Capturing elves dancing between the darkness and the light, Czech photographer Eliška Kyselková joins us for a talk about her adventures; in big cities and secluded lands alike.
Currently based in London where she studied Fashion Photography at the University of the Arts, Eliška managed to earn success as a freelance photographer both in the UK and internationally, recognised for her inventive approach to fashion photography, elevating it to works of art. With her images featured in numerous renowned publications such as Dazed, i-D, Wonderland or Italian Vogue, the self-employed young photographer herself represents the fearless empowerment she aims to portray in her work. Her imagery challenges the beauty stereotypes by flaunting diversity and reflects on our consumerist society; usually captured on her preferred analogue cameras Sinar and Bronica.
The editorial titled ‘Elves Stories’ explores the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland and follows the footsteps of two whimsical elves frolicking around the lava fields and geysers, bringing the old myths and legends alive.
Your editorial featuring the mystical creatures of Iceland looks like pure magic. Was your idea for it drawn from the landscapes of Iceland or were you looking for the perfect location to fit your concept?
First came the location. We have been planning to travel to Iceland with my long term collaborator Moon for some time. After buying the tickets, I started to think how to use this beautiful location to its fullest. The concept for “Elves stories” was then inspired by Norse literature and tales about mythical creatures living in Iceland, and was the natural choice for this location. After connecting with the stylist Keanoush Da Rosa, we contacted Vogue Italia with this idea and we agreed on using the dark-skinned model Niko to bring diversity and differentiate the editorial from other visual content from Iceland.
What do you consider the most influential encounter that shaped your vision and style in photography?
There were more of these milestones in my career. The first one was the brief meeting with the photographer and tutor Miroslav Vojtechovsky which gave me lots of positive energy and pushed me to keep doing photography. The next one was my Masters in Fashion Photography at University of the Arts at London College of Fashion under guidance of Paul Bevan. The structure of the course and its modules made me think more about the visual and intellectual process of creating photography project and defined my style.
Imagine having an unlimited budget and absolutely unrestricted choice of location. How would you envision your photoshoot?
I don’t have the exact idea, but I would probably push my imagination to the limit. I would invite some influential and inspiring figures to pose for me, for example the ethereal Tilda Swinton. There would be lots of dancers involved, amazing set design and location and haute couture pieces from Iris Van Herpen, Alexander McQueen or Valentino.
Did you sense any significant changes in your work that were immediately prompted by your relocation to London?
Yes, I think relocation always brings some changes and new points of view. I was really inspired by London’s diversity, fashion and style. The big change came while meeting with other creatives and studying at UAL.
What is your go-to source of light that you seek if you feel like the darkness might be drawing too close?
Eliška Kyselková: Website, Instagram
Styling: Keanoush Da Rosa
Hair & prosthetics: Michael Moon using Kryolan
Makeup: Michael Moon & Wioleta Ludwig using Kryolan
Models: Niko (Milk management), Moon (Oxygen)
Editing: Luciana Ripoll & Eliška Kyselková
Text, interview: Gabriela Holesova
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