Laiik Interviews: Anisa Xhomaqi
We found Anisa Xhomaqi the way most people find stuff these days, on the internet. Culture Trip had published an article titled “10 Greek photographers to watch out for” and it caught our eye. We were looking for a young, creative Greek photographer to bring to life Laiik's first collection, and we were immediately drawn to Anisa’s images, aesthetic and the mood she was able to convey through her photography.
And we were in good company. In 2015, Anisa was one of 13 Young Greek Photographers featured during the Athens Photo Festival, the same year she won first prize at the International Hellenic University’s Photography Exhibition.
While we were new to fashion photography, we had a clear vision of what we wanted: to show a different side of Greece, going beyond the ancient ruins, pristine beaches and blue and white island homes that dominate any google image search of Greece. We wanted to convey the energy, beauty, grittiness, and life of modern Athens. Oh and we wanted great photos of our sandals too!
(image by Anisa, model Yanna Vlachou)
Anisa, all 5’2” of her, was up for all of it. With great energy and an infectious smile, she dove into the planning, mood-boarding, location-scouting, and maniacal coffee-drinking that it takes to pull off the (im)perfect photoshoot! She loved that we wanted to skirt traditional fashion campaign photography for more relatable images that capture both the context of modern Athens and a new brand that is aiming to re-imagine the traditional Greek sandal.
Anisa left an impression on us and our brand. Now, we’d like to introduce her to you…
(Anisa on location in Glyfada, Greece)
Hometown: Tirana and Thessaloniki
Current neighborhood: Jordaan, Amsterdam, NL
Dream camera: I have it. 5D markIV. Now I dream of lenses!
Most interesting shot location: Salt Lake City, Utah
(image by Anisa, Emma in the Great Salt Lake, Albe Project)
L: What draws you to photography? What inspires you when you shoot?
A: Light is one of the first elements that makes me grab my camera. The way that a landscape, a building or a face is lit inspires me to take the picture. I love natural light and the special way it gives color and shape to objects, but I also like shooting in studio and adjusting the lights my way.
L: What is your favorite type of photograph to shoot?
A: I like shooting portraits and conceptual photography, but also landscape photography because I love traveling and photographing nature.
L: I love your creative projects - especially, Sister Story and The Room. Out of all your projects, do you have a favorite, one that you most enjoyed doing?
A: I really enjoyed shooting the Room project and the Sister Story, each of which gave me a lot of new ideas, feelings and even friends! I could say that the Room is my favorite because it reflects the most of what I want to do in photography: photograph people through an observation lens.
(Images by Anisa, at left from Rooms Project and the right is from Sisters)
L: The Laiik photoshoot had you criss-crossing Athens, what was the city like as a backdrop?
A: What I love about the city of Athens is the variety of backgrounds you can find in a small area and the contrast of the colors and patterns! It is a lived city and you can see it all over the walls.
L: Tell us a little bit about your favorite city to photograph?
A: Venice is a city I fell in love with, so I cannot hide that is my favorite one to photograph, even though it is filled with tourists every day! As an island-city, Venice has a unique charm that makes you feel you are traveling in time.
L: Any places you haven’t been to that you’d like to shoot?
A: I have a wide list of places I would like to visit and photograph. Some of the top would be the Salt Desert of Uyuni in Bolivia, Sao Paolo in Brazil, the Namibian desert and the Amazon!
L: What are the most challenging aspects of a fashion photoshoot?
A: One of the most challenging aspects is to be able to transmit an idea or style and to make the right decisions fast.
L: What was your favorite moment from the Laiik photoshoot?
A: My favorite moment was when I saw the cherry tree on our way to the next location and the team supported my idea by being there to help me with what I needed to take the picture!
L: And your favorite photo from the shoot?
A: I really like the picture with the cherry tree!
L: What’s next on the horizon for you?
A: I am preparing for several exhibitions, with my participation in Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia this December being the one I am looking forward to the most. Also, I'm giving a photography workshop on a sailing boat around the Greek islands next summer, something that challenges me to learn more about photography on a teaching level this time!
Get to know Anisa's unique perspective at https://www.anisaxhomaqi.com/.