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Sabrina Komár

Interview with Sabrina Komár 
BIFA 2020 Best New Talent of the Year – “Monologue”

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background? 

I have always been artistic in a non-artistic family. In my early twenties I graduated as an economist, but honestly, that world has always been far away from me. I was constantly looking for my way, developing my creative self, writing, taking photos, sewing, making crafts. At the age of 38 I had started studying Textile MA at Budapest Metropolitan University, from where I graduated in 2020. During the semester, when I worked on my degree project, a personal-initiated creative processes started in me, which has been ongoing ever since. I feel like I have finally found my path. I love mixing photography and different hand-manipulation techniques. My main source of inspiration is myself: my feelings, my experiences, my thoughts. 

Q: What was your last work and what inspired you do it? 

My last finished work was also a personal project, called [inside]. Though I learned how to live with OCD, my home has always been my shelter. Also as an introvert, I loved being at home. I did not want to leave my home many times, but at least the possibility was there. With the outbreak of the pandemic, everything changed. One of my main OCD themes is the fear of germs, so I isolated myself. I had never spent so much time locked in with myself as I did during this period. I was totally confused, I had ambivalent feelings. My home was no longer as gentle as it used to be. Through the project, where I cut, embroidered the printed photographs, I aimed to show how my home wrapped me around softly, then pulled in and swallowed me up slowly.  Though I am vaccinated, the world has reopened and I could go anywhere, I don’t: my home with my worsened anxiety of the outside world pulled me back. 

Q: When and how did you realize you had a passion for photography? 

I’ve been photographing since I was a child, but in retrospect, it was rather a documentation. I was constantly looking for ways to express myself, and photography appeared many times, but it became dominant only in the last one or two years.

Q: Monologue is a very creative work of art that won you the Best New Talent of the Year title. How did this project come to mind, how did you come up with it? 

I learned the cyanotype process last summer at a photographer’s creative workshop camp (Fotofalu). The idea for the series was born here during my experiments. After camp, I purchased all the needed equipments like chemicals and papers, and then I started to make my series in our garden. This is a visual representation of my inner monologue, as I am in constant conflict and struggle with myself.

Q: What does winning this award mean to you?

I was very new in submitting awards, Budapest International Photo Award 2020 was among the firsts (and the first one, I have won), so winning it confirmed me that I am on the good path with my experimental photography.

Q: Do you see yourself becoming a professional photographer in the future? 

I think if I really wanted to, I would have find a way to become one. I see photography as a way of self-expression, a medium, often combining it with other artistic techniques, e.g. with textile art. Cutting, folding, weaving, working in 3 dimensions, a few of some manipulation techniques I use. I love experimenting and, above all, I want to express myself through it.

Q: What would be your dream project in photography if there would be no budget limits and you could travel anywhere, photograph anything/anyone? 

I’ve photographed so much else before, I think in a very forgettable way. I rigidly focused outward to divert my attention away from myself and my mental issues. Then, after a long, intensive and effective therapy, I applied to university to the above mentioned Textile MA programme. My degree project was very personal, I made a mask out of kombucha leather with my self-portrait, which I applied to the skin using photoemulsion. Last year I also started and went through an own 366 photo project, which is about to take a picture every day. During the project I noticed that I was turning the camera more and more towards myself, experimenting with varied techniques and solutions, and I started to find myself, my visual voice. So I think I’m still dealing with the visual presentation of my inner world, my thoughts, my feelings, I have a lot to show, so for now I’m continuing this inner journey.

Q: What would be your advice to people who enjoy photography as a hobby but have no confidence to show their work to the world? 

Find your own style, theme, your visual voice. Don’t be afraid to show your work, take it as a possibility. Try to learn handling criticism. (This last one I am still learning, it is not easy). 

Q: Are you working on something new right now? Can you tell us a little bit about it? 

Yes, I am working on more projects at the same time, but one of them is close to be ready. In this series, through family portraits on which I am or which I took in the past, I process the experience that unfortunately we remember on bad memories much more, than on good ones.

View Sabrina Komár’s winning work here.