings, ideas and stories through pictures, has always been a closer way of expressing myself than that of words. From a young age, I was interested in graphic design, photography, painting and sculpture. My father and grandfather were architects, so I became interested in architecture too. I loved watching their blueprints and visualizing the spaces in my head. When the time for enrolling in college came, it was not easy for me to decide. But in the end, I choose the Faculty of Graphic Arts, University of Zagreb – where I even finish a Ph.D. study – and where I work as a professor for 20 years now. During my studies, I worked both as a designer and as a photographer. At one point, I had to decide whether to buy a new computer or a new camera from my savings. The decision fell on the camera, and I never regretted it!
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
MSK – For me, a good photo is one that is visually but also mentally intriguing. The one that seduces us with its colors and shapes, but manages to convey an idea, emotion, message. The one we can watch for a long time without getting bored. What I have learned so far is that in the creative process it is important to trust your intuition and give time for your ideas to develop. I create with passion, guided by my intuition. I must admit that over the years I have become more contemplative and quite saturated with the obvious reality. I overcame the documentary and narrative approach and found myself in the deep analytical and philosophical fields of experimental and abstract photography. There I find the creative freedom that I was longing for.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
MSK – It has always been difficult to be an artist who lives only from his art. It seems to me that today it is even more difficult, because of mass production in all areas of art. This is especially noticeable in photography. You can make money with commercial photography, but much harder with fine art photography.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MSK – I think that ITSLIQUID platform could concretely help in a way to be a link between artists and galleries and art dealers. Through its extensive network of creatives, exhibition spaces and art lovers, it can connect artists with the needs of specific galleries and art buyers. Hope it can help artists find a gallery that could represent and sell their work.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MSK – In this short encounter, my experience is good.