Process, Energy, and Feeling. The Photographer Capturing MEAT, a Project by Naomi Kaja questioning the symbolic meaning of the female body.
We talked to Anastasija to get a closer view at her trajectory, her creative decisions as a photographer and her visual approach with Naomi’s MEAT.
From a very early age, Anastasija Kocevska has built and specialized her interest in photography through a myriad of fields and interests. From the glamour and brightness of fashion and hip hop, this time her eye focuses on Naomi Kaja’s project MEAT, a project exploring sexual exploitation of young people and sexualization in everyday life. The photo and video series brings up contradictions and vulnerabilities from the encounter of human skin, meat and the animal’s gaze, making questions about embodiment as a woman in a world where flesh is exploited and put to violent use. Anastasija’s abilities in tracing the subtleties of the human body and expression add on to Naomi Kaja’s strong thematic proposal, resulting in a vivid and provocative collection of images.
Which art forms have you always wanted to be involved in and why?
At the age of 14 I realized for the first time that I would like to be involved in fashion photography because I did my first internship at Condé Nast Verlag Munich’s photo studio. I liked the building, the shelves full of fashion magazines, the people that had designer clothes on and smelled good. There were offices where clothes and shoes were hanging or flying around. I find luxury, clothes and beautiful people fascinating and at the same time disgusting.
What limits do you meet for yourself personally in photography and in your own art?
I would say it’s the constant urge to always deliver something new. Sometimes I’m just exhausted trying to take the best picture. With the best photo, I mean my own standards for myself. I am rarely 100% satisfied with my work. On the one hand, that keeps me moving forward, but on the other hand, it wears me out.
Naomi says: “The project is supposed to disgust, disgust and convey a certain depressive, constricting madness, a formative traumatic experience. It seemed natural to me to consider which of my limits I could cross in order to illustrate the subject ”. How do you implement the specifications (from Naomi) as a photographer? Do you put yourself in their ideas, are there moods or templates? What’s the process with you?
I do everything with and according to feeling. Sometimes I work with Moods, but only when the client requests it. Of course, a conversation has to take place first. Preferably a personal one if possible, so that you can see whether the ideas of both parties fit together to some extent. Most people trust my skills and just rely on me. In itself there is no way for me to go about it. I would say the only thing I always rely on is my strong intuition, which makes me feel what the person I am working with is feeling at the moment. The process for me begins with the initial request of the project and all the way through the submission of the final project.
What things are discussed between the process?
Everything that works and is relevant to the project. The more people talk, the better the project, I would say. Otherwise there will be discrepancies in the end that make the whole project more complicated than it actually is. As in relationships, communication is the be-all and end-all.
Would you say you are trying to reinforce the subject with the previous history through the picture’s expressiveness or how can you best describe your work and art in the project?
I would say with the project it was just blood, meat, dogs, an interesting person who wants to say something very important to them, with the help of my pictures and of course an order in which I can gain experience.
What does process mean for you?
For me, process means the beginning, what happens between the beginning and the end and the end.
You travel a lot in the hip hop area, but you also do a lot of other projects. How does this differ from the others for you personally and where is the overlap between the two topics from your point of view, in relation to your art?
The subject is different, the process is the same, just different.
You are not only a photographer, as a beautiful and desirable woman you are often in front of the camera yourself. What is sexy for you as a photographer and on the other hand as a model and what makes you feel good and what is sexually offensive and feels uncomfortable up to and including “gawking”?
It’s about the way something was photographed and, above all, which person is behind or in front of the camera. The energy that exists between these two characters is crucial and also visible in the end result. Or maybe I only see it as a photographer. I think no matter how hard someone tries to make you feel good, either the energy is real or it is just not the right one. If the feeling is wrong, my body consciously sends signals that tell me that it is not the right thing to work with this photographer or model.
Where are your limits when it comes to photography? Are there limits as to pain limits?
I think as soon as it goes towards child pornography or necrophilia, the fun stops with me.
What was your last project and what will your next be?
My last project was a recording studio documentation for an upcoming EP and my next project is the cover shoot for the same EP.