Photography: Interview - AORTA

Some kind of surreal realism, a frozen second when everything falls into our order.”

It is very likely you have seen some pictures by Marco Grizelj and Kristian Kraen before, Monki, Toyota, Cadburry’s and Gothenburg Opera are only a few names on a long list of clients.
The duo has been working together as AORTA since 1998, their pictures seem like a scene from a film, a blend of reality and fantasy.

How and when did you become interested in photography?

Kristian: We were both fascinated with the cameras ability to create a world that only exists in the images. I started out when I was around 17teen and it was approximately the same time for Marco so that makes up to around 21 years of image-making.

 How did you meet and decide to work together?

Marco: We met in an empty café in Stockholm one early morning and started to talk about photography since we both were fibbling with cameras. We realized then that we were both applying to the same photography school. We ended up in the same class a couple of months later.

What do you like most about working as a team?

Kristian: We quickly realized that we had many similar references and similar taste when it comes to pictures. So we decided we would be stronger as a team. Its great to have someone to talk to about creative decisions and to be a photographer can be a very lonely job, sitting by the computer or traveling around the world on assignments.

Where do your ideas come from?

Marco: The inspiration comes from all kinds of mediums. It can be a song, some strange news on the TV or an old painting.

How would you describe your style?

Kristian: Some kind of surreal realism, a frozen second when everything falls into our order.
Another thing that we try to do is to have some kind of "punctum" in the image, like a glass on the floor or a white paper on a table. Things that might be secondary but draws the eyes to it and adds some extra interest to the situation.

What makes a picture good to you?

Marco: When everything "falls into place" - the lighting, composition, colors, expressions and retouching. We also like when an image creates questions - what happened here and why? What happened before this moment and what will happen after?

What do you enjoy most about photography?

Kristian: That you can make magical things with the smallest object and that you actually can stop time for a short while. That every assignment is full of new challenges and the world in a picture can be a beautiful magical place that only your own mind can limit.