Capturing Sunbeams: Stella Mešić

Capturing Sunbeams: Stella Mešić

May 21, 2024Marijeta Duvnjak

In the realm of photography, where light and shadow dance in eternal interplay, there is a photographer who not only captures this dance but also embodies the very essence of the sunlight she harnesses. Meet Stella Mešić, a young, radiant, and profoundly inspiring photographer from Vinkovci whose unique approach to her art form is as captivating as the work she creates.

A Symphony of Light

Stella always had specific visions in her head when it comes to photography. Even though she worked as an event photographer for some time, she didn't manage to fully find herself in it. Her area of expertise is more transferring mental ideas into image form, whether in terms of personal projects or projects for the clients. Although she really likes to make visuals for advertisements, fashion editorials and portraits, she admits that likes to make self-portraits the most. It’s because she always finds herself behind the lens, consequently she didn't have that many photos of herself. So she figured she’ll capture memories of some places and moments. Besides that, she was never satisfied with how others photographed her which motivated her to experiment on her own. She realized how to convey an emotion or a concept from her mind, so Stella started growing in that direction. Her favourite motive is the sun, hence her Instagram account name @partsofthesun. Rather than taking photos under professional lighting, she prefers to take photos in the sun. Also, her working space, where she spends a lot of time, has a neon sign “Sun room Studio”. Self-portraits taught her patience and helped her in building confidence in terms of photography skills and knowledge of the equipment she works with. Then she jokingly added that it also helped her learn that everybody can look great in photos if we know how to pose.


Motivation and fulfilment

When we asked what motivates her to create, she said: “Little Stella” with a smile. She remembers lively little girl full of energy that she was, opting for drawing and playing rather than sitting quietly in class. She couldn’t imagine herself in anything other than creating in the way that every time something prevented her from creating, she felt like she wasn’t living her life. Stella feels alive when she creates and now that became her job and purpose. In addition, all the wonderful messages of encouragement motivate her, people open up to her and say how her art has touched, inspired and encouraged them, which means the world to her.

Every day before work Stella likes to pray which helps her greatly to focus. But then she told us with laughter that she’s not always disciplined and that she often procrastinates just before the end of a project. The reason is that she doesn't want the feeling of creating force to end. So Stella often starts working on another project before everything is finished with the first one. This way she is constantly working on something, starting new things and the feeling never ends, she concludes with a smile.  This method is unusual, but it works for her. Her notebook has over 109 concepts waiting for their turn, so she is never out of ideas.

Stella claims that her art evokes all kinds of emotions in her: from freedom and happiness, to anger, sadness and confusion, but that is the reason why she creates. She feels the urge to face them all. Apart from that, she has a feeling of duty towards creation. Then she remembered a quote by author Rick Rubin: "You're either born with a talent or you become good along the way. And what you are good at, you must not take for granted... Because every art is first and foremost an offering to God. We are at the service of the idea and accept this responsibility with humility and gratitude." Stella believes we are predestined to create, otherwise you will go through life unsuccessfully trying to fill that void in yourself. Although you create primarily for yourself, you also create because you are in the service of an idea and for the sake of others for whom your work means - for the little girl in you and for all the girls in the future, she concluded.



Stella confessed that her mom was the first role model in everything she has ever done. She remembers her versatility when she was younger, from artistic tendencies to her distinguished fashion style which remained to this day. She proudly calls her “one artist woman team”, and Stella is also one. She taught her braveness and not giving up. Her mantra is that tomorrow is a new day in which we are allowed to start from the beginning. She remained true to herself and to what led her to make some sometimes crazy decisions, but these are the ones that paid off in life, without justifying it to anyone. Later in life she realized how well her mom prepared her for all the obstacles and problems in life.

Stella thinks that no matter how much we express ourselves and support each other, it is not enough, it can never be too much. She admits she has always been a utopian who believed that art could change the world for the better. But the world needs to take a good look at themselves first. We should all celebrate other women and not wait to be celebrated, she added.


Growth and forgiveness

Today, everyone has their 5 minutes of fame as Andy Warhol predicted, but it's only on social media, Stella claims. She then told us about her perspective concerning young artists. In her opinion, some things and events from the past are part of our culture and should be remembered, but she sees more potential in giving space to young people who participate in building the future. Then she continued with the thought that we all need to create our own space, it doesn’t matter if it’s on social media networks, within the community, in a professional or personal manner. Our space is something we need to fight for. Stella shared her philosophy: “We should create and then ask for forgiveness, instead of waiting for permission. Because permits are for driving a car.”

As our conversation went along Stella remembered the painful experience from days of college that made her question herself. She was in a bad place after a rejection at the enrolment and thought for some time that she was no longer an artist and maybe her destiny was to be something else. She fought and overcame the crisis by starting her blog and creating again. For some time, her anger was her driving force, and her works reflected it. She admits that it was just a band-aid on a wound. Gradually she started to heal and then she acknowledged that the only way she could create until that moment was from pain, which was her trigger for everything. After a lot of work on herself, she began to live by the truths that took her so long to realize. Stella believes in her core she was born to be an artist, creating and contributing through art and that is as valuable as any other calling or profession. She now knows that pain and darkness can only go to a certain depth and inspire only a certain amount. Her life is marked with the fact that love is the medicine and an inspiration, it is not measurable through dimensions. Love is absolute, infinite and eternal and that Stella and her art live in it. Forgive everyone, forgive yourself and create.



Guidance for the emerging artists

A word of advice from Stella to the young artists: first of all, experimenting with a bunch of things is key. When she started taking photos, she was part of a project where she had to take one photo every day for a year. And through that process, Stella discovered that she prefers photographing abstraction the most, textures, architecture, sky, water and people. She continued about the importance of creating with intention. In her opinion, too much time on social networks daily is death for creativity, it will not produce fresh ideas. In the future she hopes for everybody to stop wishing to be like somebody else and emphasizes the importance of remembering that we are who we are for a reason. Our art is ours and must be personal and specific to us. She concludes with the thought that it's okay to be inspired by other people's work, but you must be careful not to cross the line where you lose yourself.


The radiant power of listening

With the end of our interview approaching, Stella repeated that she has no desire to stand out, she stays in her lane and just creates when she feels like it. She admits that in conversation with others she gets feedback that they like her works because they are somehow different and authentic. For her, being true to herself has always been the essence of creating. She believes that ideas come to us more than we "come up" with them. The creative act is such a deeply personal experience of each individual and if we are honest with ourselves and our art in every second of our lives, our work can't be average, we just have to listen to ourselves. She said that the more she trains her sensibility to be honest in creating, the better she becomes, and that is what absolutely empowers her and brings the balance. Art is a way for us to come to peace with ourselves.


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