Maya Kapouski is a fantastic photographer and visual artist from Spain. She’s currently pursuing her PhD and shooting fashion, urban life, as well as documenting her life and everything surrounding it. Maya has worked on a variety of projects and assignments and her images are inspiring, original, and artistic. Six years of her photo diary is full of playful moments taking place in places ranging from forests to streets in many countries. For this showcase post, we have selected images from her fashion projects and diary to give an idea of her creativity which knows no bounds. Our interview begins:
Hi! I am Maya Kapouski, but my real name is Lucía García. I was born on 28th of October in A Coruña, a coastal city in the North-west of Spain, near the place defined such as the end of the world, Finisterre. At my childhood I was lucky that my parents let me develop many creative skills, so I have a lot many hobbies and do creative activities like music, dance, drawing classes, etc.
At the end of the high school I was not able to get the career of industrial design engineering so my mom suggested me to study one year course of Fine Arts. Now I realize that it was the best decision I took in my life. I always loved cinema, literature and travel and nowadays I have the good luck that these are inseparable and required things in my job.
I have been always in relationship with cameras because my father was a photography enthusiast. When I was a child, he always took his cameras to our vacations and events and he always had the patience to teach me how a camera works. He was working with analog cameras and when he taught me the digital photography was already at its boom. It was a very good chance for me to learn film photography because that allowed me to think differently to “the digital users” when taking pictures.
My photography became serious at the end of my studies. I never thought about becoming a photographer. I was in love with conceptual art because I saw it like a game, but I began to take pictures like the way artists make sketches. My photography became better and better and suddenly people began to ask me to take the pictures of their projects, designs etc… Nowadays it is my full time job!
Photography for me is like a need. I can’t avoid taking pictures everyday. And it is important for me to know that I am doing good work. I have two different modes of work: on one hand I take pictures of other people, the fashion or editorial part of my work. In this part I have a long preparation and process with meeting with clients, research of references, locations, ideas… and, at the end, the photo shooting day. On the other hand is my personal job, the diaries and personal projects. This part is just opposite. There isn’t a preparation or immediacy – it is only the photography moment. The ideas fly faster and my mind works in a curious way, it is not necessary to build the composition before, it’s about finding the composition.
My favourite key for my work, or the thing I think I’m looking for when I’m taking pictures is the “whimsical element”. I love the “extraordinarily ordinary” photography, when nothing happens and you feel like “how someone could take attention in this normal thing to take a picture”. But I love more when in this ordinary calm appears an strange element and you have the sensation that this shouldn’t be there or the relationship with the element of the composition is strange. I think this kind of pictures produced on me an “internal error” of my mind and makes me to be thinking in this image for time.
My favourite camera is analog Pentax ME, the first camera that my father gave me and Olympus XA. In digital I always work with Canon. I’m not a very good editor but I’m in process of learning it better. I don’t retouch a lot my photos (only color and exposition in digital work) but this doesn’t mean that I’m not in accordance with the post production work. This year I met very good editors and they opened me a new way of work. It’s other way to compose images. Is not my usually way of work but I think I will try it in the future.
Film is the way of working where I feel better. It’s the way I learned and it’s the process I love more: You have to think more before taking the picture because you can’t see it in the back of your camera so you have to visualize it in your mind. And the waiting process to see the resulting images and the overall excitement, is amazing!
My father used to say that light is most important in photography but it was probably for my art education. I was more interested in the color and the textures of my photography. My beginnings were very fruitful because I didn’t want to be a good photographer, I didn’t mind if the pictures was not perfect, I only wanted to experiment and to make different things, so mistakes become my best friends. I didn’t like the photography books and manuals, I preferred the artists who were making strange experiments with their cameras, who bought old cameras to break them and to get veiled films, who froze their rolls, to use lapsed films… so this allowed me to have a “big box of tricks” that I still use.
Along the years I feel such as my work is becoming more and more correct so every spring-summer I make a big effort to drive myself crazy and reset my mind to begin to make more mistakes in my work to have more different results.
Nowadays the best and the worst of contemporary photography is that everybody can have knowledge of photography and a good camera. This is the best because there are a lot of people taking pictures and showing their work and their view, being creative and building their own universe. But at the same time it is the worst because the “big bosses” of the art think that photography is something that everybody can do and it’s not art. I don’t know why because everybody can also have a brush… but I like this fight between what is art and what is not because while they are fighting there are a lot of people out of this discussion making really lovely things without being concerned about what they are doing is art or what…
I don’t know if my style or what I do is different to other photographer, for some of them it is but for other it is more similar, but I like to think that the most of us are only trying to make things to share because we love what we do and we want to share this love, and the way you can feel good with what you do, to others.
The best place to take photographs is the place you are in for the very first time. When you see a place for first time everything is awesome and it’s easier to take pictures because everything is calling your attention. And when you go back to your place you still have this “open mind” and it’s easier to see new things in your ordinary ambient, so this is the reason for what it’s so important to me to travel.
I hope to follow my photography every day but I hope to have more free time and the opportunity to see new places and to travel. I would like to have time to make some personal projects I have in my notebooks. I’m learning new ways of work, specially in digital photography, because I always had a little hate for this process and I think I can give it a second opportunity and to deep more in it.
Every time someone ask me for my favourite photographers I feel I say different names because I have a very very long list of photographers that I like but, at the same time, I prefer to have references from other creative areas, such as writers or films. I love the work of Duane Michals because his work is very conceptual, and it is more than just images. I like Francesca Woodman or the new boom of Vivian Maier and the colorful world of William Eggleston. In contemporary artists I like Synchrodogs.
This is not the first time I say this but I think is the best I can say: Don’t be afraid of being wrong. Let yourself make what you love and what you think. Hear your heart and take risks, and be wrong again and again, this is the best way to open new ways and to innovate.