Impulsive, foolish, spirited: The creative mind of photographer Maša Stanić
Maša Stanić has made a name of herself within the creative scene with kind of a laissez-faire approach to photography. Her photos often show nudity, middle fingers, and the most ordinary motives. While some may see her as a provocateur, the artist would never describe herself like that. We had a chat with Maša about what she is doing, doubting, and what she is dreaming of.
How did you first get into photography?
My parents bought a small camera for vacations when I was around 15 years old. That’s where I started to carry it around with me, experimenting, taking pictures of friends. Just trying stuff out.
What three words describe your work best?
Impulsive, spirited, foolish.
What role does spontaneity play in your work?
A huge role. If it’s not a job (and some jobs as well) all of my work mostly depends on the surrounding, the location, and the moments. I see myself a bit as a hunter. I don’t rule staging out though. A good combination between spontaneity and staging is my golden rule. But I am trying to become a bit more planned and to work more based on topics and series. Let’s see how that works out haha.
Creative work is known to be accompanied by a lot of questioning and doubts. Where do you find motivation and inspiration to move forward in difficult times?
At first, I am always on the move. As soon as I’m not happy about my work (which is the case very often) I don’t crawl myself into bed. I start to find another project and hope that that one will make me happy or bring me to the next step. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something in the field of photography and I don’t have to do it right away but it’s good to have ideas up your sleeve, which you can pull out whenever you have free time for it. In between, I grump and cry a lot and the doubt is very high. But doubt is the thing that keeps me moving.
I can’t really define what inspires me. It can be anything. From listening to a specific song while driving a car; to my best friend’s fart. Literally anything. I try to stay away from other photographers’ work as an inspiration, especially on Instagram. I think that looking around too much can also make you doubt a lot about your own work and it can also get in the way between what is a so-called trend and your own signature in your work. So suddenly you do something because it’s cool or wanted and you forget who you are. I think we are really doomed with this social media era. How can anyone be happy surrounded by always seeing “bigger, better, more beautiful”. Sucks balls.
You study at the prestigious Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna and have already built up an impressive portfolio. What’s your advice for people who are just getting started in the art/design world?
NO PRESSURE! If you don’t have your own style, if you don’t know where your interest lies, if you’re lost in all the opportunities and possibilities, just give yourself time for experimenting, creating, and failing. You will figure it out. BUT: be a workhorse. Nothing comes from nothing.
You are known for showing lots of nudity in your work – especially people’s asses. Do you see yourself as a provocateur?
I can see why people think that about my work, but actually, I don’t see myself as a provocateur at all. I just admire everything that is odd and I love a good laugh. And asses can be really funny. But I’m not trying to provoke anyone.
What has been your favorite project so far? Or which one has been your favorite ass to shoot?
There is a project I did with the Taubenkobel. It is a gourmet restaurant and a super sweet hotel in Burgenland, Austria. I can’t say a lot about the project until it’s out. But this is my masterpiece (for now).
You have a following of 21k people on your Instagram and have built up a brand around yourself. Does social media benefit your work?
Well, I demonized social media in the question before. Of course, it has been a good push as well. But as you mentioned, sometimes the content might be a little bit “provoking“ and then it can also be that I lose some jobs because I am not the basic “influencer” and because it’s too “edgy” or whatever. I hate those words haha.
You shoot exclusively analogue but are an “outfluencer” on Instagram. What´s your choice: digital or analogue?
I’d always go for analogue. Often I am very nostalgic about a time I wasn’t even born. I romanticize generations before phones and likes, not being reachable all the time. Everything is much slower and with less pressure. But since we are in this digital century, you cannot move back, only forth. It wouldn’t make any sense to not use these tools, since it’s becoming super huge and important. And of course, it can be fun as well. But I try to keep a balance for myself. I see “mafiamashi” as a creative hobby aside.
What kind of pictures would we find on the camera roll of your phone?
Well, out of 22165 pictures on my camera roll you’ll probably find everything you search for.
Is there any dream project or client you would want to work on or with?
This is a tough question. There is so much great stuff and people on this planet. But if I could go back in time, I would’ve loved to live Estevan Oriol’s life. He documented and contributed to the growth of LA hip hop and gang culture in the 90’s (Again I swirl in nostalgia). But now that I think about it, I would just love to have the time and money to travel around and spontaneously see where it gets me. That would be my dream project.