Personal Interview With Nina Pak Fine Art Photographer And Painter
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: I don’t usually enjoy talking about myself or my work. I feel it is maybe too close to my heart. Too private, a part of my soul.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: I am very deeply focused when doing creative work, I can concentrate for hours and forget to eat.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: Twenty years ago I was a painter, I took a photography class at a community college to
learn how to document my art, it was getting expensive to hire someone to make slides.
but then I discovered the magic of the dark room, and found I could express so many of my visions with a photograph which alluded my talent as a painter.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: It is a way to make tangible what I see in my dreams.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: No, but I love every new image, it is a favorite until I make the next one.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Just a few classes here and there. I have been studying Alt process techniques from some true masters of the art, and feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: Not at all. I am a feeling type.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I do it all the time.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: Oh I can work anywhere, I lived for more than 20 years in the desert of Arizona, I loved it there, now I am in Vancouver Canada, the two worlds could not be more different. I love both environments, they each have their won beauty. And I love to travel.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: It is the substance of love, the spirit of life, the perfect balance.
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: In English I always loved the visual impact of the word verdant. but it is not a word you have much opportunity to use! I dislike the word callous, no matter how it is used, it
indicates something no longer supple, something hardened and unable to bend.
Oh and I also really don’t care for profanity, I think it just lazy, even if you are really upset there are so many more powerful or elegant words to express it.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I guess I am a bit more outgoing, I am never rude, but I can be a little bossy. I work fast. I know what I want, I have no problem to direct the model or make suggestions. Most people don’t expect me to move that fast, because I am usually such a calm person.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: I have not had that problem.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: In what way? I tend to work until I am pleased with what I do, so If I am content, then I am not a failure. If you mean commercial success, I think everyone would like to make a good income doing what they love. And any artist would enjoy to create something worthy of being remembered. So in that sense, yes, I would like to do something exceptional. I worry sometimes, that there will not be time.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: I am moved by the Italian Renaissance especially Botticelli, and the pre Raphaelite painters such as Rosetti and Waterhouse. I also love the works of Eugene Garriere, Julia Margaret Cameron, Ramedios Varo.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its
creation or meaning to you?
A: The Primavera by Botticelli. There is a soul connection, I have a deep tenderness for it. Something pure and magical and full of symbolic meaning.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Oh that is not very interesting. I take pictures and then work at the computer for hours.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Marketing. I would rather make the work than sell it. I am a bit in awe of my artist friends I have who are outgoing in nature, fearless, and confident, who have no trouble tooting their own horn, I could never do it. And yet they are the ones who sell their work. I have always lived too much in a dream world, the ways of the world allude me.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: I am not very technical, I have a camera which can do so many more things than I have
bothered to learn. I always fells sort of guilty about that. I know I could do some different
interesting things with the tools I have if I would take the time to figure them out.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: People. I prefer someone with character, someone who has allot inside of them, I find it a wonderful mystery to discover what is there.
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: I have given it some thought, I don’t have a story… how boring. I have plenty of unusual situations, which from the outside, to normal everyday folks would seem bizarre, but that is sort of my life… so no I don’t have anything scary relating to me as a photographer. Or anything really funny either. I have a few I could tell from when I was a model.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the
A: I have a number of artistic expressions, I like to paint, I do music projects, I like to write, draw, so if I am somewhere with out a camera, I do something else. As long as I can be creative, I am content. I do hate it when I am dreaming and I take lovely pictures, then I wake up and realize I don’t have them with me.
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: No I have never had time in any day to finish everything I have in mind to do, I always have more ideas than I can realize and more visions than I can put make material.
The only thing that I find annoying is that there are so few years given to us, that it took so long to realize that I did not have to go looking for my self, that I am right her, and complete, or at least not lacking all the things I traveled the world looking for. And there was so much time lost trying to figure it out.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Anything with a little mystery or magic, Any collaboration with artists I admire.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: Oh well they have that dream quality, they are missing something, but in the lack of color, you find the moody feelings that are so often overlooked in an ordinary colorful world.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: When I was young I never called myself an artist, I felt it was for other people to say, if they felt I deserved it. But as I got older and I found there wasn’t really anything else I would rather do, and not much else I was good at, I decided I had better have something to say when people asked me what I do. So now I simply use it, because people understand in a superficial way what you are about. And that is what titles are anyway, they don’t tell you anything meaningful. Even when they get more specific and have letters after your name.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: I wish I could tell you, people ask me and I never really know how to describe it, if you have any brilliant ideas let me know. I would love to start a new art movement, but then you have to know what to call it.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: Some people seem to share the same dream worlds. I love finding those who do.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: I am a sleepwalker.
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: The Female muses and icons of my time… to name a few: Isabelle Adjani, Emmanuelle Béart, Annette Bening, Cate Blanchett, Catherine Deneuve, Mia Farrow, Isabelle Huppert, Anjelica Huston, Grace Jones, Milla Jovovich, Nastassja Kinski, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Julianne Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Natalie Portman, Charlotte Rampling, Vanessa Redgrave, Diana Rigg, Julia Roberts, Mimi Rogers, Susan Sarandon, Jane Seymour, Madeleine Stowe, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Emma Thompson, Jennifer Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Liv Tyler, Rachel Ward, Naomi Watts, Catherine Zeta – Jones.
I would love to make a book of the modern muse.
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Spend at least 50 % of your time marketing your work. This is what my practical husband advice and I am sure he is right.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: They are like salesmen at used car lot. They have that hungry ghost attitude, no balance for life or perspective about who they are viewing, or how they might be harmed.
I generally dislike anyone who does not respect someone’s privacy. They are part of our
modern world obsession with glamour, and fame and ruin.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I use Photoshop, I manipulate my photos. Even if it is just as simple as giving someone a clean complexion, or correcting the color values, I love what the modern digital world has done for photography. I have friends who are strictly old school printers, I admire them.
I also love wet lab printing, and alt processes. But it seems the old printing techniques are becoming a separate art. What I miss about the wet lab are the mistakes, those accidents that give you some wonderful surprising outcome. The unrepeatable, one of a kind, precious,
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: To be an artist and especially a photographer or film maker in our time, is such a meaningful and potentially powerful opportunity to create hope and beauty in a time when fear, uncertainty and neglect are all too common.