Female Film Photographers You Should Know: Marii Kiisk

15 March, 2021

Marii Kiisk is a talented film photographer born in Kunda, a beautiful town in Estonia and currently based in Tallinn. In the summer of 2020, Marii took the decision to leave the digital photography chapter behind to start a journey of no return in the world of analogue photography. Her work focuses mainly on portraiture, where the photographer creates various enigmatic and fascinating fictional scenes with a tenacious use of dominant colours.

How would you introduce yourself to someone who just met you?

Hi, I’m Marii. I like bad movies, dad jokes and taking photos.

What is the memory that you most fondly remember from your childhood?

I grew up in a beautiful small town in Estonia, our house was in the forest, we had a river in our backyard, and the sea was 10 minutes away. I loved summers the most and I’d spend the majority of my days at the seaside or wandering around in surrounding nature. 

Who were the most influential people during your teens and how did they influence you?

I was a huge daydreamer  – I still am -, and music was definitely something that really helped me to accept myself and gave me confidence to face the world. Crystal Castles was certainly the most influential band to me during my teenage years.


How did you get in the world of analogue photography?

I started taking photos around 2015. I owned a few film cameras in between, but never stuck with those (mostly because they were brick-like monsters and uncomfortable to carry around). As I progressed, I was never quite happy with how I started to approach photography and how I’d take 500+ photos without even giving it a thought. So, in the summer of 2020, I decided it’s time to close the chapter of digital photography and go full analogue. I was the best decision I ever made by far, I’ve already learned so many valuable lessons and I love the challenges that come along.

How would you describe the photography you do? What is your work focused on?

I love playing around with different lights. I’m usually able to work with limited equipment and try to use the surrounding environments as much as possible, to also support the atmospheric value of my images. 

Are you working on any photographic project at the moment? 

No, I’m not working on any project just yet.

Is there any photographic project that you would like to do but have not done yet?

I’ve actually never done a photographic project before, but I’ve been constantly coming back to this thought in the recent months. I have a lot of different thoughts about what to do with this project, but one thing I know for certain, it has to involve water (seas, rivers, lakes, etc). 

Which camera and which film do you use the most in your photography and why?

I started shooting film full time in June 2020 and used the point and shoot camera Olympus Mju-II. Then I decided that I need something more solid and purchased my Canon AE-1, which is currently my only film camera. I’m waiting for my Canonet QL17 to arrive. My go-to film stocks are Kodak Gold and Kodak Ultramax 400, but I also enjoy Kodak Portra 160 and Cinestill 800T

Who are your biggest influences?

At the moment I’m really admiring the work of Elizaveta Porodina. However,  my inspiration mostly comes from films, my dreams or nostalgic memories. 

What’s the best advice you would give yourself when you started in the world of film photography?

Shooting digital made me rush, so I’d tell myself that I don’t have to press on the shutter button if I’m not happy with what I’m seeing from the viewfinder.


Find more about Marii’s Work👇

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariikiisk/


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