Tina Remiz is a visual storyteller and documentary artist from Latvia, now living in London. She graduated from BA Photographic Arts at the University of Westminster in 2012 and has since been working as a freelance photographer, graphic designer, researcher and tutor.
As an image-maker, she specializes in editorial and commercial photography, and graphic design. She is also an active social entrepreneur, designing creative solutions to social problems. She founded the Story Dots platform which features stories behind fashion, and curates the Everyday Eastern Europe collaborative project that aims to challenge stereotypical representation of the region.
Over the past years, she has worked with a number of internationally acclaimed creative organizations, including the World Press Photo, World Photography Organization, BAMM, Slideluck, and more.
How did you get your start in photography?
As most good things in life – almost by accident. I have always been creative and very visual and started doodling on all available surfaces almost as soon as I was able to hold a pencil in my hands. I joined a local photo club as a teenager and didn’t enjoy it at all, but somehow got sucked into in while doing a Media Practice course in university. I still don’t feel a strong attachment to the medium, but it’s a great tool for non-fictional storytelling and served me well for years.
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?
Primarily documentary, but I like to experiment a lot. I have been doing a lot of graphic design work lately, so most of pictures were taken to be parts of more complex multimedia works.
I work commercially as well (my website is basically my commercial portfolio with few personal touches here and there).
Did you experience any challenges as a woman entering into the photography market?
Not at all. On the contrary, I feel I have been given a lot of opportunities and support because of my gender. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry meant a lot of doors were open for me before I even knocked.
What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?
Like with most languages, learning the basic vocabulary and grammar of photography is relatively easy. The biggest challenge is figuring out what your want to communicate and whom you want to address, then choosing the right words to convey your message. And the hardest part is, of course, learning when to keep your mouth shut.
Who and/or what inspires you most?
My visual work is a direct reflection of the issues I care about, from human rights urban gardening. If you find me arguing about it with friends over dinner, you will find the continuation of that conversation in my work.
What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?
I always work “backwards”, defining a very clear goal or desired outcome, then plot the best journey to get there. Sometimes it doesn’t involved photography, which is absolutely fine with me too.
Why is accurate color important within your workflow?
Human brain responds to colour before shape or content. It sets the tone of the work before all else, and since much of this is happening on the subconscious level, colour has the power to make or break the work.
Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?
Ask “why?” before all else and make sure your approach is based on your aim, not the other way round.