Inside this issue
I like those moments in time when everything goes quiet, my heartbeat gets faster, I take a deep breath and the time stops… until the shutter clicks and the moment that took your breath away is preserved… forever…
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Vanda Ralevska is as unstinting in her enthusiasm and encouragement for her fellow photographers as she is in her own passion for creating images. Despite being a talented wedding and portrait photographer, she has chosen to concentrate on landscape photography. If there is a hill or mountain in the UK that she hasn’t climbed or an area of coast yet to be walked, you can rest assured that they are probably on her list.
At times it is easy to forget how much our own experiences of the landscape may have changed over a period of years. I remember being struck by a series of images that Vanda included in a blog about her time in Czechoslovakia – even here, amid the despoliation, she had found interest and colour, so I started by asking Vanda if this early experience had been influential.
You have a great passion and sense of wonder for the UK’s natural beauty. Do you think that growing up in an area of heavy industry is in part responsible for this?
I think it was a part of it. Growing up in an industrial area definitely made us spend weekends away from the city's noise, overpowering smell and imposing silhouette of chimneys, coal mines and blast furnaces. I love the Czech and Slovak countryside. There is a lot to admire in the mountains, forests and lakes, even towns; and I am always happy to go back to visit. However the first time I saw the White Cliffs of Dover from the ferry, I was smitten. They say, “Home is where your heart is”, and I definitely experienced the true meaning of the saying. Since then I have never stopped admiring this country's incredible beauty.
Can you tell me a little about your education, childhood passions, early exposure to photography and vocation?
My first encounter with a camera was actually quite a disaster. At about the same age as I started my musical experience we had a family camera - my Granddad’s Agfa Billy Record from 1930s. One day, on a family outing, I had a genius idea. I opened the back to make sure there was a film loaded. As you can imagine, after that I was not allowed anywhere near it.
My passion for photography started later on, in my teens when I got my first camera from my Dad. It was just a little red Konica. But it helped me discover a whole new world around me, and see things I walked by before without noticing them. Needless to say, I no longer opened the back until the last frame was exposed.
Both cameras have found a permanent place on my desk. They remind me of those little moments that laid the foundations for my lifetime journey through the world of photographic discoveries.
Featured Comments From:
Lizzie Shepherd: It’s great to see you featured here at last Vanda – you have such an exceptional eye and seem to be able to turn in to any subject matter you choose! As I’m sure you know, I’m a huge admirer of your work and it’s lovely to see a few new (to me) pieces here as well as to hear more about your journey so far.
I was interested in your reference to your childhood and the fact that there was always music in your home – I think many would argue music is one of the most powerful arts that exists, and I’m possibly one of them ;) You should definitely have a go at the saxophone if you have time – it is tremendous fun – I did it for a term at school and loved it – only stopped because it became a lesson too many ;) So I’ll look forward to hearing how you get on!