Zlatka M Burtis Fine Art

ZLATKA BURTIS - ARTIST STATEMENT

Photography

As an artist and photographer, I prefer focusing on traditional methods of photography from the height of the profession's most romantic and elegant era. While every other photographer in the world seems to be racing to find the latest digital enhancement, I hold true to the deeply satisfying mystique of the darkroom and the joys of film photography. This hands-on approach gives me total control. It challenges me to try to perfect the process and produce the images that I see in my mind. I spend hours in the darkroom and never tire of the process - the magic produced by the light and chemicals remains breathtaking

Making each image a one-of-a-kind is important to me. There are no computers involved. Each photograph is painstakingly made by hand. I favor medium-format film, silver gelatin paper and traditional darkroom techniques, sometimes adding a final toning process to enhance the print. Drawing from my love of painting, oftentimes I will hand-color the print to highlight a subject or draw attention to certain aspects, further making each print like no other.

Watercolor Painting

I am also an avid watercolor painter. Unlike my planned, constructed and realistic photographs, my watercolor paintings are typically spontaneous, organically raw and perhaps a little abstract; the Yin for my photography's Yang. Sometimes, it will take me weeks to finish one watercolor composition, as I expose and draw on my own emotions and memories.

Self-taught, I like to let the water guide me in my paintings. I am not afraid to make mistakes. In fact, I embrace them. They help me take my art to another level of perspective that can give my work added depth.

I strive to bring my personal touch and feelings to every composition. My soul is connected to things I touch and feel. It fuels the passion for my painting. Everything has meaning and purpose. I invite you to look closely at my art and see what you can find.

PROJECTS

Newspaper Dolls

See the Newspaper Dolls Gallery

The idea for "Newspaper Dolls" came to me in late September 2014, while shooting a fashion assignment in my portrait photography class. I was inspired to photograph models wearing fashion that I created. To me, fashion is another form of art, but I don't know how to sew. My first "fabric" was wrapping paper, however that didn't work to my satisfaction. Through trial and error, I created dresses, skirts, tops, accessories and an elaborate ballroom gown without a single stitch — just meticulously folding, rolling, cutting, taping and stapling newspaper.

Each model, none of whom was a professional, has a dress specifically made for her that I tailored on the set before the photo shoot. Doing this, I was able to connect my vision with the model and my dress, giving each photograph a life and look of its own.

The photographs were shot on medium-format, black-and-white film that I developed and printed in the darkroom. Most of the prints were toned and then hand colored.

Working on this project gives me a different perspective of fashion photography. It's exciting and challenging, bringing together the dresses, models, hair-and-makeup artists and set up the studio. It gives me an opportunity to express my ideas in different ways. Each dress, each photograph, inspires another.