Alisa Karin

Vagus Magazine Summer 2021 Feature Story

Alisa Karin is a film student, photographer, and creative director who has an affinity for water.

Sofia, Bulgaria

She accentuates the structure of the body through her use of extreme close-ups.

How long have you had an interest in the arts?

Probably since birth. My mom said she would play me classical music while she was still pregnant. I grew up in an environment full of artists. Me and my sister would make our small concerts, dancing to Vivaldi. I honestly can’t imagine my life without art.

Analyzing some of your work, there appears to be a focus on lips. What do lips symbolize for you?

Lips are like the gates of hell or heaven. They could be the sweetest, pure thing. Or the most evil of them all. I want to show that besides eyes, lips can show a lot of emotions too.

Other images from your work include hands either via shadow, in gloves, or submersed in water/liquids. What is the significance of showing extreme-close-ups of hands in this context?

Maybe it’s my deep love for the sea and these endless waters. I live far away from it and I miss it with my whole body. I miss the touch of water, the coldness, the weightlessness.

For your non-spontaneous work, walk us through a typical shoot day from planning/preparation, to capturing the moment, to post-production touches:

I have had very few experiences like that, but I like to go early. Always. If I am late I get very anxious. I need to drink my coffee and smoke my cigarette before the day starts. I prepare the day before with all my equipment. I don't know why but I check if the card is in my camera at least 10 times. As for capturing the moment, I may have some ideas that I thought of pre-shooting, but most of the time they come while I work. And finally when I get home I am so excited to open photoshop and play for hours.

Which school/institution do you study at and why did you choose it? How has your experience there been so far?

I am at New Bulgarian University. I had some friends who were into film art and it sounded very interesting to me. I have to say I am not the best student, but I try my best to stay present.

Have you done other creative/artistic things prior to formally studying it at school?

I started playing the piano when I was 8 years old. I would sing in a choir alongside my parents. I wrote my own fairy tales and stories. I also tried doing ballet. I was in a french theatre group for 3 years, where we would go to theatre festivals. After that, I got into a non-professional theatre school and now I am here.