Tatjana Zlatkovic transforms everyday objects into pleasantly surreal works of art.
The product, still life and food photographer seamlessly blends her sharp eye with her background in architecture (for which she earned a Master’s degree from the University of Belgrade) to capture everything from flowers to just about every dessert imaginable.
Each work originates as an abstract idea, which Tatjana then brings to life through a series of careful considerations of shape, color, light and texture. Embracing elements of fashion, minimalism and surrealism, she gives each of these quotidian subjects an unexpected twist. Here, we take a closer look at her process.
How does your background in architecture influence your approach to photography?
In my opinion architecture is a way of thinking. In that way, it gives me methodology on how to do things, how to approach each project and how to take in everything in life. It affects how I match materials together, how I think about shapes in a scene and how they relate, and how I create compositions.
Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you plan out a shoot?
At the beginning I have an abstract idea. I am trying to materialize it by finding a product/food that I am going to make a scene with. Duringthat time, I am thinking about their shapes, colors, textures, how they complement each other and about the light I am going to use. Sometimes, I have to shoot a particular product/food and to highlight its shape or a material. The process is the same, but the inspiration is different.
Can you speak to your relationship with color? How do you go about choosing the colors for a particular shoot and how does the color scheme help you tell a story?
For me, color is as important as texture or the shape of an object I am going to shoot. Sometimes, the color is my inspiration for a shoot, and sometimes it helps me to better explain relations between shapes in the scene. In some photos, I use color to make contrast, and sometimes the absence of color emphasizes something else in the scene.
You’re also influenced by art and trends in fashion–what are some that are top of mind for you at the moment?
I am very inspired by the new materials that are present in fashion. I really like to to use and experiment with them in my photos and see how they “work.” In my work it’s very clear that I am influenced by the minimalism movement.
Many of your works have a bit of a surrealist feel to them. Is that intentional? What do you hope people take away from your work?
Yes, it’s intentional. I always try to represent my ideas by making a scene with products/food and I like to experiment with it by using them in a new, unordinary, way. I would like to people see more than just the product or food that is in the photo.
What’s one of your favorite foods and/or products to shoot?
I really love to shoot fashion accessories, like earrings and cosmetics, especially soaps. When we talk about food, I find macarons quite interesting for shooting.