DIRECTOR, CINEMATOGRAPHER & PHOTOGRAPHER
Erald Kraja is a filmmaker and photographer born in Shkodër, Albania and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. From a young age, he has been interested in visuals arts starting with drawings and paintings, and later on in various forms of photography, form landscape to fashion, which reflect on his current film work.
Erald likes to incorporate traditional motifs with modern and contemporary settings in order to create a coherent story, but at the same time praise specific cultural values.
"Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can"
When did you start to get interested in filmmaking and photography?
At first I got into landscape photography when I was 12 years old. Later on I started learning about film at 16 years old. Since then I have been practicing this form of art and sometimes experimenting with it.
If you were an advertisement, which would your slogan be?
Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
Which is the part you enjoy the most about filmmaking?
In filmmaking I really enjoy working with people of my field while sharing creative ideas.
This was one reason that made me shift from photography to filmmaking; because film production needs more input from different people and also needs more preparation and thorough thinking to be done for a project to be successful
Most artists say that through their art they learn more about themselves, heal injuries… In which aspects has you journey helped you?
As mentioned before, I have been experimenting with different forms of photography and film, from landscapes to fashion, and from simple documentary to experimental films.
I wouldn’t say that I had anything to be healed from but different projects showed me what I like more and what I like less about my work and the my way of approaching projects.
So from project to project I stared refining my workflow by picking on my favorite styles from the past work. I think that an individual is always learning as they go. My art has helped me shape my own style, whether it be related to my artwork or my life.
What does filmmaking and photography mean to you?
This is very tough to define. I was once told that there is a criteria to call something an art piece, but I strongly disagree with that.
As long as the artist, or the individual, expresses their ideas, thoughts and emotions on a visible or audible medium that is art.
Who are your idols?
My idols are Emanuel Lubezki, Roger Deakins, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Alfonso Cuarón.
If you didn’t like filmmaking and photography, what would you like to do?
If I didn’t like doing creative camera work I would be working in architecture.
Do you consider that nowadays there are more or less opportunities for new artists? Why?
Even though I think that the number of new artists has increased, I think that opportunities have increased too.
Nowadays, all social media and internet revolves around creations by creators which most of them are artists in a way or another. I would say that the world needs more artists now then ever, so when something becomes a necessity the opportunities increase too.
What would your idyllic life as an artist be like?
My idyllic life as an artist would have me living somewhere in a remote town in the mountains while writing scripts and coming up with ideas for my next projects. This is because I find nature very relaxing, calm and stress-free.
Which are your upcoming projects?
Right now we just finished a documentary called Butterflies, which is about the difficult lives of some ladies born in internment, during the communist regime in Albania.
I am also writing down ideas for another documentary about food consumerism and the environment.
Do you want to know more about Erald Kraja? You can find some projects below.