Mario Grobenski is one of the most intriguing and strong personalities on 1x. His work is full of irony. With an endless inspiration, most of his work is created in "one single room" with himself as a model. He gently accepted to tell us his story and to give us a glimpse into his brilliant and creative mind. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview. You'll find more photos by the end of the article.
I was born in 1967 in Croatia where I still live and work for a Danish firm "Hartmann“.
When I was about 13 years old my dad bought my first photo camera Lubitel 2. That´ s how I started shooting children´s games and I found it quiet exciting.
Later I bought a box for film developing and a device for making photographs at home. Approximately a year later I discovered rock music and then it all started. I devoted myself to listening to music and making photographs. That is why I always try to combine the two.
For many years, I worked with my trusty old Minolta, developing my own black and white films at home. Some of the rock band photos that I took were used as album covers or book covers mostly for books about rock music. For example „The secret history of Rock“ for the Croatian distribution by Roni Sarig.
In the last 6 years I went from analogue to digital and kind of drifted away from making only rock photographs. I put on several independent exhibitions in Croatia and one at the International Photo exhibition in Esbjerg, Denmark 2012 (various authors).
As I already mentioned, music has always had a major impact in my life so it is natural to me to reproduce it in my photos. I like classic sixties rock but the most important bands for me are The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, The Ramones, The Clash, Joy Division. I also have to mention Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Pixies, David Bowie, R.E.M., Violent Femmes and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Good music makes good mood and good mood makes good photos. That is how I function.
I like old books, novels and movies almost as much as music. I always try to compare myself or somebody else (my model) with some of the characters from my favourite book or movie. When I find "new“ props (I prefer the old stuff) then I think about which character that prop would fit.
Most of the time, I work alone and I am the photographer and the model at the same time. That's why I always use a tripod. It can be difficult to find "models“ for my picture stories. People don't like posing, they don't have suitable clothes, they don't have time or they are just not in the mood. From time to time I manage to arrange some shooting sessions with my friends. Lucky Bobby is one of my friends who likes helping me and sometimes gives me great ideas, too. All my photos were shot with daylight and I always use a wide angle lens which is my favourite. Most of the photos were taken in abandoned houses because I associate that kind of place with the characters from the past. I am not into modern stuff. Furthermore, I am not interested in stereotypes either. Everything out of the ordinary, surreal and with a bit of dark atmosphere intrigues me. I am inspired by David Lynch, Edgar Alan Poe, Franceska Woodman, Jan Saudek, Ed Van der Elsken, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Andy Warhol.
I think that 1X has influenced me a great deal. Actually it helped me be the photographer I am today. I have learned most about photography on this site and I have changed my way of understanding what good photography is. I think that screening is necessary and I am still quite excited when I am waiting for the results. 1X means so much to me that I have to admit, I personally appreciate only my photographs that are published. Maybe I like some of my other photos too, but my published photos on 1X are something different and they have a special place in my heart.
For me, photography is another universe where I can tell stories in my own style, express myself and be creative. My dream and my biggest photo challenge is to shoot the photo that everyone would like to hang on their wall. If not that, at least to print on their T-shirts.
To all the beginners in photography my advice is to keep on trying. If you really enjoy taking pictures don't stop if you are not satisfied with your work at the beginning. It can even take a few years to shoot a great photo.
Keep in mind my favourite lyric:
"You can't always get what you want
but if you try sometimes
you just might find
you just might find
you get what you need“.
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