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April 12, 2020


Photography by Mary Crnkovic Pilas
Interview by Karin Svadlenak Gomez

Born and raised in Sydney, Mary Crnkovic Pilas moved to Zagreb Croatia in 1992 after completing her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Music and French. With an interest in photography, Mary attended courses at the Zagreb Photo Club to improve her skills. However, due to work and family obligations, she hung up her camera for many years. After completing The Camino de Santiago, a large network of ancient pilgrim routes that stretch across Europe and come together at the tomb of St. James in north-west Spain, Mary once again took up photography. She loves to document ordinary people and everyday scenes, and shoots mostly in black and white.

“I have always been interested in photography but my love for it was rekindled after completing the Camino Portuguese in 2016.”


THE PICTORIAL LIST: Mary, where do you find your inspiration?

MARY CRNKOVIC PILAS: In everyday situations on the street.

TPL: Do you have a different style of photographing today than when you first started?

MCP: I would say that it hasn’t changed so much but perhaps evolved and improved. I have always loved street photography and still do.

TPL: Where is your favourite place(s) to photograph?

MCP: The streets of Zagreb in Croatia.

TPL: Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone just starting out?

MCP: Despite what people say, I think equipment is important, e.g. how well the camera performs at high ISOs (I love to do night photography so this is quite important to me), how fast it focuses, etc. So although I don’t believe that equipment will not make you a better photographer, it does help you to capture your vision.

The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street. - Robert Doisneau

TPL: What characteristics do you think you need to become a good photographer? What’s your tips or advice for someone in your genre?

MCP: I think that Elliott Erwitt said it best - “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

TPL: Have you been involved in any other artistic fields other than photography?

MCP: Yes, I am actually a musician by trade.

TPL: Who are your favourite artists?

MCP: Definitely the old classic photographers such as Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier Bresson, Elliott Erwitt...I also love documentary photographers such as Don McCullin, David Turnley and Peter Turnley.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

MCP: Yes, I am working on capturing Croatian traditions on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Heritage. It’s going to take a while but I am in no hurry to complete it. I have so far captured two of the 14 items on the list 🙂

TPL: "If I wasn't photographing what would I be doing?...

MCP: Singing."

Mary’s work captures the beauty and vibrancy of everyday life in her home city of Zagreb. Her photographs capture the unique and marvel moments of ordinary people and their everyday scenes. To experience more of Mary’s amazing work, please connect with her on her website and Instagram, using the links below. Come explore and appreciate the beauty of everyday life in Zagreb and Mary's travels!

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