"FOTOVIDEO" ( N 9/2005 )

When I was a kid I wanted to become a painter on glass. The apprentice training centre was too far from the place where I lived, so I went to study at the hight school.

There was no painting on glass
But while attending boring subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry,...I could draw on any paper I had at hand: abstract forms, colours... To paint, to draw, to write, to create I enjoyed doing it since I was young. Apparently I got my artistic abilities from my father. He knows how to draw splendidly. Sometimes I was also dreaming about becoming a writer. I covered tons of paper in my diary I used to write regularly for more than ten years.

When I was twelve years old
My sister and I received from our parents for getting good results in school a camera. For the "small ugly duckling" I was, photography became a big passion. I still have it in my cabinet - the black camera with a screw lens and with three small pictograms - sunny, half cloudy, and cloudy. The film had 12 exposures. From the first roll, shooting sledging one winter day, just four photos were successful. I liked taking photos very much. Since that time I take photos almost all the time... of my familly and friends,... I also often asked my sister to make photos of me in some way or other. I would arrange everything, then she just had to push the button. I could say it was my first and very special way of taking my own "selfportraits". At the beginning these were only the black and white photos - colour film was far too expensive; images kept accumulating and I kept the best ones in photo albums. Later, colour photos aswell, and I sort the best ones in big photo albums decorating them with small pictures that I used to cut from magazines: flowers, animals,... actually a kind of my first "book". The moment I started working as a model, making of these "books" ended: suddenly I had the real one!

Today everything is different
During the communism, no modelling agencies existed and contrary to present days, hardly anybody dreamed about a modelling career. The magazines such as Bravo Girls or Cosmogirls did not existe and we did not read the rubrics "Fashion trends", we did not read "Lovestory" and no one dictated us what was "in" and what was "out", the internet did not exist. In primary school we use to read "Sedmicka pionyru", every Wednesday we used to go to our pioneer youth unit and collect old paper. The machine of modelling business was still in the early stages.

When the revolution came, I was seventeen
The first beauty contests started to emerge. I signed myself up for the local newspaper Miss contest. I spent half day in the bathroom getting ready and then in two minutes I filled out the formular and did two poses in front of the camera and it was over. Of course, they did not choose me but I was so happy about two photos they did ( portrait and swimsuit ). I did find myself so beautiful...

When I was twenty four
I read an announcement in the newspaper that an agency was looking for models for a new calendar. I sent my photos in immediately and I jumped for of joy when I have received a positive reply by mail. One condition of beeing in the calendar though was obtaining professional photographs that cost a lot of money. At the same time I finished my studies at University of Ostrava and from my grandmother I received some money to buy me some gold earrings as a present from her. Grandma, sorry! The only gold earrings I have ever had were those that my parents bought me after I was born and a pair from my sister for my thirtieth birthday... On the 22nd of february 1998 I was standing in a real studio, posing for photographs that later became my first book. And - I appeared in the calendar! In the autumn of 1998 I posed as model for the first time during a workshop of Polish photographers and it seemed that my dream to be a model is becoming slowly a reality when I started considering a job in Israel with my friends. The world of modelling I thought, will wait three more months. In the end, these three months turned nine. Today I know that I made a good decision to wait. Departing I knew five english words. Coming back home I was speaking fluently and that was very useful for later travelling and future promotion on the Internet. I once again contacted my agency and when I was twenty seven I had my cupboard full of boxes filled with photos by many different photographers... Mostly nudes... The colour film was not anymore only the rich people's affair and the Czech Republic was not socialist anymore for a long time. My first camera was lying in the cupboard a long time, replaced by an automatic one I use to take everywhere with me.

The eagerness to take photos was still not fadding away
In the autumn of 2002, my friend - an experianced photographer convinced me to start taking photography seriously and I purchased my first serious camera: a Canon EOS 5 that I still use today. I started to take serious photos... of my cousins, friends models... First portraits, first fashion photos. I had no formal photographic education. I learned all basic things from my friend. Despite of frequent discussion "digital or film", who seems be endless, I use mostly the film, AV program beeing my favourite. During Easter I decided to make my own selfportraits in the cellar of our public housing unit. A room full of laundry lines, the dark cellar corridors, I found it extremely photogenic. This is where my first selfportraits were created. The next ones I made in the forest and in the living room. Either you have an interesting place to make photos at hand or you have to come up with an idea. I dont remember anymore how the idea to make photos with the orange or with the torn stockings came into my head.

The realization of the selfportraits is quite easy and at the same time complicated. Easy because one needs only a camera with a timer, a tripod and an idea. Complicated because one never sees what is actually being shot. Besides, it is pretty funny to run naked back and forth, from behing the camera to in front of it. I often enjoy this idea and I think "if somebody would only see me now..." Needless to say that to be able to make the selfportraits in tranquillity, first you have to do is to find a suitable place where you will feel more or less tranquil. The self-shooting is not so easy though, especially in a forest. Running barefooted over all these sticks on the ground without hurting yourself or falling, poking out your eyes... and in addition quickly finding and taking your pose... Besides, the weather is not always ideal. These "forest selfportraits" as I call them provisionally, I made during two sessions. One in June 2003 ( I have exposed eleven pictures ) and the second one two years later - in June 2005 ( sixteen pictures ). First time it was hot, the sun was setting... The second time it was cloudy and the weather not really hot - actually I felt pretty cold - but since I now live in France I had no much choice. Either I wanted to leave having the film exposed or I would have to wait one more year. The fact that it is cold, it stings and you are full of resin after shooting does not bother me much. I enjoy taking photos. Photography is my big passion. No matter what side of camera I am.

Kati Rudlova