Kind of Light: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Matjaž Tančič: I had pretty regular childhood growing up in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Initially, the biggest impact to my photography were trips abroad with my family… Sweden, where I took my first photo. Rome, where I spent my saving on two instant cameras. Vienna, where I received my first camera for my birthday. Paris, where I lost that same camera. London, where I studied fashion photography. Beijing, where I’m currently living and working.
KoL: How would you describe your style of photography? What kind of effect, if at all, did your travels and stay in China have on your work?
MT: I would love to call it a mixture of journalism and fashion since I love to shoot on location… I love to travel, ride around on my motorcycle and discover new interesting locations for my photo shoots. In addition to finding interesting locations, when you are shooting outside, sometimes something unexpected can happen that you can include in your photographs. Either people, interesting natural light, objects… China has a completely different environment than Europe which definitely inspires me in many different ways.
KoL: You had a chance to collaborate with prestigious magazines and companies such as Vogue, L Officiel, Playboy, Mercedes Benz Magazine, Modna, Inspire and Look de Book. For many aspiring photographers, this sounds like a dream job. How and when did you decide to pursue photography as a career?
MT: Well nothing good ever comes easy… Hard, constant work, meeting inspiring people and a bit of luck… Photography was a hobby at first, but as more and more payed jobs came in and my desire to be a professional photographer grew I decided that I wanted to fully dedicate myself to photography. I went to study fashion photography in London College of Fashion where I specialised in fashion photography.
KoL: What value do you see in working on personal projects — creating for the sake of creating, as opposed to commercial works?
MT: Well first of all when it comes to personal work you have more passion doing it since it is your vision, idea… You can work longer on a personal project so of course the end result can be better… So personal project generate interest and more commercial projects. Commercial projects generate money for personal projects…It goes hand in hand.
KoL: Has your perception of the fashion industry changed at all now that you’re immersed in it as a photographer?
MT: Well definitely you see the whole industry from a whole new perspective. You know more about fashion through history of mankind so you can also use more references when it come to you work. You follow the trends more and you see how the whole fashion industry works… There is much more in the fashion industry than just some pretty girls and an extravagant fashion designer…
KoL: How do you decide what photos to keep in your portfolio?
MT: Well lots of time it is quite a hard job to select… You are emotionally attached to some photographs and this it could blur your decision. So lots of time it is cool to get a second opinion from a fellow photographer, editor. But basically I think every photographer thinks that his last project is the best one and therefore you put lots of newer photos in to the portfolio… (laughs)
KoL: Are you formally taught or self taught? And what has been the best source of information along this journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)?
MT: I was a self-taught photographer at first. But I wanted to learn more, especially theory (art history, contemporary art, philosophy) so therefore I have decided, after graduating in Slovenia in Tourism management, to go study photography. There was also a great online community – 3delavnica.com – where you published your work and people commented on it which definitely helped me a lot in the beginning stage of my photography. Besides that I have also attended several workshops that are held in Slovenia every summer – Fotopub where you can meet other photographers, seen exhibitions and worked on a personal project with different mentors.
KoL: What is your favourite and least favourite part of owning your own photography business?
MT: I think that is an easy answer: favourite part is shooting, less favourite part is anything but that… (laughs) Negotiating, promotion, post production, etc…
KoL: What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
MT: Hmm… To find his own style and to specialise in one genre of photography. Car, landscape, nudes… any of them.
KoL: Do you see yourself as a photographer many years down the road?
MT: Hard to answer that… I never imagined I would be studying in London…Working in China… There are new possibilities, projects appearing every day so who knows… I just know I will be working with photography one way or another and that everything is possible.
KoL: What photography project are you currently working on?
MT: For this year I have decided to work more on my personal projects… I am planing some shoots in Guangzhou, Anhui province, shooting an elite women bodyguard training camp and I have other projects in mind.