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A self professed fan of romanticism and cynicism, Ljubljana based photographer Tanja Gorsic tracks the aesthetics around with a naturally satirical approach. The results are images that may simultaneously draw you in and trigger a giggle. Imagine sunbathers in repose next to  heavy lifting equipment, or the lovely patterns that are created by forgotten bottles left upon the sand and you’ll begin to get the picture. NH&P had the opportunity to discover a bit more about this artist who has such a symbiotic relationship with her surroundings.

NEW HEROES & PIONEERS (NH&P)
Hi Tanja! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and photography with NH&P and our readers. When we first communicated you were working on the Suntan Clan series. Can you tell us how that is coming along and if you are into more current projects at the moment?

TANJA GORSIC (TG)
Hi, Kathy, thanks for this opportunity, it’s a pleasure to chat with you. Yes, the Suntan Clan series is an ever-evolving thing, I thought it was finished, but then I always find more inspiration every time I visit a beach. I just find there is something magical about the beach: it is a place where everyone feels free to let go of their inhibitions. Even a few meters away (e.g. a nearby parking lot) few people would feel the need to strip down to their undies, but at the beach it seems a logical thing to do. I especially enjoy beaches during off-season, when it is not (yet) warm, so the brave ones stand out even more. I love such contradictions. Also, I like the compositions people inadvertently make in their surroundings

NH&P
As well you mentioned the Greetings series. Please tell us a bit about this one as well.

TG
That is a more of a subtitle. I am working towards getting the series published as a tearable postcard stack so people can really send them to friends as “greetings”, or hang on a wall – it’s a small contribution to the vanishing world of analogue post. I love everything about it, choosing a postcard, taking the time to write it, and I also love it when I get one in the mailbox.

NH&P
You are based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It looks very beautiful to internet travellers like myself who have never had the opportunity to visit. How long have you been based there and what most fascinates you about the area?

peaceful 2_L

TG
I was born in Ljubljana, and have been living in various parts of the city for most of my life (except for a brief period in Barcelona). So this is my home town, I like the fact that it is small enough to navigate it by bike, but sometimes, the smallness can be a bit stifling.

The city centre is medieval and pretty but increasingly touristy. In terms of interesting parts of the city, I am more fascinated by the part where I currently live, a large neighbourhood of tall, concrete socialist-era apartment buildings and sports facilities, which is sometimes called Olympic village as a joke.

But undoubtedly, the best part about Slovenia’s smallness is that within one hour’s drive you can reach either the Alps or the Adriatic Sea – my favourite, where the climate is quite different, warmer during the winter, and has lovely light.

NH&P
Given its beauty, Ljubljana looks likes it is popular tourist destination. If true, do you see a deep division between what tourists see and what the locals do? Does that division influence your artistic pursuits in any way?

TG
It is true, Ljubljana has become very touristy in the last years, and it gets very crowded during the summer. We are still not quite used to that. Just five years ago there were literally no tourists here. Also, most of the money is being poured into the city centre, so little or no attention is being paid to the less attractive neighbourhoods, such as the one I mentioned before, where nothing has changed since the late 1980s – except getting dozens of international food stores. What I really see as a downside is that almost no money is being left for culture.

NH&P
Getting into the motifs found in your work we see street scenes, Adriatic coastal beaches and plant photography. You have called Suntan Clan “purposely un-touristy frames of overcrowded beaches, funny details, or just things people leave on the beach to “mark” their territory.” What spurred the fascination with capturing this side of the beach lifestyle?

TG
I am drawn to the funny side of holiday making, maybe because there are simply too many generic selfies going around. So, I focused on the crowds, the funny compositions people inadvertently make with their surroundings, and the things people leave to mark their territory. These tiny personal territories bear a lot of character, and they offer an insight into our behaviour. In most motifs, I usually try to combine a satirical approach with aesthetics.

NH&P
You have said that you enjoy spending your free time slowly – immersing yourself in nature, visiting deserted areas, tourists spots off season and other lonely places. what compels you to capture this charm of desolation?

TG
Empty landscapes open your mind, give you space to fill them with your own interpretation.

NH&P
Many of your photos have a colour palate similar to Wes Anderson films- warm, pastel, eternally sunny. With a sure bet that you’re a fan, what inspires you about his work and has he in any way influenced the way you photograph?

TG
If I was influenced I was not aware of it, but it is true I admire Wes Anderson’s work very much, so the comparison sounds very flattering! I like how he creates his unique universe of colors, music, really unusual characters and unexpected stories. His movies are, to me, some of the funniest, nicest, warmest stuff done today. I see it as quiet rebellion against logic, rationality, and ordinary (mundane) life.

NH&P
Who and what else also inspires you- yourself and/ or work?

TG
I am inspired and influenced by the environment that surrounds me. The Adriatic Sea is a big draw for me, it somehow transports me into a different state of mind. I love the light there, the atmosphere, vegetation, and the rocky terrains.

In terms of photographers I like the work of Martin Parr, Juergen Teller, and Wolfgang Tillmans, to name just a few. You already mentioned Wes Anderson, and I also like the black and white classics. I like a lot of music too, but seeing that it’s impossible to list everything, I’ll just mention Erik Satie, Jenny Wilson and Tom Waits. So, a mixture of romanticism and cynicism.

NH&P
Emotions. Everybody has them. Especially artists. When you see something you know you want to photograph, what do you experience inside? And when you capture it, does it set you free?

TG
I experience either unrest, a burst of energy, or total focus, which makes me forget about time, myself, and everyone else – and I like this the most. When I’m done it’s either bliss or frustration, depending on how well I managed to capture it. Sometimes I do a few spontaneous snaps and love the results, and other times, a scene or a theme keeps haunting (or intriguing) me, so I have to return to it again and again.

NH&
I also wonder if this emotional journey has evolved over the years. And relevant here- how long have you been using photography as an artistic medium?

TG
I have been taking photos since I got my first 35 mm Olympus point-and-shoot as a teenager. So for a long time I was just snapping away at holidays, friends, parties, no hidden agenda there. Slowly I grew more interested in photography. For some time I did concert photography, and also did work for a few publications, like reportages and portraits, which still interest me a lot. In the last three or four years I have been more focused on developing a visual language, a more unique voice and started photographing much more.

@tanja_gorsic

NH&P
Going offtrack for a second- one of your photos features a photo of a man unloading items, included among them are a few pieces of taxidermy. Is taxidermy popular in Ljubljana? Are you a fan?

TG
Ha ha, it’s an old one, but I kind of like it, because it’s really weird. There’s so much drama between the half of the human, the boar head and deer. Otherwise, taxidermy has its potentials, it has some kind of old nobility charm, and it is definitely making a comeback, at least as a prop in hipster bars. In truth I am a little scared of the stuffed animals, it’s like their glassy eyes are following you everywhere.

@tanja_gorsic

NH&P
One of my favourite photographs of yours is a recent post of an empty pool. I love the colour spectrum and gradient. This photo looks as if it may have been edited, unlike most of your works. Can you share with us your process- what equipment you use and how you approach editing?

TG
Thank you. That one is actually not edited at all, it’s a scan of an analogue photo and the gradient is just an accidental light leak. I don’t think I could have recreated such an organic looking effect with the use of photo editing. I am not a huge fan of editing in general, but I do use Photoshop when needed, especially with digital photos I feel some basic tweaks are necessary.

I use various cameras. For digital work I recently switched to Canon Eos M3, before I had a 40D. I also like to use analogue cameras, Canon program ae-1 and Olympus mju ii. I like film because sometimes it has a life of its own so I decided I’ll use it more in the future.

I also use smartphone camera a lot, mainly because it is always with me, and so it offers an immediate and intuitive way of expression. When I shoot with the phone camera I use vsco app for editing, but try to not overuse the filters. I like the fact that mobile photography is becoming a recognized aspect too.

NH&P
What can we look forward to in the future? What is your next project?

TG
In the future I plan to focus more on analogue film. I’d also love to learn about the darkroom. Plus, I’m starting to brainstorm about a series connected with my childhood, growing up during the last years of Yugoslavia. I am also organising a mini exhibition of the Greetings photos / postcards.

NH&P
Thank you for sharing Tanja. We look forward to seeing more work from you.

Tanja responded positively when we asked if she would be open to collaborating with other creatives amongst our readership. If you are an artist who is interested in teaming up with this Slovenian talent, reach out to her (contact below) and let us know so we can track the project!

IG: https://www.instagram.com/fototensi/?hl=en

Tanja’s prints are available here: http://fiftyfifty.gallery/

Tanja’s Tumblr: tanjagorsic.tumblr.com/

Collaborate with Tanja by contacting: photography.tanja.gorsic@gmail.com

Written by

Writer at large; Singer for Panda Transport; Lover in Lomma Sweden; Made in the USA

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