We had the pleasure of having a Q&A with photographer Sarolta Bán. Her surreal and dreamlike images are featured in our Animal Tales 2016 wall calendar. Many of her dog portraits were created to illuminate the need for shelter animals to find forever homes as part of her Helping Dogs with Images project which was featured on Huffington Post, BoredPanda, BuzzFeed, and MyModernMet. ~ Amber Lotus
Why do you do what you do?
How it started was actually a coincidence. A couple of years ago I had a small digital camera and tried to take photos, but I was never satisfied with them. Once, with a sudden idea, I changed the sky in one of the photos. I really liked it; it was fun and opened a lot of possibilities, and that’s how it started.
Originally I’m a jewelry designer. It’s funny because in Hungarian the word “jeweler” means you compound materials to create things, and that’s exactly what I do with my pictures. 🙂 But otherwise the two pursuits do not have much in common, except maybe that both have a lot of little fine details that you have to pay a lot of attention to.
How would you define your signature style?
I like using ordinary elements and, by combining them, I can give them various stories and personalities. I hope that the meanings of my pictures are never too limited, that they are open in some way, so that each viewer can transform them through their personal understanding.
How do you work?
I work on a picture for anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, and quite often I use up to 100 different layers for one image. I start with the main image and think of the main idea, and then I prepare the image.
What themes do you pursue?
Everything that comes to me or finds me. I like themes that are close to nature.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
One of the nicest came from one of my closest friends, Edén: “Your pictures are good for the soul.”
What other designers, music, and books inspire you?
I don’t feel I get my inspirations from other artists, but from everyday happenings in my life or from existing images of mine. But I do have lot of artists who I admire, like Chema Madoz or Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.
I really like to read a lot. Good books help the imagination. My favorite book is Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. I love to read, my special favorites are historical books, set in times when people traveled on horses. 🙂
What role does the artist have in society?
I think the artist plays an important role, even if as a little bit of an outsider. An artist can highlight social problems from a different angle.
What has been a seminal experience for you?
The birth of my nephew, Mirkó; being with my dog, Mese; and my travels.
What superpower would you like to have and why?
To speak the language of the animals.
What is your dream project?
Something to be able to help animals. I would like to live on a farm where I would do pictures of the animals, which would help them of course.
Hungarian photographer Sarolta Bán creates her work by digitally manipulating her own photos of everyday objects into an amazing world of imagination. She enjoys taking ordinary elements and combining them to create stories and personalities. Her commissions include images for book covers, album art, and posters for concerts and theater productions. In 2012, Sarolta won Elle magazine’s Young Artist Talent Award. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Hungary, France, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, and the United States. For more information, please visit her website.
Now Available — Animal Tales 2016 wall calendar