Mario Karlovcec · Surfaces

Jan 21, 2019

Mario is a Croatian photographer and computer scientist who alternates his life between Artificial Intelligence and photography. In his images it is possible to perceive the curiosity of the scientist that lives inside him, making his creations particularly interesting and prone to multiple discoveries, where the visible within the frame is as important as what lies outside it. In "Surfaces", Mario explores human interventions and alterations of the natural processes of the planet, thus raising questions and awareness of the consequences of our actions over the environment.

am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

MK - I was born in Croatia (1987) and I lived there until finished my undergraduate studies in computer sciences. Eight years ago, I moved to the neighboring country Slovenia, where I enrolled into a PhD in Machine Learning and Social Network Analysis, and worked at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana. In 2017, soon after finishing my PhD, I enrolled into the photography program of the Higher School of Applied Sciences in Ljubljana.

I'm using early mornings and late afternoons for photographing, developing AI systems during the day, and developing film and scanning it often until late in the night. Having my day booked with work in AI and photography is fun and fulfilling, because I have a lot of love and passion for both of these two seemingly different worlds.


am - How did you start in photography?

MK - I've been always fascinated by photography. I remember "stealing" my mother's compact film camera and making photographs of the moon through my toy telescope. This added some strange dark, blurred photographs in the colorful mix of family birthdays and vacation trips shots when my mother brought a new batch of photographs from the lab. My second photography era started only about ten years ago, when for some unknown reason, I entered a second hand market web shop and went to buy a Canon A-1. I’m all into photography since then, and as the story often says, I used many different cameras since then, but the plain, affordable, black, metal SLR stayed my favorite camera that is always with me.


am - What is “Surfaces” about?

MK - In short, "Surfaces" is a series that explores intersections between human and nature. Human trails are visible as artificial materials and objects, which are relatively speaking, very short and insignificant interventions in the nature's global process. For example, the interaction can be viewed as an increasing entropy of space, with natural chemical and biological processes, like corrosion and overgrowing vegetation taking place on different natural and artificial surfaces.

Photographs from this series were made from several long walks in unfamiliar locations on the periphery of a city. On these walks with arbitrary starting points and unplanned paths, I tried to photograph anything that in some way seemed strange and out of its place.

am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?

MK - I would like to mention three great names Max Ernst, Man Ray and Jeff Wall.


am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go?

MK - I really love winter, so I would go North. Because of Bergman's movies, it would have to be Sweden.


am - What’s your favourite movie?

MK - Without thinking, Andrei Tarkovsky’s "Stalker" and Ingmar Bergman's "Persona".


am - Could you recommend us a photo book?

MK - Yes, I would recommend "Sitter and Signatures" and "autographed portraits" by Arnold Newman. It's like having all those great artists sitting on your bookshelf, comfortably hanging there and waiting to have coffee with you in the morning, before starting a new day.


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

MK - Thank you for accepting my work. I don't feel worthy, but I am extremely honored and thankful for putting my work alongside so many inspiring artists featured in your magazine.

All images © Mario Karlovcec

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