“My photography is a place where there are no limits. A place where I can be fearless, where I can be whomever I like. Where I can escape from the ordinary to an idyllic world. I create characters that are not necessarily “me”, but they are a reflection of what appeals to me.”
—Helen Breznik, in conversation with LensCulture contributing editor Joanne Carter
Breznik’s photography leans towards the melancholy—but in Breznik’s hands, this emotion could be defined as ‘sorrow with a purpose.’ She utilizes her sensitivity to conjure up a romantic beauty in her images: images which are self-portraits but have a universal appeal within.
Breznik has always felt comfortable in front of the camera. When she is modeling for her portraits, she does so with music playing, garbed in fabulous vintage clothes. At their best, these sessions transport her to another world, one where her alter-egos can fully emerge. The characters are varied: a Queen will emerge, serene, royal, strong but with vulnerability. Or a figure drawn from the Pre-Raphaelites period, containing tragedy mixed with great passion and beauty.
Although the outward changes seem dramatic, she actually strives to keep make-up to a minimum. Her most dramatic way to change appearance is by sculpting natural light. With care, she is able to create deep shadows, strong lines, vivid contrasts, all of which create natural depth and definition.
Breznik first took up photography 10 years ago after picking up a bunch of old Polaroid cameras. She loved working with Time Zero film, which gave her ample opportunity to manipulate the images. When she heard about new smartphone apps which simulated Polaroid photography, she felt compelled to try them out. From 2010, Breznik began using the iPhone exclusively and her dedication to the boundless possibilities of mobile photography was settled.
Having used a variety of different tools over the course of her photographic career, Breznik concludes, “In the end it doesn’t matter what you shoot with…it’s the final image that matters.”