Please introduce yourself: What is your name, where are you from, what do you do?
My Name is Antony Sojka and I am currently living in Berlin Tempelhof. I work as a freelance photographer, usually being commissioned for portraits and documentaries.
Sometimes I also do still-life commissions; I like doing them every now and then to have a different type of challenge. On my spare time I like to work on own projects, one of them being ‹TIDE›, a work about people living on small undyked islands.
What is your relationship with photography? How did you get into it and what keeps you interested or motivated?
I always enjoyed doing work with my hands. My grandfather was an electrician working underground in a mine and my dad was a carpenter for most of his life. I always knew I wanted to do something creative in life and after trying different things like painting, drawing or writing I later discovered my passion for photography.
My parents, sister and I moved in 1998 from Brazil to Germany and during the first years I experienced a very depressing time of not being able to communicate with people because my German skills still were not good enough. This experience always stuck with me and art was for me the key to never, not be able to tell stories.
It was then during my A-levels that my grandfather gifted me his camera, a ZENIT 11. I shot a lot of black and white films during that time. Shortly after that I bought a cheap Daci box camera. I didn’t understand anything about shooting medium format at that time and didn’t even had a light meter, so taking photos was always a guessing game and waiting for the results kept me motivated. Nowadays, I like visiting exhibitions and buying photo books or zines. I love seeing what stories other people are telling and it is great to see how different photography is being used to do that.
Tell me about your most recent project. What was the driving force behind creating it, what was your intention and how did you come up with the Idea?
My wonderful partner Emma and I were invited to a friends wedding in Inner Mongolia. We decided to take a month off and travel through China and Taiwan afterwards. Since I didn’t know what we were going to expect, the only thing I could do was to document whatever I saw. The great thing was that the search for nice and interesting spots to take photos always led us to get in touch with many great and very caring people. A discovery, if you like, of places we could not possibly have found otherwise.
My biggest drive of the journey was the search for a place next to the Great Wall of China where we would be able to camp and which was as isolated from tourists as possible. And after hours of negotiations and talks with different people we managed to find a beautiful spot in the Gansu province with no one else around. That was a great experience. With these visual sketches I just want to take others on a journey through China as I experienced it.
What are you currently working on, and — if there is — what is your next project or journey?
This year might be my last year in Berlin and this is taking a lot of space in my head which makes it hard to plan other projects. However, I am currently working on a few very different things: a poetry book with a German screenwriter, planing possible dates to continue working on my long term project ‹TIDE› and there is a small project planned together with a musician whose work I enjoy a lot but unfortunately can’t talk about it now as it is still in an early stage.
Thank you Antony!
© Antony Sojka