Desert Flower at Night

by Sanja Marušić

Enter the fantastic and colorful worlds of photographer and film maker Sanja Marušić where she embodies different characters. Each with its own performance, movement and styling, sometimes contrasting with the landscape and other times blending in. As if they're all representing different versions of herself – goddess like, powerful, but also vulnerable, robotic or alien.

She travelled to Death Valley in the United States along with her husband and three battery operated lights to shoot in the middle of nowhere, which was the first obstruction. Her second obstruction was to shoot a scene per every ten seconds of the final film, making it a balancing act between planning and improvisation.

Her work by nature is very experimental and it’s difficult to find an obstruction that she doesn’t already impose upon herself. She mainly works by herself, operating both the camera and being the model as well as travelling all over the world with minimal equipment. Her visuals on the other hand are quite the opposite – bursting with color, life and love.

Find the middle of nowhere and shoot one scene for every 10 seconds of the final film.




Packed with three of the brightest lights, a box full of props, tape, scissors, more stuff, camera gear, bottles of water and somewhat of a plan, Sanja and her husband Lars drove into the desert.

Once there it turned out to be very windy, so they had to adjust and form a new plan. In stead of mounting the lights on the stands and film the both of them, Lars had to hold the lights to keep them from falling over. From this unplanned obstruction a new opportunity of light and camera movement was born.

Over the course of several evening they shot different scenes on various locations, using the lights in different ways. Sometimes covering them with colored gels or using the bi-color option to set the right color temperature only to further tweak the colors even further in post production.

Q & A

Q & A

Q & A

A lot of people might know you from your photography. Do you consider yourself to be a film maker as well?

I always say I'm a photographer because I have been doing photography for such a long time, and making movies is something I only began with a few years ago, so I still have to get used to the title "film maker". But the answer is: Yes i think I am both.

How does the process of making this film differ from your photography process and could you tell us a little about how you work?

There is not a big difference actually. The biggest difference is that I feel more freedom with photography, practical wise. With filming I need more equipment and plan things more. When I make my personal work I work really intuitive and I create my end results by a lot of experimenting, I am never afraid to try things and I like to see how far I can push things, with my posing, searching for my locations and with the post production.

For this film did you have an idea or concept before you started filming? It might be both easy and difficult to improvise in the landscapes you go to. How much is planned and how much is spontaneous?

I did actually have the idea to film my husband (a.k.a. Sounds of Confusion) and me together, using a tripod and remote control. But when we were in the desert it happened to be a very stormy week and we couldn't leave the lamps and tripod on their own. So we created another idea, where we filmed me alone. The advantage of this was that we now were able to move the lights around while filming, and we could create camera movement.

This is one of the reasons why I love to work in nature. It forces me to be humble, towards nature's power. I don't like to have all the control, like in the studio. I like to go with the flow.

Does that also apply to the way you handle the images or scenes in post-production? Did you already know how you would change colors or which visual effects you might use when you shot the film?

No, I follow the same intutive process in the post-production. I experiment until it comes to life.

Lighting plays an important part in your film and we even see one of the lights as a practical. How did you use the lights and how did you like working with them?

The desert gets very dark at night, and the effect of artificial lighting gives the surroundings a very cool alienating effect. I like that the lights work on batteries, so I can use them on remote locations. I decided to use colored gels to create pink and red lights. I used the lights on stands, moved them around alot, and also held the lights in my hand, almost as a flashligh, since they are very light.





Dutch Croatian Photographer, 1991
Graduated photographer at KABK, The Hague
Amsterdam based but travels the world to photograph




Video by: Sanja Marušić
Sound by: Sound of Confusion

Equipment used:
Nikon camera
Astora PS1200D Power Spot light
Astora PS 1200B Power Spot light



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A word from our sponsor

No matter what your idea is, what camera you use, how experienced you are, Astora offers a complete strong and light weight solution providing bright, high quality LED lights. Ready to take on any creative challenge.

No matter what your idea is, what camera you use, how experienced you are, Astora offers a complete strong and light weight solution providing bright, high quality LED lights. Ready to take on any creative challenge.

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