29 Jul Exhibition ‘Shades to Illuminate’ by Agne Monti.
Photographer and social entrepreneur Agne Montrimaite has started to take pictures with her compact Canon camera at the early age of thirteen. For many years she had indulged herself in different genres and techniques of this art but never considered photography as a future career. It was not until she left her hometown Kaunas (Lithuania) to study Events Management and International Business in London that her passion turned into a full-scale business affair. In this Q&A, the 24 year-old talks about her first exhibition Shades to Illuminate and the pioneering concept behind a new social enterprise, PhotoBlast, that links artists with venues in a bid to nurture new creative talent in the capital.
When did you take up photography?
I began taking pictures as a hobby at the age of thirteen, but never took it seriously. As I grew older, I had many sleepless nights and thoughts of what I am to do with life and came to a realisation that it is more real than ever – I am responsible for my future. I was, as many students, breaking my back, working in restaurants to pay for my studies when I accidentally got back into photography. I found my dusty old camera in the storage and started taking pictures again. Suddenly, that simple and mundane moment of capturing the light through the lens took a whole new meaning to me. It was the moment of truth – photography changes lives, and it has just changed mine.
Initially, I started working as a food photographer. At the time, it was convenient to me because I was working in the catering industry. Eventually, experimentation with other subjects followed. I started photographing people, interior design and covering events. I wanted to learn as much as possible so I took an advantage of every opportunity. Little by little, I got commissions from various start-ups and individuals, which was really exciting. That was the moment when I got into commercial photography – an opportunity that every beginner so treasures – being paid for doing stuff you love. After a year of playing with my camera and experimenting, I realised that photography is my bread and butter, the stuff that my dreams are made of.
What was your inspiration for the exhibition?
‘Shades to Illuminate’ is my first actual exhibition. I have this complete confidence with the subject and I want to showcase it. The work explores the idea, that in order to ‘see’, we need to ‘read’ the light if we are to interpret the truth behind the patterns in every shape and curve imprinted by movement or emotion. I want to express that communication makes the world social, and there are ways without speaking it out loud. As a photographer, I interpret the world through captured moments. When I press the button I freeze the time, I take the picture of the object bathed in light – in all it’s glory. Light and darkness are my primal creative elements and camera is like a time-machine to me.
Can you describe the process for capturing the images exhibited?
I have used a very little light in the studio – just a glimpse to illuminate, only a part of the whole object. My intention was to leave everything else in the mystery of darkness. That was like writing a Japanese Haiku – so few words yet, such a significant meaning.
Do you have any photographers/visual artists’ work that you admire?
Fashion photographer, Lara Jade. I favour her style of simplicity and minimalism.
How does the exhibition fit into your wider aspirations as a social entrepreneur?
Personally, I am excited because my work will be judged and it will help me grow my confidence. Also, I have a fantastic team behind me and we are introducing a new concept called PhotoBlast. We aim to help visual artists to promote themselves and to grow within the industry. This exhibition is also an opportunity for us to convey what we can offer to other photographers, who want to have a self-expression platform at hand. From printing to framing, as well as promoting and exhibiting – everything we will provide in an affordable way that creates a platform for both the artist and the end receiver to appreciate the art itself in an interesting setting. End of story.
Where do you see yourself in ten year’s time?
I want to travel, educate myself, and help other people. This makes me happy.