Travel and the different cultures it reveals inform the Ecole D'art Maryse Eloy graphic design graduate’s arresting photography
Born in Paris, Elsa Kostic spent her summers in Bosnia where she developed a keen and sensitive eye for different cultures early on. Experiments with visual composition in an attempt to represent those environments continue to shape her practice to this day. “Nature is really present in Bosnia, even in towns with a really raw USSR aesthetic” she tells us, “I would make up some art scenes with my sister as a model and then step-by-step I began to get closer to strangers on the streets”.
Although supported in being creative from a young age, Elsa didn’t know of many people who were involved in the art world or attending an art school, so the concept of a fine art school “seemed nebulous” to her. Unwilling to dismiss her blossoming skills, Elsa decided to take what appeared to be a more concrete route into the creative world, studying graphic design at what used to be Ecole D’art Maryse Eloy. Although photography facilities weren’t available, the students were able encouraged to use any medium they wished to accomplish the outcome of their projects.
Drawing on a combination of references from her background, cinema and an active interest in experimental photography from the twenties, Elsa set about building her visual language, which has manifested in a wonderfully perceptive, poetic style of photography. “I used to randomly borrow DVDs from the cultural media centre near my home when I was a teenager” she explains, “through this I dived deep into contemporary photography and trained my gaze a lot!”
Experiencing unfamiliar environments is a key factor in Elsa’s practice. Choosing places to travel, researching the history and politics then allowing herself to be “soaked up” by whats going on, allows her to develop a deeper and more personal understanding with her subjects. Her project ‘The Last Ride’ was made in Miami and came about through her interest in the theory that in the not too distant future, Miami may well be submerged under water.
Having already worked in Brazil and Miami and currently planning her next trip, Elsa is looking to a work on a larger scale and mix fictional narrative with real life. We’re certainly eager to see how that plays out and where her photography takes us to next.