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Hasselblad Masters Awards 2016: Portrait Category Winner Natalia Evelyn Bencicova

2016-01-20 ‘I always knew more than I saw’

Born in 1992, Natalia Evelyn Bencicova grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia, and currently she’s a student studying photography and fine art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Her approach focuses on the visual as well as conceptual aspect of photography and reflects the point where the artistic and commercial elements of the medium overlap.

hasselblad_masters_2016_nataliaWinning entry in the Portrait category photographed by Hasselblad Master Natalia Evelyn Bencicova

“I grew up on a huge housing estate where the only view I had was of other people’s windows,” she says. “It seemed like hundreds of identical screens but always there was a different story. As a child I would observe all these people through these rectangular frames and I always knew more than I saw. I would use my imagination to build on the very few details you could see inside. I imagined the whole flat, the entire reality, and this kind of fantasy has always worked in my pictures.”

Natalia’s winning picture was taken from her project, CLOSE, which set out to capture various types of relationships in the form of simple body gestures. “I collaborated with Adam Csoka Keller and our assistant Bea on this shot,” she says, “and it’s probably one of our favourite works. More than a year later I still feel that it embodies a certain strength of the moment. It’s very naturalistic and not staged: if you want to capture something, let it happen!

“The whole photo shoot with model Blaza Hlasova, who had shaved her head for medical reasons, was something of a fight. The cat behaved like an uncontrolled force of nature, but then it stopped scratching the model for a moment and became still, totally peaceful, leaning on her body. They became CLOSE and I felt it. We knew immediately the picture was done.”

Facebook: Evelyn Bencicova photography

Instagram: @evelyn_bencicova

See all the winning entries in Hasselblad Masters 2016 here

The ten winners will be tasked to create a new and unique set of images, using a Hasselblad Medium Format camera, embracing the theme ‘Inspire’ (coinciding with Hasselblad’s 75th anniversary) for the latest edition of the Hasselblad Masters Book. The Winners will receive their trophy and their own Hasselblad camera to keep at a special photokina 2016 ceremony in Cologne this September.

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