Spela Kasal’s photography career started shortly after her art school training in her hometown Ljubljan (Slovenia) where she undertook Graphic Design at the University for Fine Arts and Design, spending the last year of her studies in Paris at ESAG, Penninghen. Spela has been working as a freelance photographer in fashion, portraiture, fine art, advertising and her various collaborations include clients such as Louis Vuitton, Veronique Leroy, L’Officiel Paris, Purple Magazine amongst others.
Her newly released book “The Feeling I Get When I’m With You” offers a series of Spela’s personal work. The book takes you on a 3 year poetic journey capturing photos of friends and various travel destinations.
We chatted with the Paris based photographer about her new book, musings and future plans.
Interview by: Redia Soltis
Copy Editor: Tina Shabani
(All photos by Spela Kasal from her book “The Feeling I Get When I’m With You“)
Where is your home base?
My home base is in Paris.
How did you get interested in photography?
I was studying graphic design at ‘Academy of Fine Arts’ in my hometown Ljubljana. The first course that I took in photography got me mesmerized and hooked for life.
What is the last photo that had an impact on you?
There are many but I was particularly happy to discover Garry Winogrand’s work. It is so fresh and modern with beautiful light!
What was the last place you fell in love with?
It was on my recent road trip across the USA. I fell in love with the vastness of the country, the amazing landscapes, ever changing lights and colours. The long drives got tiring at times but I was grateful to have done it regardless. I’m working on a book project from this trip and an exhibition.
What music were you into as a child?
In my childhood years I was into Nena, the ‘Top Gun’ soundtrack and Whitney Houston. These were the hardcore eighties! As a teenager I was a rebel and was really passionate about grunge. I was into bands like Rage Against The Machine, Faith No More, Ice T, Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Which photographers have inspired your work?
When I started to be interested in photography it was the beginning of Juergen Teller, Corinne Day and ID Magazine. I was also a huge fan of Nan Goldin and Araki while studying. Wolfgang Tillmans is one of my favourite artists and I love Stephen Shore. There are too many great photographers!
What makes a photo touching?
Good light, fragility and honesty. A relationship between the sitter and photographer.
Describe a perfect day?
It includes sun, nature, no internet connection, sea, friends. And my contax.
You were once a model. How did that happen for you?
I was approached on the street at 19 years old while visiting a friend in New York city. It was pretty cool for the time being. I quit modelling after I passed the exams to enter art school. It was a great time that allowed me to travel, get to know myself and the world of fashion. I think it now helps me to better understand and connect with the girls that I’m shooting.
How has modelling transcended into your photography?
It had a strong influence. I got to understand the fashion industry a bit more intimately. It got me really engaged and inspired for the first time.
Who is your dream muse that you want to photograph?
That’s a hard question. There isn’t one in particular but there are a few girls who are on my top list. I really like Julie Hoomans at the moment. Also, Malgosia is really beautiful, as well as Harleth Kuusik, Ine Neefs, Guinevere Van Seenus, Annely Bouma and Natalie Westling.
Does having architect parents influence your work?
The environment that I was brought up in did and still does. The things my parents showed me marked me. They still are an important source for me as I’m very visual. When I speak to my father about my work it always surprises me that he understands my language. It makes me happy that he always knows which images are good.
It seems that you are busy traveling and shooting. Is time precious to you? What do you do with your spare time?
It is. I really like to do nothing for a while when I have time off and rest with no internet. Traveling fills my batteries. I’m also really into yoga and try to maintain a consistent practice even when I’m working. It’s important to have some time off. It gives me time to think about photography, new projects and directions I want to take.
Have you ever been in love?
What song do you love right now?
I’m obsessed with Paco de Lucia, Entre dos Aguas. I love it!
I have periods that are filled with music and periods with less music. At the moment music is back and it fuels me.
You just had a book release at Ofr.Paris for your book ‘The Feeling I get when I’m with you’, can you tell us why you chose this title and its visual story?
The images in this book include a collection of my work that I have been working on for the past 3 years. The photos were taken during my travels. It’s great that it was edited and created by ‘OMO Creates’, the team behind Modern Matter Magazine. I started to think about the title once the concept of the book was finalized. Since it is a collection of the images that appear random at the first, I thought the title should be like one of the images and can stand on its own. It can be romantic, a bit girly, you can take it serious or not, it’s up to you. But for me the title relates to all the images.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years regarding personal projects?
Exhibiting more, publishing more books. I want to keep doing the same things with more freedom and a family! That would be great.
Check out selected photos by Spela Kasal here