Lucia Nimcová was one of 22 young promising photographers invited by the Asia-Europe Foundation to participate in a photo forum in Paris in November 2005. Each photographer represented a different country from Asia and Central or Eastern Europe. It was a remarkable conference, filled with inspiring new work, fresh ideas and lively exchanges about how rapidly things are changing in the world.

Nimcová brought several bodies of work-in-progress to share. “Instant Women” is an ongoing project documenting women of all ages in current-day post-communist countries.

After she returned to her home in Slovakia, we conducted a brief interview via email. Here are some excerpts:

First of all, will you provide some background on this cycle of work?

I have been documenting the life of women in Central and Eastern Europe since 2002. I began as a student, because I wanted to find answers to my personal questions. I needed to deal with the fact that I am a woman and through my work I was searching for what it is to be a woman in Slovak society. I came to moments and answers I was looking for, but my view on the topic is changing every year. I could say I have been working on "Instant Women" for four years, but I still have only 20 photos. Some new ones are appearing and others are disappearing from the selection…

Did you have a specific goal in mind when you set out at the start of this project? Is it social documentary?

When I started I set around 40 questions or themes, which I would like to talk about. Of course I often found something completely different. You can plan some things, but everything is determined by the place and time. In 2003 I received a grant from the IVO (Slovak National Institute of Public Affairs) to contribute to a sociological publication about Slovakia — A Pictorial Report on the State of the Country — so you can say it is social documentary. I am always trying to not fit to only one box … but be simple, although with many meanings.

You seem able to capture wonderful images where people are not guarded or too self-conscious. They reveal themselves to you and the camera. How are you able to accomplish that in so many diverse situations?

I always try to be open with the people I am documenting. I am not a thief, I try to be part of their life for a while. It is important for me to work as a particular person, not as an anonymous photographer. It is a never-ending fight with topic, content, form and my own conscience. It is important to believe in what I do … people usually feel it.

Why do you name this series Instant Women? Does it mean that girls become women quickly? Or that women are different every instant?

It means every photo is an instant answer in every variant you could think about. I do not like definitive truths. I am fascinated by the simplicity of inexplicable matters. The fact that I show only one side does not mean the other one is not existing. Instant women are my instant truths in particular time and space.

— interview with Jim Casper

Lucia Nimcová's personal website:
www.luco.sk
She is also co-editor of this photo website:
photo.sittcomm.sk
And for more information about the Asia-Europe Foundation:
www.asef.org