Scooping first place in The Great Scratch Shoot Out 2020 for the second time, Ivana Prokic’s winning entry combines a flawlessly executed shot with a stunning personal story in line with the competition’s theme: ‘You’.
“It was very exciting to hear we had won – I had felt a lot of pressure,” Ivana laughs. “My first ever experience of photographic nail competitions was The Great Scratch Shoot Out in 2018, which we went on to win. That accomplishment still means so much to the team. Our winning image was so beautiful and unique; I had to work out how we could do better!”
The idea behind the image came to Ivana last year, but fate stepped into to ensure the concept was realised at the perfect time. “I wanted to do this shoot last year but I was having a career break. This year, I was itching to get going! When I saw The Great Scratch Shoot Out was open for entry and the theme for this year, I thought it was meant to be!”
Ivana set about recruiting Ilona van Barschot Teunissen, the master photographer also behind 2018’s winning shot. Together, they found the ideal way to transform Ivana’s concept into reality.
“I interpreted the theme by sharing my own life experience,” Ivana explains. “As a child I struggled: I felt like I did not belong anywhere.”
“My parents immigrated to Sweden over 40 years ago. In Sweden, I was Yugoslavian and when we travelled back there, they saw me as Swedish. I was bullied for my foreign name, too.
“I also struggled with dyslexia. Teachers told me that I would never become anything. Dyslexia was not as known then; I was called ‘stupid’.
“I’m an introvert person; I dislike change,” Ivana continues. “However, I recently realised that over the last six years, I have seen so many changes – and that, in turn, has seen some of the best things happening for me. Thanks to all of that and moving to Belgium, I have found myself. I’m not going to be a victim. I want to be positive and see the positive things in life and be thankful for that.”
After Ivana had cemented her concept, the shoot took place. The team navigated social distancing and Covid-19 restrictions in line with local recommendations with a carefully planned shoot day. “Ilona has a new space in her studio,” Ivana explains. “We were able to keep the space well ventilated and were lucky with the weather, which meant we could keep the studio doors open the whole time. We also kept our distance as much as we could and were meticulous with cleaning and sanitisers.”
The nail look for the shoot was subtle, allowing the lettering to make a statement. “I started by filing the model’s nails,” explains Ivana. “I then manicured and polished her nails using CND Vinylux™️ in Bouquet. I applied two thin layers and finished the look with CND Vinylux™️ Gel-Like Effect Long Wear Top Coat. Just before we started with the shoot then I placed the letters to form the phrase ‘Be Kind’ across the nails.
“The products used were my back-up plan, as after removing the model’s nail polish, we found her nails were very discoloured. However, I think the final look shows that natural beauty can be powerful. It also highlights message in a more powerful way.”
Coming together, the whole image promotes a simple but extremely relevant message: to be kind. “I hope my entry will send out the message that being kind is a small gesture that can do so much for a person.
“Winning this year’s competition is an honour for me. Photographic competitions are so much fun and offer another, new perspective for nail technicians. I have learnt so much about how other creative industry work. It takes your career to another level.
“Creating your own image with a team is so much fun. It will help develop your skills as a nail professional. Go for it!”