Scrolling through photographer Sanja Marušić’s Instagram feed is a disorienting experience. Her experimental approach to colour and composition creates images that challenge your senses – what are you really seeing? Why is she presenting certain things in certain ways? Still, her pictures clearly strike a chord, as evidenced by her 10,000 Instagram followers. We caught up with the Dutch-Croatian creative to discuss her individual approach to image-making.
How would you describe your style of photography? What for you makes an interesting picture?
I don’t like it if there’s too much going on, but it’s interesting if there’s something happening you can’t really explain.
A lot of time the time my photographs are collages, with avant-garde models standing in futuristic wide and empty landscapes. I like to create a surreal and alienating effect. I experiment a lot with colours; I choose them intuitively.
I like it when the colours are in perfect harmony, but that’s more of a feeling I can’t explain. And it’s important for me that my photographs have something abstract, whether it’s the (manipulated) empty landscape or the pose of the model.
There is still some differences of opinion around manipulated imagery – is that something you think about? Why do you find it an interesting process to work with?
I used to think it was a weakness that I manipulated my photos, like they were not good enough in the first place. But that was when I used to look at all the old analogue street documentary photos – now I know they manipulated those images as well (but maybe not as much as I do).
Even when I use Photoshop, I like it when the images still have something real or raw, an analogue feeling. I don’t like it when images feel too computer-ish.
Which part of the process do you enjoy the most – the shoot or the post-production? How are the creative challenges in both parts different?
I used to say I like the post-production the most, but that was when I only made single images. Now I have to work in series and all the photos have to fit with each other, so you can’t go crazy on each one.
I’m struggling with that. I still like post-production but it has become a bit harder for me. And the difference between them is post-production has more freedom. It’s possible to create something like a flying bed – it might not be beautiful but it’s possible! You can do what you like. But with the photography itself I am limited to what’s there when I shoot it.