“When I’m shooting is probably the only time where I’m not overthinking and analyzing everything,” says Annika Kafcaloudis about her work, a mix of fine art and documentary style photography. Like many photographers, Annika received her first camera as a child. As a 10-year-old she roamed the rural area of Australia pointing her 35mm Kodak at whatever interested her. That eventually led to studying photography in school, and also like many photographers, a post-university career working at a restaurant.
When she was offered a photo gig shooting photos for the food delivery service Deliveroo, she took it. “The money I got shooting for half an hour for delivery was the same as mopping the floors and doing the tables for like five hours. I was like, ‘OK, maybe commercial is a viable career.’”
After photographing more than 300 restaurants around Australia Annika decided she was ready to “do her own thing.” As she explored her commercial photography practice she found a commonality in her interests—how things get made. “There’s an obvious curiosity in process and where stuff comes from. Photography is just a really good excuse for me to go and see how stuff is made.”
In a recent series she photographed furniture from Brud Studia—an experimental studio from Mitchell Zurek and Andrew Kelly, who are also close friends of Annika and who she affectionately refers to as “the boys.” “So the boys made this chair from slabs of aluminum. It’s quite an impractical chair, it weighs like 100 kilos, it’s incredibly heavy and slots together. There are no screws; the pieces just sit together.”
To capture the images Annika built a simple set from cardboard. She prefers to work quickly and organically and is drawn to the aesthetic of studios and production facilities. “I love a concrete yard or a construction site. We can have anything we want nowadays. Being able to access stuff instantly and it just gets delivered to you is such a wonderful thing, but where does it come from? How was it made?”
In another image Annika captures a finely crafted wood chair made by Hugh McCarthy. Instead of being set in an immaculately arranged living room Hugh’s gloved hands are in the frame applying stain. The image tells a story of the care that went into the chair while still illustrating its design and beauty. “It’s a challenge because often when clients invite me onto a site, they’re like, ‘Yeah, good luck with this one,’ or ‘The studio is really ugly.’ Or I have to ask people multiple times, and they’re like, ‘What we do is really boring. There’s no point coming to photograph it.’ But I find a lot of interest in it.”
Annika’s genuine interest in craft comes across in her work and has made her a sought-after photographer. “We live on a big island, so not a lot of Australian photographers travel for work. But a lot of the work is generated here and done here. It’s a very visually driven society. It’s wild how much work I have and how much work my photographer friends have. We’re all really busy. I often forget I’m very lucky.”
A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 09 with the headline “Annika Kafcaloudis.” Subscribe today.