When Milena Seita realized that photography allowed her to see beyond reality, her work grew into a passion which she dedicates all her free time.
What fascinates her the most is that photography allows her to see beyond what is observable in real life, to create and recreate the reality, expressing her creativity and the possibility to transmit to others her visions and emotions. Her style is unique and in some way dreamlike. Let's discover more today about this great lady and artist in this fine interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, Milena.
I was born and live in Lisbon, Portugal. I graduated in sociology and I worked for many years in the area of poverty and social exclusion, first in a research centre at the university, and then in social neighbourhoods. These experiences were very important to me, but at some point of my life I felt the need for a change. So I started a completely different work experience about six years ago in a museum, where I currently work, in the area of communication. I love music, movies and books, in particular poetry, but my main hobby is photography. In the little free time I have I love to walk in the city and on the beach with my dogs, alone or with friends, always taking my camera with me.
How have your history and life experiences affected your photography? Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
I had contact with photography from a very early age, but I never thought that I could do something interesting in the area as a photographer. I started photographing in about 7 years ago. By that time I needed someone to do the photo report of an activity I organized in my work and had no one to do it. So I did it, and on that day a passion was born. Some friends encouraged me to post my photos on photography websites and this was the beginning of my learning process.
What first attracted you to photography?
What fascinated me most was to realize that photography allowed me to see beyond what is observable in real life, to create and recreate the reality, expressing my creativity and transmit to others my visions and emotions.
Describe your overall photographic vision
I think there is always a strong feeling of loneliness and nostalgia in my photos, which reflects a bit the way I see the world. I think we, humans, are essentially very lonely beings. But I don´t think about it when I'm shooting. I just do what I feel like at the moment, in a spontaneous way. For me photography is not about perfection or beauty, it´s basically about emotion and feelings.
Why are you so drawn by Fine Art and Mood Photography?
I like many types of photography, but I’ve always been attracted by evocative images that generates an emotional response in me. That’s what I try to do with my photos. I've always felt the need to write stories and I think I found in photography a way of doing it.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
The story and the message, of course. However the technique is fundamental as a tool for achieving particular purpose.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
I like to wander around with my camera, and capture moments. Sometimes I go out with my son and with friends and shoot photos, depending on the ideas that come to me at the moment, using them as models. I always take the tripod in case I get an idea and have no model :). Nothing is really much planned.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I use camera RAW to make same adjustments of exposure, highlights, clarity, etc. Then I use Photoshop to apply different effects. I usually use textures to add a particular mood. My Photoshop skills are limited, but I do various experiments until achieve a result that pleases me. Most of the time I completely forget the steps I took to get that specific result.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Fine Art and Mood Photography and how do you get started?
I consider myself a beginner, but I would say that the most important things is to enjoy yourself taking pictures, don’t be afraid to experiment or frustrate if you don’t like the results. Also, watch lots of photos and get inspired with others work. Finally, be spontaneous, it’s important to know your camera and the basic rules of photography, but above all, quoting Anders Petersen: "Shoot with your heart, not your head”.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
There are many photographers I like, but I can name two that I particularly admire. The American Francesca Woodman and Helena Almeida, a Portuguese plastic artist which has a diversified artistic production having as common denominator the photography.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
Basically I would like to have more time for photography. Not because I want to achieve anything in particular, but because it makes me happy. I also would like to get a better equipment (I use a Nikon D3000) and improve my skills in Photoshop.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1X is a great inspirable photo website. I uploaded my first photo in 1X five years ago. By that time I was very insecure and considered that my photos were not at the level of this site. I started uploading pictures more often since 2014. I usually have a lot of doubts about my photos, so when I have a photo published it makes me very happy. I am very grateful for the feedback and encouragement you give me. I also wanted to thank the administration and you dear Yvette for choosing me for this interview. It’s an honour and a great incentive for me.