Fear of the Unknown is a Good Sign with Flora Borsi
Today, you’re in a treat! I’ll be talking to a young artist who started conquering the world of photography since she was 11. Experiencing severe health issues she chose to find escape and concentrate on her art, putting all the effort and passion into it. This made her into photographer touring the world with exhibitions by the age of 25. New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, Shanghai - you name it, she’s been there! She collaborates with names like Adobe and Hasselblad, but on her own terms, creating the work that SHE feels like creating. Please welcome the photographer who learned ALL of her techniques on her own, the queen of Photoshop herself, Flora Borsi!
What we talked about:
- The importance of doing research on your ideas
- How switching between various types of photography can help you progress in fine art
- Why the fear of new things is actually a good sign
- The importance of listening to your own opinion first
Artwork for Adobe Creative Cloud 2019
Series “Time travel”
- How did you start? I know you were 11 when you started.
- My passion for art started when I was a kid, I loved to draw. But it wasn’t realistic so my sister introduced me to Photoshop and I started playing with it. The passion grew and grew, I started to make self portraits and do series. I realized everything was done before and I wanted to do something new, something impossible to create. When I was 15, I started doing photography and I merged the Photoshop and photography.
- You had a lot of support from your parents but many young people, that are starting out, don’t. What would be your advice for them?
- Keep your eye on a “normal” career and keep photography as a hobby and if you’re good at it it will bring you in the most unique ways and signs that you have to do this and you’ll know. But it will come after years of experience, you won’t know at the beginning if you’re going to be a photographer or not. So losing a real career because of it would be really bad.
- You said it’s hard to create something new as everything was said and done before. So where do you get your ideas from?
- Whenever I have an idea, the first thing I do is research. If it wasn’t done before then I do it. How I get ideas, I think of something and twist it, what if physics were not like that etc.
- How did you get an idea with porcelain? Where 2 of you are merged with gold?
- Most of my pictures come via transfer from the Universe into my mind. Then I make a sketch. This idea came when I was in China. There I saw a lot of things like that. On Instagram explore I bumped into quote that they fix broken porcelain with gold and it makes it even more beautiful. And it just got me, people and relationships, it’s more about someone and me and the relationship between us.
- I remember when we talked in Paris about the transfer form the Universe, that if you won’t do it then someone else will, do you still believe it’s true?
- Yes, many times it has happened to me, I got an idea but I don’t do it in months and then I see that somebody did the exact same thing that I had in my mind. There are some projects that have to get in order and get more conceptual and dig more deeply into it so if you don’t have the urge to do them they will merge into something more or something less with time.
- You work in series and individual images, how do you decide if something will become a series?
- When I get an idea, I picture it and ask myself if it’s exciting enough. I decide instantly, if it’s more conceptual or the topic is more serious then it’s really not a single picture, I want to tell a story.
- Do you do any research on the topic then?
- I have several series based on historical events, like “Detroit”, in series like that I dig deep and do a big research. But if it’s like psychological series then I do quick research.
- Tell us about your process.
- I do the sketches then I see if it’s worth taking a photograph. My sketches are really simple. For example with “selfie” series, it was technically very difficult and hard to do, and for that I did really big sketches with all the lights blend.
- Do you always work with studio lights?
- Yes, I’m using one flashlight. Sometimes it’s really hard to make it work. In nature there’s one source of light so why not recreate it in the studio. About a year ago I said in the interview that I only do studio photos because I’m anxious if it’s about street photography, If I’d see a perfect moment but wouldn’t take the picture and moment is gone I’d be really sad for the rest of my life. Now I challenge myself. Just do the first thing that you can do next to your anxiety - a creative anxiety. In Paris I was feeling bad because I didn’t get perfect shots but the next day I went back and started again. But it made me realize how important it is to know the technical stuff about photography.
- We talked about how important it is to try different types of photography, to recharge yourself.
- If you’re aware enough then you can feel the calling of something, feel that you’re really into this. And even if you’re afraid of failure you want to do this. I noticed that when I’m the most afraid of the failure - that’s the best. It’s the thing that you clearly have to go into, even if you fail because you’ll know that you were brave enough to do it and you’re know yourself and your boundaries
- What was your biggest failure?
- 2 years ago I was asked to do start screen for Adobe Premiere Pro. I made the concepts and was working with street artist from China, we did fifty-fifty of the work. The picture just got tired. When you’re asked to do some modifications and then do more and more of them then you don’t feel the picture anymore. It was my biggest mistake, I should have started with a new one again. At the end the project was unsuccessful, we couldn’t make it work. You get anxious after that, you question yourself , ‘is it going to happen again?’
- How are you feeling about collaborations with other artists?
- My anxiety turns on when it’s about collaborations. I think I can, and will, collaborate with other people but not in my own field. If it’s about photography and photo manipulations I’m a real control freak. And collaborations should be fifty-fifty, if it’s 90-10 then it’s not a collaboration.
- When and how did your recognition came?
- It came when I did the series “time travel”. I just quit the director designer job in Hungary because I didn’t want to use my superpowers to make my boss happy, like doing Christmas calendars… No. I couldn’t get into the university the first time so that’s when I did my first series that got popular. I realized that I could do series on my own and I don’t need anyone to dictate what should I do and what shouldn’t. I really felt free.
- Do you feel the education in this was beneficial?
- I think it’d be better if it was done by the half of my time because it was really hard to do my own projects and have super ideas and then go to school being really tired then just going to sleep and then realize that I couldn’t do it because I was off. It was really hard to go to the place every day where you feel it’s not the best thing that you could do in your life. But education was great, the technicals were already something that I knew, but I’ve learnt psychology, philosophy etc. It was exciting and I think it shaped my mind.
- What’s your series “Animeyed” about?
- I really like the series, it was really exciting at the beginning and it got really popular. But then galleries ask me to exhibit and they only ask about Animeyed. I have more deeper projects. I don’t want to do what people dictate, I want to do what I need to express.
- How did you start selling your prints? And what would be your advice for beginners who want to sell their prints?
- Printing, fine art and selling is a big scenery, you need to know how printing works, what types of paper there are, how can you manage your prices and what to do when something goes wrong, etc. You need to know a lot. Do a portfolio. At least 30 images, so collectors can see what you can do and that you’re productive. Creating shouldn’t be about the money, it should be about passion and love and urge to do that, and if you can still sell it then you’re very lucky.
- Have you ever worked with an agent?
- No. But it takes a lot of time, you need to be aware of what you’re doing and decide what’s your worth.
- Are you planning to try any other type of photography?
- I tried fashion 10 years ago and you don’t want to see that. But I’m open to it now. Though, I get anxious when I have to ask the stylist, hairdresser and models. I’m also into landscapes and still life.
- Do you have a home studio?
- Yes. I don’t have really good background, but I think you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t have the most expensive equipment.
- Are you working on any projects now?
- Currently I’m working on 2 top secret projects. But for my personal work, I’m working on my YouTube channel and I want to start with the video about 10 Photoshop mistakes. In this channel I want to cover everything about Photoshop, photography, but also testing maybe cameras, and talking about being an artist and all the struggles that come with it, I just want to tell people my story.
- What’s your biggest dream as an artist?
- To exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.
- When did you start feeling that you’re good at what you’re doing?
- Never. Sometimes I feel that when I hear professional feedback or when companies ask you to do something or when you sell, then you can feel that you’re good. At least that’s what they’re saying.
- Have you ever done professional portfolio reviews?
- I did and it didn’t go well. They said that I should stop Photoshopping.
- What keeps you going to make art?
- That I’m never satisfied with my previous work.
- What makes a good photograph?
- I like many kinds of photographs, many different topics and ways, but I think it has to be with aesthetic, even if it’s about conception. It has to be good for my eyes, even if it’s ugly, it has to get me. It’s never about beauty or being perfect, it’s about something that subconsciously likeable. It can be technically not so good but it looks good. It has to be in order, not in chaos.
- How do you get your inspirations?
- I have to charge my soul and my additional super powers and then I can create art. I don’t like harsh energy, watching horror movies or there’s violence. And I isolate myself, there’s a collective feeling in Hungary that everything is so bad and I don’t like to walk on the streets because it just drags me down. So to charge my soul by being in an environment with no bad vibes.