Mariska Karto’s Photos Inspired by Paintings (NSFW)

All images by Mariska Karto. Used with permission.

Photographer Mariska Karto is an artist born in Suriname but raised in the Netherlands. She was originally a figurative sketcher and textile artist but then got into paintings and photography. For Mariska, inspiration truly comes from everywhere.

“Inspiration is not about copying other people’s ideas, it’s about creating your passion, your story.” she states in our interview. “When I get inspired, I start sketching and work out new plans.” Much of individual style alludes to baroque paintings / pictorialism.

One thing is for sure: Mariska has some very unique work indeed.



Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

Mariska: As a painter, I began to experiment with photography and photoshop, trying to master baroque techniques in a digital way. I was looking for a new medium to create art and so I came across photography.

Phoblographer: What made you want to get into portraiture?


Mariska: There is a certain peace in portraiture, because it is focused on emotions and atmospheres. I also create larger works, fresco’s, where chaos prevails and a lot happens on a large scale. These are big works that require a lot of energy and time to make.

Phoblographer: Your work is very curious and evokes an almost painterly look not only in the rendition but also in the way that the content and subjects are lit and shapes. What makes you typically create like this?


Mariska: Seeing the large historical fresco’s for the first time, was like being struck by lightning. At that stage of my life I needed it to express myself artistically. Creating works like that was also a bit like therapeutic for me, essentially the old concerns and situations are not very different from today .

Phoblographer: Where do you tend to get your inspiration from typically besides from the obvious paintings? What makes you create a specific scene that you then go about photographing?

Mariska: Fortunately you can find inspiration everywhere. Art, daily life and music inspires me as well.

Inspiration is not about copying other people’s ideas, It’s about creating your passion, your story. When I get inspired, I start sketching and work out new plans.

Inspiration is nothing more than a light that starts a big explosion – a completely new artwork.


Phoblographer: Some of your ideas look very surreal and conceptual. Lots of photographers that do this type of work cite insomnia or dreams influencing that work. What does it for you?

Mariska: Dreams, emotions, my world and the world of others are a big influence in my work.

I am also an artist with a mixed background from South-America, Asia and European origin. All of them very different cultures and a part of my life. This side of me, wants access to the creative part of me. It’s not a choice, I have opened the doors to let it in, infact, I am very happy with it, because there is so much to discover in this creative side of me.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear that you use and your editing process.


Mariska: I work with Nikon and am a lens addict. For my portfolio I use the 35 mm, 50 mm and the 85 mm.

Also in my kitbag: 17-70mm, 70-200mm, 135 mm.

About the editing process, I started as a complete autodidact. I had to invent my own creative solutions to move on, as I was used to as a sketcher and painter.

Phoblographer: Where do you want your photography to be in one year and how do you plan on getting it there?


Mariska: To be honest, I live by the day – I know myself, I would stress out when creating a long-term plan with goals, that would make me and the people around me unhappy.

I have started to draw and illustrate again, that’s fun. That is what I am planning to develop in the future next to photographing and editing.









Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.