Friday, 19 January 2018

Interview: Marius Sachtikus

Therése Rosier, Marius Sachtikus, & Riwaa Nerona.


Marius Sachtikus is a Prague-based photographer, retoucher, visual artist and designer. 


Sinical Magazine: How did you get started in photography?

Marius Sachtikus: I am not one of those who claim to fall for the magic of photography when their father showed them a wondrous box that instantly took to their hearts and they have been doing it ever since. Pathetic. I started in high school when I got my first camera phone, if we can call that a small thing with 1.3 megapixel. I photographed atmospheric black and white landscapes, woods and nature. My first selfie came in 2007 when the word probably didn’t exist yet. I used it for my prom announcement, because I thought no one could take a better picture of me than myself using my phone. Not long after that I switched to a compact Fujifilm camera and a few months after that to a DSLR Canon camera. I have my third at the moment and soon another one will come along. From landscapes I slowly transferred to outdoor portraits and lately widened my range and focused on studio portraits and reportage.

Sinical Magazine: Who are some photographers that inspired your work when you first started?

Marius Sachtikus: There were not many. I tried to do things my own way and not get influenced too much. Anyhow in the beginnings a big influence on me was Czech photographer and surrealist Martin Stranka. My works, that mirrored his style, became renowned here in Slovakia and this series was published several times even on foreing webs. They were monochromatic square landscapes with the detail of a small lost human. Since this era of mine 6 years have passed and now I look at these works very critically. I realized that this style was not my own and never have never come back to it since.

Model: Ewel


Sinical Magazine: What type of camera equipment do you use?

Marius Sachtikus: As I mentioned, I am a Canon user. I don’t like the Canon vs. Nikon war or the embarrassing disputes about brands. But nothing can be done about that, it will always be the same as BMW vs. Mercedes or Samsung vs. Apple. Personally I prefer BMW and Samsung. For several years I have been using a full-frame camera: Canon 5D Mark II. A large sensor is solidy a necessary for a photographers these days. A possibilty of shallow depth of filed and low noise at higher ISO range is a great tool for work. About lenses, I like a quotation from mouth of famous photographer Robert Capa “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” Im using wile lenses like 14mm and 28mm with fast apertures. Long tele lenses? I don’t like them and I don’t own one.

Sinical Magazine: What type of lenses and focal length do you prefer for portrait work?

Marius Sachtikus: In the studio I photograph exclusively with 85mm, it has outstanding shaprnes and thanks to lower aperture it allows me to photograph portraits with low depth of field and achieve a more artistic, atmospheric and dreamier blurs of partial faces or images. Sometimes I pick up a 50mm if space prevents me from photographing the whole figure with 85mm.


Model: Striga.


Sinical Magazine: When creating a composition what is your main focus?

Marius Sachtikus: I improvise mostly. Sometimes I do draw a sketch, though, of how the result should look like. Most of the time I suffice with a thought of what theme to explore, some idea about the atmosphere of the photo and the rest shapes up during the shooting. I like to work with people in a way that they can also bring their own ideas in the process. More heads, more brains. Often I try to do some brainstorming during shooting, I engage the model, make-up artist, I like to have my nice and creative friends around for that. For commercial shoots it is quite different, but I still let myself be carried by the development of the shoot and I try to tailor the content of thhe photos to the model. What is important to me in any case is the form even a bit more than content. We can for instance photograph Red Riding Hood, who has been portrait in milion ways by many artists, but that isn’t an obstacle to having different, interesting and quality results.

Sinical Magazine: How much planning goes into a shoot?

Marius Sachtikus: I plan a lot during internet surfing, different webzines, Pinterest or Deviantart. I search for inspiration and file pictures and ideas into my head and bring them to a shoot. Sometimes I download a few pictures to my phone to show them to the model or the assistance team to give them an idea of where the shoot should go.


Therése Rosier & Riwaa Nerona.


Sinical Magazine: Do you work with continuous lighting or flash lighting?

Marius Sachtikus: In the studio I use flash technology exclusively, I think it is easier to work with and it is more controllable. I use it outdoors as well, in small, portable flashes, but sometimes a silver reflector or white diffuser could be helpful.

Sinical Magazine: What are some lighting set ups you like?

Marius Sachtikus: I like soft lighting. I use it almost everywhere. Big octaboxes are my friends and I have also grown fond of beautydish. Just like everyone else. I often light only using one light, when I was starting I didn’t have more and it stuck with me. With one big modificator you can come up with a lot and it is at the same time the easiest solution. One doesn’t have to take care of eight or more light sources and can focus on the contact with the models themselves. But of course there are cases when one is not enough. I like to use rimlights from behind or a column to locally light a specific detail. I like to shoot with clamshell or Rembrandt-style lighting. And the solo portrait is the best portrait.

Sinical Magazine: What is the most interesting that’s happened during one of your photo shoots?

Marius Sachtikus: I dont think I have any interesting or funny storys from the shootings. Every one of them is unique and unrepeatable. But I have tons of nice memories and i am glad that i had opportunities to work with lots of great and talented people on epic projects.


Model: Ewel 


Sinical Magazine: There is a lot of darkness in your work. Can you talk about this theme in your work?

Marius Sachtikus: Everyone should pay attention to things that are part of their psyche. Even in photography. If someone is a mom who likes children, she should photograph children. And if someone is fascinated their whole life with evil, death and dark corners of the human mind, they should reflect that in their work, not use it to photograph children or pets. That’s my case too. Since I was a kid I was more into the villains, I liked the vampires more than the princes, in online games I was always the undead in black armor and never understood how someone could even think about playing a gold plated paladin with eagles on their shoulders. I admire the power of evil and its darkness. But I try to have everything under control and not succumb to evil in the negative sense of the word, I am trying help people and I am nice to them and to animals too.

Sinical Magazine: Does music inspire your work? What do you listen to?

Marius Sachtikus: It is similar with music as well. I started on black metal and it is still the best for me. For example bands like Darkspace, Burzum, Windir or Lifelover. And it inspires me as well, since the first moment. My work is very closely tied to music, it radiates evil, it is often depressive to the marrow of the bones. Music has a very important place in my work and life, not only inspiring me but motivating me and helping me survive some of the more darker times. I couldn’t even imagine functioning day to day without it. Some of my other favorites are ambient, dark and grim or with folk feel, game soundtracks, Morrowing, Baldur’s Gate, WoW series or the Witcher, Jesper Kid or some movies like The Fountain or Matrix. My playlist contains some heavy metal, death metal, melodical stuff or horrorcore as well.
You can discover a great song, or artist in any genre. If anyone is interested in my musical tastes, I’ll be glad if they friend me or look me up on

Sinical Magazine: Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to mention?

Marius Sachtikus: At the moment I am coworking with the Prague based webzine Coregirls, where we photograph Czech alternative beauties. With the corset designer Riwaa Nerona we plan regular photoshoots in vintage retro style of the 1930s and 50s and a fashion editorial shoot for The Gate magazine is also around the corner. Also, after a long period of stupidly hesitating and procrastinating I want to begin working on a long term time lapse of the life of Prague tattoo artist Striga. I have always wanted to work on something like this and she is my inspiration and a great chance. I am very curious about the results. And last but not least we will, also with Striga and a Slovakian bodypainter Savitri, create images for the Belgian gothic ball Coalescaremonium which will take place 11.4.2015 in Le Bouche À Oreille, to which I am delighted to invite you. The photographs with be filled with witchcraft, bones, runes and the fire in the veins of a witch.

Lastly, I would like to thanks for the opportunity to present my work and thoughts and may everyone follow what what they want and not be scared off by life and thanks to my czech friend Moire from Vala’s Enchanted Ambry for this not easy translation from Slovak language. | 


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