I cordially invite you to the magical world of this irresistible photographic collection; to the remarkable story of Maja and her esthetic delicacies.
Delicious snacks, naughty treats, crunchy biscuits, family gingerbread, multicolored creams in a glass, refreshing soups, irresistible drinks, vital grains and berries, ginger and magnificent chocolate – ranging from foamy to crunchy, cooked and baked dishes, as well as light and raw food are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artist Maja Danica Pečanić, a gastronomic photographer and food stylist from Zagreb.
I met Maja while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where she graduated from Graphics in 2003. She was already working in photography at the time and it has remained her profession to date. Even though Maja is an academic graphic artist, she is known, in Croatia and abroad, as a star of gastronomic photography, working with a number of newspapers, lifestyle magazines, publishers and advertising agencies. She has a son named Maks, for whom she says, she doesn’t have to stylize food. Maja’s won several awards for her work, among them the “Annual Best Foreign Stamp Poll” award at a chinese competition, for the best thematic stamp in 2003 with her edition of “Caution, mines!” You can find out more about Maja at her web site
Find out what inspires Maja, which tree she’d prefer to be and what she’d have for her last supper, in this interview.
Given a choice, what kind of a tree would you be and why?
Hmm, I can barely differentiate between a beech and an oak, plus I can’t really imagine myself as a tree. Well, if I really have to be a tree, I’d definitely be one that gives edible fruits. An olive tree. It grows in the sun, in strong winds, in barely arable land, close to the sea. An ungainly, branching, tough and resilient tree. An olive tree, because of olive oil, cold pressed naturally. Now if I can also pick the variety, then I’d be a Leccino.
A fact about you that surprises people, especially those who know you.
I have no idea. I’d have to ask them and get back to you. Maybe one of my unconventional positions.
What would you have for your last supper?
If I knew it was my last supper, I wouldn’t eat a bite. I don’t eat when I’m nervous. I really enjoy food, and I can only enjoy myself when I’m relaxed, so I don’t want to eat when I’m nervous. But most importantly, I really don’t want to know when my last supper is. Mortality and transience are topics I try to ignore, I try not to think about it. I try,… unsuccessfully though.
Who would you invite to dinner if you could choose anyone?
This is going to sound boring, but I’d invite the same people I usually invite. I like the close circle of friends I have, I like their company and the more intimate relationships we have. I’d also invite some of my friends, who’ve left Zagreb, and I rarely get to see. If I could also choose among the dead, I’d definitely have dinner with my grandparents. I’m not fascinated by celebrities. I’m sure that, if I could have dinner with Stalin, Jackson Pollock or Le Corbusier, it wouldn’t be an interesting evening. We’d neither click, nor open up, unless under the influence of narcotics, or large quantities of alcohol. Under those circumstances, I think I’d prefer the company of Anthony Bourdain.
Who or what inspires you most?
Light, nothing inspires me as much as light.
What do you like most about the city you live in?
I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I think it’s mostly an acquired taste. Unfortunately, it’s become impossible to fall in love with Zagreb anymore, the only thing possible, is to feel nostalgia, if you move away.
Name your 5 favorite things!
This is a difficult question… I know this may sound pretentious, but I don’t get attached to things. The only thing important to me is creating a pleasant atmosphere where I live. I’m quite occupied with that at present, because my 4 year old son and I are in the process of moving to a new apartment. Like with every big change, I’m both pleased and burdened, as well as excited by the move. I should also mention my camera, despite the fact that it is my Borg implant, so I don’t know if it counts.
Which good book, have you recently read?
I either read several books at once, or don’t read at all. Depending on how much free time I have. What I mean by reading more books at once is, that I read them depending on the mood I’m in. I don’t read fiction; I’m interested in sociological topics, psychology… I especially like books published by Planetopija – I mostly read their books nowadays. I recently bought Fromm’s To Have or to Be?, which was my favourite book when I was studying, but I was dissapointed by it. Last year I went through a feminine faze and read Angier’s Woman: an Intimate Geography, and Schaef’s Women's Reality. Books follow the changes within us, we take from them, what we most need and feel at any given time. They nurture our positions, and seldomly change them. Sometimes we connect with them, sometimes not, just as in relationships with people.
What sort of music are you listening to these days?
As far as music is concerned, nothing’s changed. I still like and listen to the same music as I did 18 years ago. Rage Against Machine and Soundgarden remain my favorite bands and I listen to them when walking to the kindergarten to pick up Maks. I often fixate on a thing and then constantly listen to it. Like Wake up by Mad Season, or Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie, or Black by Pearl Jam…
What would you most like to do at this moment?
To go for a morning swim in the sea off the island of Rab, on a sunny, summer day. The sound of crickets and the combined fragrance of rosemary, laurels and immortelle… Peace.
Who would you like to spent the night with, if you could choose anyone?
Hahaha… the important thing is, that he knows I’m thinking of him.
Who's blog do you frequently follow?
I follow Sjedi i jedi, written by my friend, Jelena Nikolić daily. As I don’t have any free time at the moment, following blogs boils down to scanning the photos and not reading. Naturally I mostly follow blogs about food. I wish I had more time to follow Gurwoman, Da mi je nešto slatko, Gastro Ladu, Manjadu…