Ruby is a photographer (@rubyjurecka) originally from Australia, who then grew up in Hong Kong, and is currently back in Australia and based in Melbourne.
You first experimented with disposables at six years old. Was this something you decided to try yourself or was given to you by family/friends?
I was given a disposable camera as a gift (probably something really last minute), and I took photos of practically everything in my backyard. Rocks, flowers, people, the sky. I documented pretty mundane things. In retrospect, I think these early experimentations truly led to my love for imagery.
Do you think those early experiences bring a certain nostalgia from your childhood that influences why you feel emotionally attached to still shooting on it again currently?
Definitely. I think I have a fetish for memories: non-constructed, natural moments. It’s not the idea of thriving off ‘fun times’ or ‘defining moments’ or needing to make times profound, but I just feel literally obsessed with paying attention to narratives, time, the everyday, and the processes in which we can document that. I think my attitude towards photography shifted over time through both experimentation with digital and analog photography, but also my intent behind photographing. The emotional attachment today certainly is influenced by childhood nostalgia. I am consistently shooting from a previous self; wanting to photograph components of a scene, a life or a day that make up someone, or my own life. I find it all really beautiful. I think I’ve recently gone back to using disposables because of a less judgmental self, and it gives me that same sensation that it did when I was younger.
Additionally, you got a DSLR at 14. Were you shooting on your iPhone yet around this time, too? When do you think you made your realization about your preference towards analog?
When I bought my first DSLR at 14, I was aiming to take photos with larger resolutions and collect more information. Compatible with technology and services around me, it only seemed logical. I wanted to learn how to control the images I wanted in a digital environment. While I had an iPhone also at the time, I was never really compelled to shooting with a smartphone. I used it for primarily social media, but it also played a part in ‘research’ - whether it was quick snaps, or location scouting (which is something I still do today). My preference towards analog emerged during my final years of high school. I studied Literature, Film and Visual Art in Hong Kong, and so much of what I was passionate about in my learning lent itself to the use of montage, postmodernism, documentary and memory. Capturing this and attempting this all with digital just got boring. There’s so much out there with analog. It took honest experimentation with digital and analog photography to understand the limitations and implications of different mediums. A lot of my favorite photographers have also inspired me to work with film, such as David Hockney and William Eggleston.
How do you find your interaction with subjects to be when shooting analog compared to digital?
Depending on the subject and your shooting style, it’s not all too different digital versus analog. I personally find myself a lot more comfortable with the subject and setting when shooting analog, as it feels less confrontational and in your face, therefore my photographs have the potential to be more natural.
As another aspect of technology and the digital world, how do you feel about Instagram as a platform and how it’s changed photography?
I feel conflicted whenever I am asked this question. I love the digital world because we are able to share so much with another. I love that I can see what my favorite artists and creatives are currently working on, and there are so many networks and opportunities online. There is a lot of inspiration and empowerment that people have access to. I use Instagram everyday for this. But I am also very conflicted with platforms such as Instagram. It’s great that we can share our work, but at times it can feel like these platforms oversimplify photography. Condensed all into a single profile, the way photographs are received is a completely different experience online versus viewing real-life prints. I think people can forget about the artists behind these online profiles.
With hashtags, and what’s trending, platforms such as Instagram can sometimes perpetuate the same photographic styles and aesthetics over and over, as we all want to deliver. I know many young creatives who even feel the pressure to deliver what Instagram wants to see - but what does the art world want to see? I think there should be more encouragement and space for that. I guarantee that you will receive a lot more experience, admiration, and love for what you do for stepping out of your boundaries - as opposed to feeling like you’ve gotta shoot portraits like every other magazine cover that is trending right now.
Being Australian and growing up in Hong Kong, how did that influence you?
I moved to Hong Kong from Melbourne when I was nine years old for my parents work. At that age, moving didn’t really phase me. Though moving back to Melbourne at 19 for university, I can sometimes get confused when people ask me where I’m from. It’s like, I am Australian, but I personally have no idea what it means to be Australian. Growing up in Hong Kong, I was constantly surrounded by people from all over the world. It’s extraordinarily international which I’m forever grateful for and so used to. I think the pace of the city has influenced my ambitions the most.
If you could travel to any three places in the world next year, where would you go?
Beijing: I find China really interesting, and I have a lot of love for China. I’ve visited Chengdu, Shanghai and Fujian, but not Beijing. I really enjoy the Chinese art-scene, and would love to visit the capital.
Copenhagen: I have a little place in my heart for ceramics (<3), and the majority of my favorite artists working with ceramics come from Copenhagen! Something good must be going on in Copenhagen.
New York: While I’ve already been to New York, I desperately need to go back.