Tantalum: Thank you for your contribution to the current issue, Can you tell us how the shoot came about?
Joanna Kustra: As soon as the trend of pastel colours showed up, I wanted to shoot something fresh for my book. So the idea was growing, until one day my friend/stylist contacted me suggesting shooting pastels. Obviously I thought it was a brilliant idea, as there were already two of us willing to work on this topic.
Tantalum: When shooting you have the opportunity to see the visual outcome. What do you find to be the most difficult when bringing a team of artists together to create a cohesive look?
Joanna Kustra: The key to every great team effort is communication. It can be really challenging to sync everyone efficiently - that's always the main goal of each of my shoots.
Tantalum: What or who would you say influences your work?
Joanna Kustra: It's hard to point out only one source. I am definitely influenced by other photographers, clothing designers, and other artists, also the pop culture. I am browsing tons of pictures daily to be up to date in fashion.
Tantalum: When sending your work out for the world to see, what do you hope your element of the project says to the viewers?
Joanna Kustra: I am a great fan of the beauty, aesthetics. I love to capture people showing their attractiveness from my point of view. If my audience enjoys it - my goal is achieved.
Tantalum: What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
Joanna Kustra: I am self-taught photographer so every tip from more experienced professionals was precious for me. I guess the best one was about finding my own vision and developing a style that will differentiate myself from the others.
Tantalum: Who took the time to teach you art early in your career? And what was the most valuable lesson they taught you?
Joanna Kustra: At 7 years old I began learning to play piano and oboe - that's how my friendship with art began. I had a great music teacher who always used to say, “To create a Masterpiece; one has to first master a craft”. It takes a lot of practice and great amount of patience.
Tantalum: What have you learned from your experiences shooting high fashion spreads?
Joanna Kustra: For sure that would be a long list… what I've learned so far; with every photo shoot I become more confident & richer with new experiences. I'm aware that in fashion photography you always need stay up to date, be innovative, flexible and keen to learn constantly. Never be fully satisfied with what you've done.
Tantalum: As an editorial artist, what do you feel is one of the biggest mistakes beginners tend to make?
Joanna Kustra: I can say that only from my experience - Don't copy others, find your own style and photograph what you love.
Tantalum: How has the experience of working with a team to complete a project benefited you?
Joanna Kustra: Participating with a lot of artists and fantastic individuals during the photo shoot. Usually it is my job to coordinate them and make sure we all work as one unit. It requires a leadership skill that in my case has improved a lot.
Tantalum: How would you describe your artistic style?
Joanna Kustra: Painterly.
Words to live by...
Joanna Kustra: Quoting Imogen Cunningham "Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm
going to take tomorrow."