Affection and Armour, Austeja Sciavinskaite.
Part of the Issue 02 New Graduates feature.
Carnival Magazine speaks to Middlesex University graduate Austeja Sciavinskaite about her strikingly vibrant fashion photography portfolio. We talk childhood dreams, photographers of inspiration, alongside the stories and concepts behind her featured editorials..
What university did you study at?
Middlesex University, BA (Hons) Photography.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and brought up in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. Growing up in artistic background, I found art fascinating as far as I can remember. Starting with endless drawings when I was little, later on I was accepted to an art school and graduated with the diploma of Graphic Art. Through art I found interest in photography. Having Dad as my first teacher, I worked with him as a photojournalist in the biggest newspaper in the country for a few years until I was accepted to Middlesex University in London. In three years of studying photography, I was taught by many inspiring teachers and fell in love with fashion photography.
What began your love for photography?
I find the process of taking a photograph fascinating. Photographer has the ability to choose to be the observer or the creator, to document or to compose. I started as an observer, a journalist, documenting what was going on around me with the leading example of my Dad. I always wanted to be like him when I grew up - someone who, after years and years of being attached to the camera, is still so excited about what he does. The pleasure of expressing my imagination through many forms of art may have led to my interest in fashion photography. I like the process of creation, the shapes, contrasts and colours, materials, people, interesting faces.
Tell us about your photographic style.
Most of my photographs are inspired by the contemporary architecture and fashion. I like simple but bold, sometimes extreme: minimalistic or overcrowded. I like trying new things, mixing different techniques.
What photographers inspire your practice?
Tim Walker, Gregory Harris, Sølve Sundsbø and the goddess of mixed techniques, Alexandra Valenti.
Tell us about this featured editorial, Affection and Armour.
Natalie Ball, who did the styling for the photo shoot, had set up her PR agency called BALLS PR. Rebecca Elley, one of the first of her clients, was the designer of the clothes used in the shoot and I absolutely adored her designs! We aimed for a 'future goddess' kind of style. I think choosing the right lighting was the biggest challenge and after that everything just fell into place.
Tell us about your featured editorial, The Orange Box. [View]
This shoot was initiated by the stylist Yuen Hei Man. It was one of those ‘let's decide on the spot’ situations. Location was the fashion lecture room in our university. The orange box wasn't planned and neither were the messy walls but we liked how it all worked together.
Tell us about your featured editorial, I Am The Contrast. [View]
It's hard to explain how I come up with the ideas for each shoot. Sometimes it's a well thought and talked through process with the team and sometimes it's just a little thing, like an interesting clothing material I came across. This shoot was a mixture of both. Having worked with the stylist before and knowing that her minimalistic styling fits well with my ideas we decided to do a shoot in the studio. I just couldn't get the image of harsh light and a shadow out of my head so we went for it. Gregory Harris was a big inspiration for this shoot.
What's next for your career, now that you've graduated?
I am giving myself some time off until the end of the summer to go back home to Lithuania and relax as the past few months were, frankly, pretty crazy. Ideally, I would love to become a part of creative, interesting, challenging team in a fashion industry. Until then, I will carry on working with all the amazing people I've met throughout these few years in London.
If you could show one person your portfolio, who would it be and why?
I already did! It was Tim Walker, in our Degree Show in Old Truman's Brewery. He was being nice and I got a little star struck! I didn't have the guts to ask him to be honest and give me some serious criticism.
What was the best moment of your time at university (extra curricular included)?
This is a hard one. The whole university experience was life changing, good and bad moments led me to where I am now. It felt so good to graduate, but sad at the same time. Probably the moment of realisation that I chose the right path is the one.
Finally, where would you like to be in a year’s time? What is the dream?*
I would like to see myself doing what I love to do. Hopefully, I’ll on my way to setting up my own art and photography studio. Working in a great team. The dream is to make those dreams come true.
AFFECTION & ARMOUR
PHOTOGRAPHY / Austeja Sciavinskaite
FASHION STYLING / Natalie Ball
DESIGNS / Rebecca Elley
HAIR STYLING & MUA / Zoe Cornwell
See more of Austeja's work in Carnival Magazine Issue 02 New Graduate Feature and on her portfolio website.