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Inside the Studio of Ana KrašPhotography by Victoria Hely-Hutchinson

Artist Ana Kraš Discusses Her Brand New Photobook

The creative polymath invited AnOther to her Manhattan studio to talk about her beguiling photography tome

TextNatalie RiggPhotographyVictoria Hely-HutchinsonPhotographic EditorHolly Hay
Lead ImageInside the Studio of Ana KrašPhotography by Victoria Hely-Hutchinson

Ana Kraš, 32, started taking photographs ten years ago. For her, the medium was a necessary outlet of expression, albeit a private one. In fact, the Serbia-born artist, designer and model would only take pictures of and around her close friends and family at first, in addition to some “interesting things” that populated her environment. “It was always a very personal kind of documentation,” affirms Kraš from her Bowery-based loft studio in New York. “More like a visual diary.” Hence why, for the first few years she published her pictures anonymously – uploading them to a Tumblr account enigmatically dubbed Ikebana Albums.

Last year, however, she had a change of heart and decided to transform this vast digital archive into a tangible volume of the same name. “I decided that I would rather people view my photos within a book I have control over, than see them out of context on the internet somewhere,” she explains. “It’s interesting because 99% of these photographs have never been seen before, so it has been an emotional process,” she adds. The book itself is intimate – in subject matter and sensibility – offering a window into Kraš’ multifarious world, comprising candid, lo-fi pictures of friends and outtakes from commissioned fashion shoots. One picture, for example, depicts the watery outline of a silhouette behind a plastic shower curtain, while another showcases a sleeker, more elevated portrait of a raven-haired model on a stool.

“I had to go through thousands of photographs in order to make a selection I felt happy with,” she recalls. “I experienced an entire spectrum of emotions, from endearment to embarrassment. There were nice memories and not-so-nice memories,” explains Kraš softly. “It was hard to be that honest with myself.” But, she persevered by “following her gut”, creating an edit that was based upon her feeling at the time. “You know, if I had made the selection a month later it probably would be different,” she says. “I was kind of shocked, actually, how much effort it took to get this right,” she says. “Creating the right flow is sort of like Ikebana flower arranging actually, [laughs] it's very intricate.”

While the majority of her summer was absorbed by the intensive demands of creating a book, Kraš still found the time to satisfy other creative whims, which include drawing, illustration, making furniture (including her coveted woven Bon Bon lamps) and painting – as the accompanying series of images by photographer Victoria Hely-Hutchinson indicate. “Honestly, what I decide to work on a daily basis really depends on my mood,” she says. “There is no specific structure, sometimes I prefer more active physical work, such as making a piece of furniture, and other times I like to sit and think and concentrate on a drawing.”

Though Kraš isn’t keen to specify her artistic influences, she cites the city of New York, where she has resided now for four years following a brief stint in California, as a constant motivation. “I find the cultural history so inspiring. Life here feels very similar to what I was used to growing up [in Belgrade, Serbia], the colours, the people, the sounds, it's explosive,” she says. “My favourite thing about NYC is the energy people pass onto each other in this place. It's very contagious.”

Ana Kraš: Ikebana Albums, published by Prestel, is available now. 

With special thanks to Ana Kraš.