The works of young photographer Urša Premik, who is currently finishing her photography studies at the Higher School of Applied Sciences (VIST) in Ljubljana, are always focused on people.
The series entitled Hilda is a continuous project, comprised of a comprehensive personal photographic archive, which is the result of the artist’s three-year long period of taking portraits of her grandmother. During this time, the photo camera had become the artist’s constant companion when visiting her grandmother, and photo sessions became a very common feature of their socialising. The documentary and snapshot style of recording glimpses of her grandmother’s everyday life were gradually complemented by staged and dramaturgically precise photographs in which the photographer has purposely placed the subject of her fascination into particular settings and situations, which provoke a range of various reactions from her grandmother. The audience is witness to an unfolding performance in which Hilda can be seen in a wide variety of circumstances – at night and during the day, in all four seasons, at home, in the kitchen and the bathroom, in the photographer’s studio, in the street, during a card game, while solving crossword puzzles and playing billiards, with a cigarette in her hand; now she’s concentrating, then grumbling, frowning in disapproval, at another occasion she’s smiling, grimacing or plain out poking fun.
Through a collage of spontaneous and arranged images the author presents her grandmother from an entirely personal perspective while simultaneously telling Hilda’s story. The portrayed subject was involved in the decision making process regarding representation and had co-designed the (self)image that she wanted to portray. Thus their interpersonal interaction mirrors the story of both, the subject and the photographer, in which the former is a case of self-representation, while the latter is that of interpretation. Hilda, a retired school teacher, who was (once) renowned for being very strict, is presented in a different light, unknown to most people, as the humorous elements of her character are placed in the foreground. The result is a subtle portrait, full of playfulness that avoids the stereotypical view of the elderly, which is too often preoccupied with the idea that old age and aging are something negative, redundant, non-aesthetical or even something shameful.