one more outtake - Johnny Flynn.
a few years back i took pictures of Johnny in victoria park. the first one was published in a magazine, but i was looking at some outtakes the other day and loved the second one. it’s so natural. we were just having a laugh and he tried to look at me but couldn’t because the sun was shining right into his eyes. i miss looking straight into the sun and feeling the warmth of sun rays on my face, perhaps that’s why i picked that photo now - in the depths of this gloomy weather. anyway, since then Johnny has been working on some exciting projects acting-wise and he has also recorded another album. he’ll be touring with his band this spring, here are the dates, go see him, he’s great. that’s a nice tune from the new album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3feE_GCMcjc. (if i were to recommend one song though it’d have to be ‘amazon love' which he sings with his sister Lillie.)
• 3 March 2014
Stacy Martin, an outtake.
i haven’t worked with Lars von Trier yet but you might recognise Stacy who played young Joe in his latest film NYMPHOMANIAC. i was looking for a girl to do a shoot with and get a cover shot for Oh Comely magazine. when i met her no other girl stood a chance. it had to be Stacy, she’s that stunning, i asked to work with her right away. it was back in 2011 and i remember her telling me about her plans to give acting a go and apply to an acting school. i’m so happy her dream came true, in such a short time and in such a big way!
i really like this picture above - a fleeting, authentic moment of Stacy being her beautiful self, not particularly engaged with the camera - it’s so hard to steal moments like this with people who are photographed almost on a daily basis. there’s an air of clarity and lightness around this girl and i hope her acting journey takes her wherever she wants to be.
• 2 March 2014
my dearest Parisian friend Fanny who often joins me on my winter journeys to obscure places has just sent me this photo. she said she took it in her neighbourhood near Place de Clichy. great to see my work printed that big in a city i called home only three years ago. thank you F, miss you!
• 1 March 2014
thanks to a wonderful team at It’s Nice That and their lovely mention of my work two days ago: http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/agatha-nitecka-2 i gained a few more followers and thought i’d treat you to a photo i took a few years ago which hasn’t been seen before. it’s a behind the scenes still from Andrea Arnold’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS. i know it looks like it could have been shot on any film set, i guess that’s why it hasn’t made it through to my final selection, but i do love this image for some reason, just like that, on its own.
+ an update: film critic Mark Kermode praised two of the films i worked on in The Culture Show: Forget the Oscars, Here are the Kermodes, worth watching if you liked THE SELFISH GIANT and FOR THOSE IN PERIL.
• 27 February 2014
i’ve spent orthodox christmas on the Maidan. when i arrived at the beginning of january 2014 my mind was full of dramatic images i had seen online taken in december 2013. upon my arrival i found Euromaidan to be peaceful and quiet. a community of people helping each other, cooking together, making tea, playing table tennis in the middle of the road and hockey with snow shovels and stones. there was no police in sight. instead there was a lot of singing and camaraderie. ‘Slava Ukraini! Heroyam Slava!’ i took the pictures above early in the morning when Maidan was still asleep. unfortunately it turned out to be the calm before the storm. what happened on thursday feb 19th is atrocious - snipers started killing unarmed protesters. 'When I walked out into the Maidan, clad in a helmet and a flak jacket, I saw bodies lying on the pavement. Ten in one place, another six a short walk away, five more farther away. The demonstrators were killed with precise shots to their heads or necks, the hallmarks of snipers. People were gathering around the dead, many of them weeping. Some covered the bodies with Ukrainian flags, others brought Orthodox icons. A priest conducted a remembrance service. I felt a bit sick. Many of the victims were only in their 30s and 40s, full of energy just a few hours ago. I kept asking myself: Why are they killing them? The protesters had no firearms that I could see, and snipers could have instead incapacitated them by shooting their feet or arms. If the government had hoped that the killings would intimidate protesters and force them to leave the Maidan, it was clearly a miscalculation.’ Veteran Associated Press conflict reporter Yuras Karmanau
back in London i feel confused. not that many people talk about what’s going on in Ukraine. i hear about Sochi. and various fashion weeks. and sure there has been a lot of media coverage in the past few days with live updates from the Independence Square. i’ve come across an article earlier about photo editors having too many ‘good’ pictures (= ‘smoke, steam, snow, soft light and fire’) from kiev to pick from. people are dying and they talk about taking great shots, it angered me. there are two things here: 1) i see that photographers’ role is important, they bravely document the conflict zones and bring our attention to many important issues which otherwise wouldn’t get the attention they deserve, however i have always felt that in a way the very same photographers are taking advantage of the crisis situations to create a body of work they’d be proud of, could get recognition for, or simply receive a cheque. 2) i also wonder if perhaps what gets picked by media is a bit sensational and too generic. only those bigger and more crowded conflict scenes are being published, i.e. anything with lots of fire and even more blood. and part of me feels that people who have no personal connection to Ukraine just look at all those images and think: ‘another conflict’. what shocked me when i arrived in Kiev last month was just the opposite of what is being published: the unspectacular, the peacefulness and in fact a certain emptiness of the Independence Square. it really hit me. that certainly was not what i had imagined i’d see - everything was moving too slowly, there weren’t as many crowds, tourists were walking around taking pictures of each other in front of the barricades. conflict photographers won’t take ‘boring’ pictures though, no one would publish them. yet i think it was this stillness and a certain lack of exaggeration that hit me most and i’ll never forget this feeling. and now again, what made the biggest impact on me in the awfully sad past two days is this unedited, rather quiet and still video, make sure you watch the entire clip: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1cwnox_sous-les-balles-des-snipers-a-kiev-jerome-sessini-agence-magnum_news (if you read french here’s the full story). i think it’s this slower, unedited, slightly more personal approach that could actually reach and touch more people. i don’t expect everyone to be as engaged in what’s going on in Ukraine as some of us are. however, spectacular pictures full of crowds, fire and blood in my opinion only distance the viewer from what’s actually going on (as in: ‘it’s sad what’s happening, but it’s their story). witnessing one man die quietly is bound to evoke a stronger feeling. i’m not sure what we can do from here to help, but i’d just like a few more people to think about all those in Ukraine who fight for their values, risking their lives. my thoughts are with Ukrainians.
p.s. here’s an insightful fb page to follow: https://www.facebook.com/eurolution?fref=ts
• 22 February 2014
happy that SELF PUBLISH, BE HAPPY picked my ‘post-coital tristesse in lions’ photo for this year’s SELF PUBLISH, BE IN LOVE.
funny that someone else has submitted a picture of lions as well! i particularly like ‘thing of beauty’ by Luke Winter and ‘untitled’ by Julie Van Der Vaart. also great to have come across Robin Cracknell and Peter Puklus.
thanks Jake Kenny & happy valentines ♥
• 14 February 2014
this is happening later on today, don’t miss it:
live Q&A with Paul Wright and George MacKay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGnCU0fTMaM at 3.30pm GMT TODAY
• 13 February 2014
here’s a little FOR THOSE IN PERIL update.
above: my international posters which you might have already seen. i also very much like this b&w fish still i took, and i love how it got used to add more texture to the sea (not everyone has noticed that so i thought i’d include the original still).
FOR THOSE IN PERIL writer/director Paul Wright and producer Polly Stokes are nominated for Outstanding Debut BAFTA (see all nominations here). and my favourite George MacKay is nominated for the EE Rising Star in 2014 alongside Léa Seydoux (keeping my fingers crossed for you George, good luck on sunday!). i worked with George twice, on FOR THOSE IN PERIL and HOW I LIVE NOW, he’s just great, vote for George here (takes 2 seconds!).
also, FOR THOSE IN PERIL will have North American premiere at SXSW, amazing!
• 13 February 2014
while i was away THE SELFISH GIANT dvd + blu-ray got released - featuring my photograph. if you haven’t seen the film yet, now you’ve got no excuse, it’s wonderful, you can even watch it on demand here: http://www.artificial-eye.com/theselfishgiant/
earlier on in january the film got nominated for the Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA's alongside Gravity so here’s most appropriate and hilarious TSG Bafta Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjoHgWvCdSs the biggest night in film starts at 9pm on sunday feb 16th
also, just a few days ago the legendary Ken Loach presented the Best British Film Award to THE SELFISH GIANT at The South Bank Sky Arts awards.
• 11 February 2014
i feel i should be posting professional updates. i try not to be too nostalgic, however, i must admit it’s a bit difficult, i already miss sovietland. i thought i’d share some music from soviet films which i love listening to. i’ve developed quite a particular taste for these and would totally understand if not many people shared my enthusiasm. here they are, my three favourite heroines.
it all started with the song below. on my first night in st petersburg in my hotel room this film was on tv and i got hooked for life:
the non-film version is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkLbOw_XxDM really beautiful
soon after i came across this amazing film:
i think she’s the most beautiful woman i’ve ever seen.
now, that’s a bit of a cheat perhaps. it’s a short clip from a russian tv series about anna german, a soviet singer i’ve been only been told about on my recent trip. the series is from 2012 but only original music was used:
here’s the song again with some pictures of anna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAbqXDKC5kQ
• 10 February 2014
on the overnight sleeper train to kiev, ukraine i shared a compartment with 2 ukrainian women and a 3 year old boy nikita. nikita watched a soviet classic before going to bed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dqL9NF1yTo i highly recommend this cartoon to all parents, most episodes don’t have dialogues, which perhaps was intentional - that way ‘Лелик и Болик’ (or ‘Bolek i Lolek’) could be watched in all soviet countries. nikita’s mum is absolutely amazing. we had 17h to chat and she promised to send me a few issues of a magazine which she works with in berlin. i have received her package and it turns out olga has been involved in making of the most amazing magazine i have ever come across. it’s called PLOTKI: http://www.plotki.net/the-magazine/ the website doesn’t give it justice i feel, instead look at the sample spreads above. every single page is perfect (oh, the sea spread!!). i have never seen that many interesting articles and beautiful photographs put together so nicely (+great paper&perfect format). the design is totally understated and it’s all about sharing meaningful content and insightful stories. one issue for example is dedicated to: ‘n\osztalgia - ways of revisiting the socialist past’. in another one: ‘stories from the seaside’ there is a great story on: ‘how does a Sailor retire?’. every single story is fascinating, from ‘Baltic Sea Utopia. What to do with a Superlative Nazi Spa beach left on the Beach?' to 'What can you be nostalgic for in a post-socialist world? A molecular view on non-melancholic travel routes in time and space’. i love it all so much i could move to berlin tomorrow.
• 9 February 2014
i’m back. for the past few years i’ve been spending winter months on trains. my love for snow and slow travel has turned into an annual pilgrimage through sovietland as one of my friends rightly pointed out. i went away for 6 weeks hence the lack of regular updates. i kept tweeting though, and posted a few bad blackberry snapshots on http://twitter.com/_agatha_a take a look perhaps.
it was only my second trip to ukraine, and i shot 3 different projects, spent (orthodox) christmas on the maidan, drank a lot of ukrainian homemade booze, discovered i also have family in st petersburg and saw pictures of them hunting in siberia half a century ago - incredible. perhaps it’s high time i dug out a couple of birth certificates and applied for my ukrainian passport (visa free travel to russia. yes please).
• 8 February 2014
happy new year. here’s to 2014.
(*the winter palace, st petersburg, russia)
• 1 January 2014
(above pictures which i took on my travels in russia and ukraine put together for this special occasion)
eat, drink, and be merry.
• 24 December 2013
if you missed my THE SELFISH GIANT exhibition at curzon soho (london) last month, or missed the news about my new film website where i uploaded a lot of stills, here’s a direct link to a nice selection of photographs i’ve taken for clio barnard on her film set: http://film.agathaa.com/the-selfish-giant
also, my two most recent posts were about a few awards which FOR THOSE IN PERIL (which i’ve also worked on) won. in case you don’t know THE SELFISH GIANT is doing great too. it got an award at BIFAs as well: Amy Hubbard won Best Technical Achievement for casting at the British Independent Film Awards. a few days before that Clio won the first ever Wellcome Trust & BFI Screenwriting Fellowship. there was an award for Best Film at the Stockholm International Film Festival, seven nominations at the this years BIFAs, including Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Most promising Newcomer amongst others! The film got Hitchcock D’Or, Coup de Coeur Award and Best Cinamatogrophy for Mike Eley at Dinard Film Festival, was included in London Film Festival selection and Cannes of course! there are probably 10 more which i haven’t mentioned and at least 10 more future awards!
• 23 December 2013