Why Getting Weird is Essential to Stock Photography

Four Stocksy United photographers show how to stand out in a media-saturated world.

In a world mad about media, attention from audiences is harder to attract and keep than ever before. When building campaigns and laying out projects, stock imagery has to be extraordinary to stand out from the crowd. High calibre and authentic imagery is a must, but there’s something further on the fringe that can make a project pop: taking risks.

Creative experimentation is, ultimately, what drives the evolution of imagery and by proxy, our media. And sometimes that means pushing the boundaries of what makes people feel 100% comfortable. Pushing envelopes and buttons with the offbeat can be just what the over-stimulated consumer ordered. Encouraging creative experimentation not only attracts attention from audiences but it also helps to keep a community alive and well, fueled by passion and radical ideas. The more we can support artists with fair pay for their work, the more they are able to take creative risks and try something new, eccentric or perhaps weird. Experimentation celebrates and informs evolution – and both Beautiful Bizarre Magazine and Stocksy United, the sponsor of the Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize Photography Award 2019, want to always encourage artistic growth as modern art and media shifts into the future.

Below are a few select artists at Stocksy United that take liberties with creative expression – exposing a little of themselves in the beautifully bizarre imagery they create. We asked them the same five questions to get a snapshot of the creatives behind the photography. So get comfy, and prepare to delve into the minds of Igor Madjinca, Jovana Rikalo, Stas Pylypets and Jacqui Miller. 

Stocksy United Photographers

Igor Madjinca

How did photography become your chosen artistic medium?

I have been involved in various forms of art for many years but in the end photography and videography stand out as mediums where I can  express myself in the best way and where I can combine all things that I was working on in the past painting, lighting, music… and the best platform for presenting my work is certainly Stocksy United.

Igor Madjinca abstract nude photography

Igor Madjinca collage portrait

What does success as a photographer look like to you?

Success is a relative thing and for me it does not represent the number of likes and millions of followers but a personal satisfaction in the process of creating and understanding my work by others, in that sense I can say that I am feeling successful.

Photography is a visual language; what are you hoping to communicate to the viewer through your work?

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself with your work, in that way you will be honest with the observer as well, and they can feel it, so this is the best way to communicate with the audience and to be accepted, especially in the present day when we are surrounded by lies and deceit. After all, as far as I can see, this is also one of the principles of Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, since you are collaborating with artists who really love what they are creating and who are passionate about it. Nothing is as important as passion, it is the energy and you can not fake it. The problem nowadays is that many people do not know what passion is because they have never experienced it and passion is not something that can be explained it must to be experienced…

Igor Madjinca burnt photography Stocksy United mixed media surrealist photography

How does contemporary, always “plugged in” culture influence your work?

Every change and innovation can be good for art (and of course bad) but for me it represents the kind of challenge that pushes me forward.

For me, understanding and trust are something that is necessary for any form of collaboration and relation and that’s exactly what sets Stocksy United apart from other companies. The next is ability to recognize true values and overcome all the difficulties that the creative mind is faced with these days, which means that it is a strong and sincere creation that will last for a long time and it will give excellent results as it was up to today. It makes me very proud and privileged to be part of the amazing Stocksy United team. After all that time, I still enjoy watching photos and videos like in some galleries and I still have the same excitement like the first day. The fact that there is a truly unique base of creativity which you can find only on Stocksy.com and nowhere else is really something extraordinary.

Finally, I would like to thank you for the interview and it was a pleasure to work with such a wonderful company as Beautiful Bizarre.

Igor Madjinca black white bodies photography Igor Madjinca red blue portrait Igor Madjinca black white portrait

Jovana Rikalo

How did photography become your chosen artistic medium?

I’ve always loved photography so I can be very spontaneous and natural. In my second year of law faculty, I discovered the site called Flickr and I was amazed by the stories I saw there. They all have meanings and I gave myself a chance to create my story. That’s when it all happened and when I started to do photography more actively. For me, photography is art and passion.

Jovana Rikalo white rose photography Jovana Rikalo bubble surreal photography

What does success as a photographer look like to you?

If you are fulfilled with joy, passion and love, that is success. When you can transfer emotions in your photography to people who are looking at your works. To help them in some hard situations and to find themselves in your pieces.

Photography is a visual language; what are you hoping to communicate to the viewer through your work?

I hope to show them all of the emotions I had and things I struggled with in the past. To tell them that everyone has these situations and that they are normal. It’s just how we see and interpret circumstances and events. I see all these situations as fairytales and art. That is life.

Jovana Rikalo pink and blue box heads

How does contemporary, always “plugged in” culture influence your work?

There are so many similar situations and influences nowadays but I am trying to tell a story in my way and style. I am just creating, don’t think how much something is modern or not.

What are the benefits of sharing your work with a global design community like Stocksy United?

There are so many benefits. You not only share your vision and work with other photographers but clients as well. Stocksy is one great community and it is like a family to me. We are all together there.

Jovana Rikalo ladder photography Stocksy United Photographer Jovana Rikalo black white portrait Stocksy United Photographer Jovana Rikalo long white dress

Stas Pylypets

How did photography become your chosen artistic medium?

Photography, as a method of perceiving reality, came into my life in 2004 when my son was born – but I didn’t know then how much it would fascinate me as time went on! I bought my first camera and shot how my child grew, yet I also found shooting the world around me is no less exciting. I studied as a hairdresser and have always worked in the beauty industry. I’ve advanced far in my development in this field, but photography has always been something for me that moves parallel to my main occupation. Over time, I realized that hair as a material to work with as an artist limited me, but the same cannot be said about photography. In 2008, I acquired my first professional camera and the focus of my attention finally plunged into the world of photography.

Stas Pylypets surreal galaxy photography bath Stocksy United Photographer

Stas Pylypets black white nude photography

What does success as a photographer look like to you?

The success of the photographer, for me, is the ability to create without looking at someone else’s opinion, and in the absence of internal doubts. Success is not a destination; it is the very path that you follow no matter what. The material side of success is also very important, but it seems to me that it is less important than the internal balance of the artist. This very interview is a success for me! It is an opportunity to share my world, my photo, my thoughts with people.

Photography is a visual language; what are you hoping to communicate to the viewer through your work?

I want people to stop for a short time and just look around to be captivated by the feeling of how this world is; this reality is beautiful, despite the whole hurricane of the problems that we have created. We all rush somewhere at great speed and life around us becomes like a train of trees outside the train window, which in my opinion loses the taste of the feeling of being in this world, the uniqueness of the moment in which each of us is! Through my photographs, through the moments that I try to catch, I try to convey to my viewer this feeling that I experience. I want to show people that simple moments that fill our lives are a miracle and not a habit in which we lose this feeling.

One example is in my portfolio there is a series called “ASTRUM“, which is about how a person sees a dream in reality, how images overlap each other creating another dimension in which we lose our sense of self and continue to move by inertia.

Stas Pylypets ASTRUM Stocksy United photography

How does contemporary, always “plugged in” culture influence your work?

I would call modern culture a raging mountain river that captures you and carries you with such speed that you rarely succeed in breathing! This gives a strong impetus to the emergence of new, young and talented artists who are interesting to watch. I try to very carefully and selectively study visual content in such a way that it does not distort my personal perception of the environment as a photographer. Sometimes something gives strong inspiration and the opportunity to see in the familiar a new, previously unnoticed look at your old work from a different angle – to find something that has slipped away.

What are the benefits of sharing your work with a global design community like Stocksy’s?

Well, firstly, this is a very interesting dialogue and an opportunity to inspire others and be inspired by yourself. There is this mass of interesting, creative personalities scattered all over the globe whose work and progress is interesting to follow. Thanks to the Stocksy community, many of my old and fresh works have found a new life, which is very important for me. Now, when I’m shooting something, I look at some pictures and think: “Oh, this is great for Stocksy!” – and I like it.

Stas Pylypets black white flowers portrait Stocksy United Photographer

Stas Pylypets nude light portrait Stocksy United Photographer Stas Pylypets surreal galaxy photography

Jacqui Miller

How did photography become your chosen artistic medium?

I’ve tried a number of different art forms over the years, but it wasn’t until I found photography that I found a medium that fit. I started playing with slow shutter motion blur shortly after I bought my first DSLR in 2010 and I was instantly hooked. With photography, I had found the aesthetic I’d been searching for. I’ve used every DSLR, SLR, Instant and Cell phone camera that I own to create motion and blur images, but the iPhone is my current favourite. My movement series that I started shooting in 2015, has been shot and edited entirely with the iPhone.

Jacqui Miller abstract wings photography

Jacqui Miller red dress photography Stocksy United Photographer

What does success as a photographer look like to you?

Success for me is being completely happy with the image I’ve produced. I’m not always thrilled with the final piece but every now and then I create an image that brings me joy. It’s a lovely feeling when that image is received well by others and it’s extra special when it sells. But that doesn’t change the way I feel about the image, it just makes the success a little sweeter.

Photography is a visual language; what are you hoping to communicate to the viewer through your work?

Over the years, books and words have had a profound effect on me. I love how I can feel deeply when I read a beautifully composed sentence, or I can be moved powerfully by a single passage. Ultimately, that’s what I want to achieve with an image. I want to communicate an emotion or a mood to the viewer. It’s really satisfying when someone reaches out to me and says, this is what I see in your image or I think this is what you’re trying to say. I’m thrilled when they understand what I’m trying to convey, but I also love it when they see something completely different because their interpretation makes me look at the image in a new way.

Jacqui Miller flowers photography Stocksy United Photographer

How does contemporary, always “plugged in” culture influence your work?

Social media has had a huge impact on my work over the years. In my early days of photography, I was conversing daily with like-minded creatives all over the world. We were sharing our life experiences and photography knowledge, and we were encouraging each other to create. Nearly ten years on and I still have a core group of photography contacts who I communicate with regularly. I think one of the beauties of our plugged-in culture is that our creative networks are expansive, we’re not limited to localized experiences or to a singular culture; rather, we’re open to global experiences and multiple cultures. We all read things differently and we all have so much life and creative experience to bring to the table. There are no boundaries in photography as an artistic medium and, I think, being plugged-in enhances this experience.

What are the benefits of sharing your work with a global design community like Stocksy’s?

Thanks to Stocksy, my world is much bigger than where I live and socialise. Working alongside creatives all over the world, from diverse cultures and backgrounds, has been incredibly rewarding. Sharing my work with Stocksy has also had its economic benefits. I’ve had images pop up in country’s I never imagined they’d be used. Without a global design company, my portfolio would not have received the exposure it has.

Jacqui Miller blurry crown photography Jacqui Miller Stocksy United photography Jacqui Miller black dress photography Stocksy United Photographer

Stocksy United is a royalty-free stock photography and footage agency founded on creative integrity and respect for artists. Quality content paired with expert curation by creatives makes discovering unique, beautifully authentic imagery effortless. Explore Stocksy’s collection of exclusive imagery and easily find the perfect assets for attention-grabbing projects. 

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About Author

Based in the UK, Natalia Joruk enjoys a life surrounded by art, nature, and curious trinkets. As Deputy Editor, she's worked closely with the Editor-in-Chief for over a decade, supporting with the design and growth of Beautiful Bizarre and the maintenance of the annual Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize. Natalia also oversees sponsor partnerships for the Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize, and distribution of the magazine, so drop her an email if you know someone who would like to sponsor or stock! She also writes for both the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine website and print publication. One of her favourite perks is getting to know artists, gallery owners and their teams personally, so feel free to email her if there is anything she can help you with – or just to connect.


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