We chatted with Karolina Kuras, the photographer behind the stunning black-and-white photograph for Bach St John Passion. In keeping with our 2019/20 Season theme of “old meets new” we are thrilled to share the work of some of Canada’s and the world’s most exciting contemporary artists as part of our season campaign. These stunning images were chosen to complement both the season theme and the theme of each individual concert.
Get to know more of Karolina and her work with our Q&A.
Tafelmusik: Tell us a little about yourself, and how you started in your field of art?
Karolina Kuras: I was born in Poland, and am now based in Toronto, Canada. I have been a photographer for 17 years, starting off specializing in portraits and weddings. After 10 years of this, I decided to do a small passion project with ballet, which ended up turning into my career for the past seven years. I grew up dancing, so I understand ballet which makes communicating what I want from the dancers easier. It also allows me to accurately represent the highly technical art of ballet in two-dimensional photography.
TM: Tell us more about the artwork featured in our season campaign and your concept behind it. What was your process while creating it?
KK: This work was created in collaboration with Kathryn Hosier from the National Ballet of Canada, and Louiza Babouryan, an LA-based designer that works mainly with silks. The custom, one-of-a-kind dress that she created is beautiful and stays in the air a long time due to the lightness of the silk. This texture allows it to create incredible shapes that look like flames and flowers. It took several hours to create this photo and get it just right, but when it happened, everyone in the room felt it.
TM: Tafelmusik’s 2019/20 season theme is “Old Meets New.” How do you feel your art fits with this theme?
KK: The image depicts a very classical ballet pose, but it is shot in a contemporary way due to the use of the fabric — specifically with the obstruction of the dancer’s face.
TM: What is your favourite music to listen to when making art?
KK: I do love classical music, especially Chopin, and of course Tchaikovsky for his epic ballet works, but these generally don’t work well in a photoshoot setting. I mainly listen to upbeat 90s hip-hop or defer to the dancers’ taste. Depending on the mood of the shoot, my preference can also be as varied as Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, or Lizzo.
TM: What shows or exhibitions are you dying to see? Is there an artist or organization you’d encourage our followers to explore?
KK: I adore the work of Peter Lindbergh and Tim Walker. Tim Walker’s Marvellous Things exhibit in London is one that I’m dying to see, so I truly hope it comes to Toronto one day.
TM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
KK: I couldn’t choose just one piece of advice, so here are two: "Be happy and good things will follow" and "Simplify."