Hasselblad Heroine 2023

Svetlana Jovanovic


Svetlana Jovanovic's photography narrative is a kaleidoscope of cultures, experiences, and a profound understanding of human nature. Her journey from the serene streets of the Netherlands to the bustling cityscape of New York City and back again embodies a fusion of diverse influences that seamlessly intertwine in her captivating portraits.


Hailing from Dutch roots with a lineage tracing back to Belgrade, Serbia, photography has been a part of Svetlana's world for most of her life, with early influences from her father’s passion for the craft.

Growing up in a household where photography and film were ingrained in familial narratives, Svetlana's fascination was initially sparked when she received her inaugural camera at a tender age of 10 or 11. “During my early twenties, I enjoyed capturing portraits of my friends using black and white film, often developing the prints in a makeshift darkroom in the bathroom.”

“However, it was when I got my hands on my first digital camera and learned Photoshop that I began to take photography more seriously, eventually deciding to pursue it as a career.”

After finishing her Psychology degree, Svetlana moved from her native Serbia to the Netherlands to work at the UN war crimes court. But fate had other plans for her, taking her to New York City to pursue a career in photography for seven years. Eventually, she found herself back in the Netherlands, where she is currently based.

When it comes to choosing photographers that inspire her work today, Svetlana has many. “Among my earliest influences, I recall being inspired by the works of Man Ray and Cindy Sherman. Additionally, the works of visual artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon, Bill Viola, and the Pre-Raphaelite and High Renaissance painters have shaped my perspective and continue to influence me.”


Svetlana's portrait photography is a tapestry woven from her intrinsic curiosity about human nature. It's an exploration of the myriad personas we choose to showcase to the world through fashion and lifestyle choices.

“I‘m especially interested in the roles we assume and the stories we communicate through our fashion and lifestyle preferences.”

The foundational stones of her portrait style rest on the pillars of clean minimalism, a seamless intersection of fine art portraiture and editorial fashion. Intrigued by the duality of human essence, particularly in women, her Hasselblad Heroine series delves into staged female portraits, each revealing a fragment of a grander, imagined narrative.

“I aim to capture the raw power and beauty of my subjects while also portraying their vulnerability, showcasing the complexities of femininity and female representation.”


At the heart of Svetlana’s artistic odyssey lies the "Otherness" series, an exploration into the enigmatic dynamics of identical twins and the balance between individuality and shared identity.

For the Hasselblad Heroines project, Svetlana delved into the captivating portrayal of Anna and Thea, Danish identical twins. Inspired by Lars von Trier's cinematic vision, her lens unravelled the intricacies of human perception and the entwined yet distinct existence of twins.

“I have always been inspired by the concept of the Self and Other in psychology and philosophy. Identical twins, with their enigmatic bond, appeared to be an ideal subject for exploring this dichotomy through photography. I started the series “Otherness” in which I focus on identical twins and the balance between individuality and shared identity.

“Through photographing Anna and Thea, I want to examine complexities of human perception, self-discovery, and the subtle nuances that define us as both distinct individuals and inseparable entities. I strive to capture the unique connection between twins, inviting viewers to reflect on how we define ourselves as both separate and connected beings.


Svetlana's advice for budding photographers resonates with the importance of mastering light manipulation and interpersonal skills. Understanding how light molds perception and honing the art of reading light nuances is pivotal in her portrait craftsmanship.

“Understanding how to 'read' light is crucial. Light greatly influences how we perceive ourselves and others. Developing this sensitivity and mastering light is undoubtedly a skill worth honing. Moreover, while not purely technical, interpersonal skills play a vital role in portrait photography.”

Despite grappling with budget constraints on occasion, Svetlana believes that navigating these limitations is a testament to your skills as a creative.

“Many of the challenges I've faced in my photography involve managing limited budgets during productions. To overcome these hurdles, I've learned to make the most of what's available, finding creative solutions within the constraints.”


Svetlana’s guidance to emerging female photographers centers on embracing experimentation while liberating yourself from the shackles of self-doubt. Failure, in her view, is an integral part of the creative process, fostering growth and evolution. “[Self-doubt] seldom serves a constructive purpose.”

Svetlana's artistic trajectory remains enigmatic, driven by an insatiable quest for creative surprises. She invites audiences to join her on Instagram, offering a sneak peek into her latest projects and the awe-inspiring creations she continues to craft.

Inspiration in Every Detail