SachaMaric_interview_03

Sacha Maric (b. 1978) studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, graduating in 2000. His photographs have been exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in London, The Lowry in Manchester, Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Wales, Still Light in Barcelona, Sons of Studios and Playtype in Copenhagen. His first self-published book, Thrashers, was released in 2010. His second self-published book, Good Mother and Father, was released in Spring 2012. Maric divides his time between London and Copenhagen.


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric

Jacob Pastrovich: You originally didn’t go to university for photography. How’d you make your way to where you’re at now from other visual arts practices?

Sacha Maric: I studied Fine Art at Central St. Martins. Printmaking and photo-media was the department I was based at so I was taking pictures as an art student. After graduating I realized that I didn’t want to become an artist and wanted to try something more in the field of documentary photography. I became a photo assistant to Zed Nelson for a couple of years in London and after that I moved to Denmark where I started working as an editorial and commercial photographer, shooting fashion and portraiture. Within the last couple of years I have been interested in pursuing personal projects in the form of self published books.

JP: It’s interesting that you’ve made moves to more personal projects from your fashion work. Have you found that having a specific project for some time informs your fashion work?

SM: I don’t feel as if it has informed my fashion work. When possible I do enjoy taking a more conceptual idea-based approach to fashion, but the style I shoot for fashion varies from shoot to shoot, week to week — it really depends on my mood and what I happen to be into at the time.

JP: How does your previous interest in documentary photography tie in?

SM: My interest in documentary photography… it’s walking around with a camera hoping that a moment will arise that would make a good picture. The direct point and shoot style shot in black-and-white. There is a mix of these kinds of pictures and obvious set ups that I have pondered over and put together in my apartment. Sometimes it is stuff that I think would be visually interesting and work within the framework of my projects.


Cover of Good Mother and Father (Self-published, 2012)
© Sacha Maric

JP: Let’s talk about that notion — shooting photographs with a specific purpose or project in mind — in relation to your book Good Mother and Father. There are several leitmotifs that run throughout — death, sex, life, drugs, even food — that let the reader give it a narrative if they choose, to come up with a story for the parents. Did you have this idea from the start, then shoot the project, or were you pulling from your archive?

SM: I didn’t start the project with the ideas mapped out; it slowly evolved into what it is. The images in the book were all taken after my daughter was born, nothing was pulled from my archive. There are a couple of shots in there that were taken while I was out shooting for a client. As I started to accumulate images, I could see there was a thread running through them. I feel like it’s quite an honest, emotional project, reflective of how I felt becoming a first time parent. It’s a bit dark and unsettling at times, but this is an accumulation of my fears.

My wife had lost her job while she was pregnant and she ended up finding work quite soon after she gave birth. I took some leave from work to look after our daughter for a few months until she was old enough to go to daycare. I spent a lot of time walking the streets with her, going to the zoo, museums, the botanical gardens, etc. and I took a lot of pictures on these little excursions. I think this allowed me to really spend time on finding interesting images. At the same time I was dealing with a flood of emotions, and this influenced the project. Over the course of a couple of years, I had a lot of images to pull from and sequence. It was important that the pictures had a feeling without giving too much away. I like that the reader isn’t completely allowed into the project… I think the mystery is appealing.


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric

JP: That reading of the book isn’t even one that I had thought of. I’ve mostly read it as a set of primitive observations this child is having of her parents, who might be neglectful in some way or another. She sees things very naïvely — a knife, abuse, drug use, everyday objects — and they’re all sort of equal in her eyes because she doesn’t know what they are, they just exist and are a part of her life. In a way you’re still a documentarian, just sort of riffing off a different perspective.

SM: That’s a really interesting perspective you have on it. Didn’t even cross my mind to be honest, and I haven’t heard anyone interpret it in that way before.

JP: The book is truly beautiful, something I hope more than 250 people get to see. Any plans for a second printing or releasing it through a publishing house?

SM: I’m very happy to hear that you like my book — thanks. I’m contemplating if I should print a second edition. If I do, I’d like to change the format, make it larger, or smaller even. A new layout, new sequence. Unless a publishing house approaches me I am quite happy releasing it as self-published. I like to be in complete control over my personal projects and it’s fun to be involved with all aspects of the design and promotion.


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric


Untitled, from Good Mother and Father
© Sacha Maric

JP: Somehow I draw this connection between the way you lay your photographs next to one another in your book and how you sort of do the same thing in your fashion photography, even within a single shot. You lay one image directly on top of another to give some context, or you have a model holding seamless paper or you allow your viewer to see some sort of artifice within the frame and this ultimately gets them thinking on two levels. Is this a practice that you’re conscious of?

SM: I am conscious of it. I enjoy taking a conceptual approach with my fashion photography. Working in levels is far more interesting for me and I find it challenges my practice. I also hope it challenges the viewer. I have no interest in being a straight up fashion photographer or a straight up documentary photographer. Good Mother and Father was always going to be a book project, first and foremost. I was going to tell this story through sequences and layouts. Full page spreads and white space. Even the size of the book, the color of the cover, the paper weight and texture is as important to me as the pictures.


© Sacha Maric


© Sacha Maric


© Sacha Maric

JP: While you dance around conceptual photography, your photographs always have some narrative structure, or maybe I’m projecting… Do you ever find yourself pulling back a bit in order to make sure you’re still walking the line between nudging the viewer in the right direction and shoving them into a singular reading?

SM: I agree, there are narratives in my work, non-linear ones. At the moment I don’t find singular readings as interesting an approach to image-making. As long as the work isn’t one dimensional I am cool with letting it run wild for a bit. But of course there has to be some boundaries eventually, otherwise everything becomes garbled. If I create a framework and feeling and leave enough room for readers to interpret and be interested in my photographs, I’m happy.

JP: What directions do you see yourself going in in the next couple of years? Any projects in the works you care to share?

SM: If anything, I’d like to further explore the potential of publishing these projects of mine as books. I find both the possibilities and limitations of the format compelling.

With regard to new projects, I’m currently working on a series of around twenty images for a small book or zine that I hope to bring out by the middle of this year. It’s an amalgamation of new stuff, similar in style to the pictures in Good Mother and Father and older photographs that have been pulled from my archive, which were taken in post-war Rwanda and Croatia a few years ago. It’s called The Constant. It may end up being called something else as it nears completion — let’s see.


© Sacha Maric

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