Every now and then a photo, an image of Dubrovnik just simply jumps out from the crowd on social media. With a plethora of images uploaded every day it’s hard to be a star in an endless sky of snapshots. However, Lili Basic did just that for us and we just had to get in contact with her to find out her passions. Basic was born in Dubrovnik, but now calls Zagreb home, although as she says “I love Zagreb but often I find myself craving the intimacy and cosiness of a smaller town.”
We have been following your stunning photos of Dubrovnik on your social media. What are the inspirations that Dubrovnik holds?
Thank you for following and for reaching out! Well, Dubrovnik is an endless source of inspiration for so many photographers and other artists, myself included. The architecture, history, charm, all so glorious and awe-inspiring. But besides that, there is also an emotional aspect as Dubrovnik is my hometown. A place where I feel home even if I haven’t lived there for quite some time now. I spent about 8 years abroad in various countries such as Scotland, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Switzerland and about 5 years ago I returned to Croatia and since then I am living in Zagreb. But Dubrovnik is and always will be home, a place where my parents live, where I feel welcome and safe.
Dubrovnik is and always will be home - Photos Lili Basic
In the crowded photo industry how difficult is it to stand out from the crowd?
Quite difficult and it takes a lot of work and patience. ‘Talent’, the ability to see beauty and translate it into a photograph in your unique way is only a part of the whole process. To get to the point to stand out, to offer something different, something recognizable it takes a lot of hard work, mistakes, learning, practicing, going through ups and downs, ‘searching’ for your visual style. And I believe it’s an ongoing process, it never stops as you evolve as an artist and also your style changes with time.
‘Talent’, the ability to see beauty and translate it into a photograph - Photos Lili Basic in Scotland
Although your hometown is Dubrovnik, you actually live in Zagreb, what do you miss from life on the Adriatic?
Believe it or not, it’s not the beaches and summers by the sea. I was born in July but I’m not really a ‘summer person’, not a fan of heat and humidity lol! I actually miss the sea more in other seasons, especially in winter. When it gets grey and gloomy in Zagreb, I miss the colours, sounds and the smell of the sea. I love Zagreb but often I find myself craving the intimacy and cosiness of a smaller town.
What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the photo industry?
My advice would be that you don’t need to start with expensive equipment and have lenses for every kind of scenario. You can definitely start small, with a more basic camera and one good lens and build from there with time. Much more important than equipment is the work and patience you are willing to put into the process of becoming a better photographer. Also, don’t get discouraged by comparing your work with others but rather get inspired by it. Always remember that everybody had to start somewhere and that learning about photography and developing your own photography style takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Much more important than equipment is the work and patience you are willing to put into the process of becoming a better photographer - Photo Lili Basic
Apart from travel photography one of your passions, or rather specialisation is food photography. How do you bring the sense of food, the taste and the aroma, to the photo frame?
Yes, both food and travel photography are my big passions and something I do professionally. My approach to photographing food has always been to tell a visual story and to make a viewer feel like she/he can almost taste and smell the food in the photograph. I want it to look natural and fresh and evoke feelings or even happy memories. I always use natural light in my photography and my favourite conditions to photograph are on an overcast day when the clouds act as a large diffuser and the light gets soft and beautiful. But If you study and observe light for long enough, you will be able to create beautiful and interesting photography in almost any light conditions.
My approach to photographing food has always been to tell a visual story - Photos Lili Basic
How important is it for photographers to find their own style, their unique angle?
I’ve already talked a bit about that but yes, definitely it’s important if you want to stand out and offer your own unique way to see the world. That’s why it’s so important to believe in yourself and your artistic vision because if you don’t, no one else will. You need to be passionate about your own work and always aim to become better in what you do but at the same time feel good about what you create. Your style is something that is only yours and for me personally the best feeling ever was when people started recognizing my work no matter what was the subject, a basket full of organic apples, a single flower, misty morning in the forest or a charming corner in the city. It’s important to remember that building your own style takes time and that’s perfectly all right. All good things take time.
And finally, Dubrovnik is very much a photographers dream, but do you have a special place in the city that fires your creative juices?
You are right, Dubrovnik is so inspiring for any artist. When it comes to photography, my favourite thing is to photograph the not so obvious motives and scenes in Dubrovnik. When I visit, I always find the time to spend some time walking around with camera in my hands and search for details and angles that I possibly haven’t noticed before. Sometimes a smaller, more intimate scene tells a greater story than a big picture.