An Interview with Andrea Zvadova - Photographer
Introduced to us by our musician friend MF Tomlinson, Andrea Zvadova was asked if she could capture some images of our beautiful gins. Given the brief of 'surrealism' and 'senses', she has created some stunning photography which we are lucky to have.
Find out a little bit more about Andrea in this interview between MF Tomlinson and herself:
Q1: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. How do you see yourself as an artist?
A1: I’m a London based photographer born in Slovakia and my main focus of work is beauty. I look for a particular kind of beauty. I am drawn to an unusual, less common, less predictable beauty, sometimes even to the darker side of it.
It took me a while to accept myself as an artist I’d say. I think coming from a non academic background you are trying to justify your actions and creations and also need to grow into it. I think this has been my journey and I’m still on the way to chisel out the ideal form in its ever changing fluidity.
Q2: What were your creative influences for this particular shoot? Could you tell us about your response to the illustrations of Olivia Knapp. You had some wonderful films and photographs on your mood boards…
A2: I loved the playful illustrations on the bottles. You can quickly switch to a place of imagination and find refreshing ideas. The first reactions and references that came on my mind were the ones from a world of Jules Verne and amazing Czech film director & artist Karel Zeman. It it is a world of fantasy and endless possibilities. This world sits in my imagination in the creations similar to Jan Svankmajer’s works and particularly a stunning film Dinner for Adele and many other beautifully bizarre films.
Q3: What draws you to playing with perspective as you do? What does the camera see that the eye cannot?
A3: It’s the surprises, the moment of unknown, the revelation and unpredicted beauty unveiling during the process.
An eye is an incredible thing, but what fascinates be about the camera we were using and the macro lens is when you get to see the detail on the screen or print later on. Those details your eyes can’t ever capture from up close are surprising.
Q4: In their book "Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia: On the Needles of Days" Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Michael Richardson and Ian Walker call former Czechoslovakia, "the location of the greatest concentration of Surrealist photography" and examine the culture and tradition within which it took root and flourished. Do you feel like your Slovakian heritage informs your work as a photographer? It seems it's a part of the world with a particularly rich tradition of photography and moving image work.
A4: Being born in Slovakia that was still part of Czechoslovakia during the communism would have an impact for sure. Limitations master your creativity, an artist may get more resourceful and original but I don’t think I am that strongly influenced by my Slovak heritage. Or at least I don’t see it myself that way. I do have a strong connection to nature, this definitely plays a big part of my observations and creations.
Q5: What does 'surreal' mean to you?
A5: A world that you nearly seem to touch and feel on your fingertips. A place where everything makes sense and doesn’t at the same time and lures you in, wants you to discover more.
Q6: Are you a gin drinker? What's your favourite tipple?
A6: Yes I am. A gin drink is always refreshing, there are some gins I even enjoy neat.
My favourite drink would be natural wine. Some people call it farmers wine, the good old wine without any chemical nasties and bit of cloudy colour.
Q7: What was your favourite moment or photograph from the Diviners shoot?
A7: It would have to be our warped imagery for sure, the world you could observe for ages and find fascinating moments and transformations. There is one particular photo of Apparition bottle with strange tropical fruits that I really like too.
Q8: What are you most excited about on the horizon?
A8: I would like to continue on my Pigment series and continue on other interesting portraits, plus creating new still lives I’ve been hatching plans for. Generally it would be great to travel freely again and meet all the friends and family when the pandemic ends. I crave new inputs, changes that help us runaway from the stereotypes. Let’s hope it’s time is near.