Quoting Eugene Delacroix, “The source of genius is imagination alone… the refinement of the senses that sees what others do not see, or sees them differently”. Ignasi Raventos sees the streets of Barcelona differently, classically… a view devoid of chaos and disorder… devoid of exhausting shapes and colors. In resisting modern trends, Raventos has created a magazine worthy collection of classic street images that are set apart from the common through his extraordinary use of light and content. Welcome to his streets, the streets of Barcelona.
When I was young, I dreamed of being a photographer for National Geographic. Back then, photography was not a lucrative profession, so I decided to abandon my dream and make a living as an advertising creative. Many years later, with the advent of digital photography, I discovered that the pictures I wanted to make in my small laboratory could now be made cheaply and quickly. This allowed me to pursue my dream. My workplace is the streets of Barcelona. My understanding of photography is classic: light, composition and decisive moments."
WSP: What type of photography do you enjoy most and why? IR: For me, street photography is the most complete photography genre. It has all the qualities of photographic art: capturing reality, the immediacy, the unique and unrepeatable moment, the composition… the life.
WSP: How did you get involved with street photography? IR: Street photography is the challenge that I put before myself each day after leaving my home. I tell myself, “You cannot go home without obtaining a dignified image”. It's addictive… a shot of adrenaline when I get a decent image.
WSP: What are the components of a really great street frame? IR: In street photography, the magic happens when the scene that is happening in front of your camera coincides with the image that has formed in your mind a split second before clicking.
WSP: How do you determine whether an image is useable or not? IR: The difference between acceptable or unacceptable is very clear to me. I ask myself the following questions: Has something interesting happened? Is there a decisive moment? Is the light correct? Does the composition help to make the scene legible?
WSP: Can you identify a unifying theme throughout your photographs? IR: Yes. The light. In my opinion, light is the essence of photography. The light reveals the shapes and textures. The light helps to highlight or hide. The light gives visual quality to the image.
WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer? IR: Every day it becomes more difficult to do better than I did the day before. The easy thing to do is repeat clichés. The difficult thing to do is to be original. The easy thing is to settle for what others do. The difficult thing is to be true to myself and my style.
Mehmet Ildan once said, “London and Fog. When these two come together, it is time to be a writer”… or perhaps a photographer. London photographer, Hassan Khazma, both embraces such clichés and challenges them. He is drawn to the flow of the city, to the pockets of people densely populating the spaces above and below it. He moves along the periphery observing, recording… blending in with the subjects and characters that tell his stories. How best can I describe his work? Khazma’s frames are provocative containers filled with curious narratives of a city we thought we knew.
I work, live and breathe London, so it is only fitting that I translated a dynamic urban environment for the past few years into a hobby and passion, which I hope continues to evolve. My style of photography really stems from the type of environment around me. I aim to bring to light subjects and characters that represent the city yet don't immediately reflect a common view of it. Photos can tell stories, in essence everyone has an interpretation. I feel like through such a medium we can all find some common ground."
WSP: What type of photography do you enjoy most and why? HK: When I do get the time and opportunity, street photography is by far the most interesting way for me to shoot. Open public spaces where people flow or congregate. Blending in and shifting around such a dynamic environment is a big challenge. Most of my street shots are converted. I feel this lends a dramatic edge to interesting characters and allows the viewer to interpret the shot without colorful distractions. The whole point of the shot is, how does this shot make you feel, and can you interpret some of what I'm trying to convey?
WSP: How did you get involved in street photography? HK: I really started street shooting on long walks I take through the city. Gradually the camera I borrowed from my brother would accompany me more and more. I was beginning to understand how interesting people and objects become the more I shot and this grew into a passionate hobby.
WSP: Can you identify a recurring thread in your photographs? HK: London on the move. Most of my street work is London-based and is characterized by me moving alongside this dense and overpopulated city. I think a recurring pattern in my work is the view of a commuter which is really central to my profession and every day norm. The way we see each other in constant need to get from A to B as quickly as possible will differ if you stopped and looked around… maybe even find some common ground with people, those different or who seem similar initially.
Quoting T.A. Uner, “The definition of a good story is one that remains with you long after you’ve turned the last page”. Cahilus is a man wrapped in mystery and it is unlikely you will ever forget this photographer or his stories. But who is he? Is he Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the corner grocer or, perhaps, the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz? I'm not sure we'll ever know. The few clues we are given are buried deep within a stunning collection of black and white street images. He is contradiction and he is compromise. He is a reciter of the human condition. He is the stranger who came to town.
Light is the essential component of a photo for me. Having said that, I believe that you also need to know the urban environment you are taking photos of. You need to know its streets, its walls, on which spots the sunlight hits during different moments of the day and in different seasons, where and when people gather in different corners of it, or the movement of tourists in the city. If you know these, you work is much easier. If not, you are relying on coincidence and luck."
WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer? C: To be able to show something that is ordinary as if it were extraordinary.
WSP: What were the difficulties you first encountered shooting street photography? C: Well that was really a long time ago. I think the awkwardness arising from the feeling that everyone around me was looking at me and that this forced me to hurry up was what irked me most.
WSP: Have you ever had formal training? C: No.
WSP: Which photographers have influenced your thinking and photography? C: All influence me: both those I like and those I dislike.
WSP: Who inspires you other than photographers? C: I think the essential inspiration is the human “condition” or ways of being.
WSP: Is there any particular genre/style of photography you would like to learn about and try? C: I would like to try out all styles if only I had time enough.
WSP: What are your photography must haves? C: All circumstances and conditions are acceptable to me. The only determinant factor would be my mood.
Civil engineer Gaurav Khedekar, at age 23, has not had many years to practice, experiment, and unearth the magic that is part and parcel of street photography proper. Yet, Khedekar is a skillful bandit, roaming the streets of Mumbai decisively stealing emotions which are often a reflection of his mood at any given moment. Khedekar uses these moments in the street to share his love of street photography, often for hours, with the people he meets. There is a sage-like soulfulness found in his work that is hard to define. Perhaps the lead photograph of this interview can do that for me.
I live in Mumbai. I’m a civil engineer by profession and a photographer by choice. I haven’t had any formal training in photography but I am forever teaching myself through observation and experimentation. Streets create magic and I try to capture some of that magic in my pictures. The whole surprise element is what intrigues me the most about street photography."
WSP: What type of photography do you enjoy most and why? GK: The streets are the most amazing place for me to click pictures. It is full of magic and surprises. It is so full of action that things can change in a split second. I enjoy it so much because it has changed my perspectives in a million ways. It has heightened my concentration, increased my patience, and taught me to expect the unexpected and be ready for all the surprises it offers. One can never assume what’s going to happen next and that’s the best part of this type of photography – it never ceases to amuse you.
WSP: How did you get involved with the type of photography you’re doing now? GK: To be frank, there is no big story behind me getting involved in street photography. Although I've always had a deep interest in photography, I’m not professionally trained. Photography is my passion and streets add the magic. People and the action going on randomly in streets attracts me. Pausing life in the form of a picture is challenging and stimulating. It is full of surprises and filled with a variety of subjects. This is what keeps my interest in Street Photography growing everyday.
WSP: Do you have a style that separates you from other photographers? GK: I don’t know yet if my style separates me from other photographers. After all, I’ve been doing this only for a couple of years now. But one thing I know for sure is that my style is practice! I believe in practicing and experimenting with all aspects and then picking out the one that best suits the needs of the situation and the photograph.
WSP: Can you identify a unifying theme or recurring thread running throughout your photographs? GK: I’m not sure if I have an underlying theme that connects all my pictures. So there isn’t a pattern, but I have noticed that I sometimes end up clicking pictures which reflect my mood at that given point. I have experienced capturing some really deep and adverse situations when I was in a sad and pensive mood, or some really creative pictures when I was in a quirky mood. But irrespective of what mood I am in, my zeal to get the perfect shot that will satisfy my personal requirements is almost never compromised. So maybe I can say perseverance of getting good photos is the theme that connects all my work.
In the words of published Italian Street Photographer Andrea Scirè, “The street is like a stage; you must wait for actors to arrive”. A member of the collective, Italian Street Photography, Andrea trolls the streets of Italy patiently and instinctively waiting for the moment when light, shape, color, and people come together in perfect balance. He is waiting for the unrepeatable moments of converging elements. He is waiting for the interesting side of simple things. His sense of timing is impeccable. The view through his lens, masterful.
I am a Creative Designer for a Communication Agency based on Catania, Sicily. I’ve taken photographs for several years, but only the last four years have I started to have a more rational approach to photography. I discovered later that my photos fell in the street photography category. I like to capture those moments of normal everyday life. I am a member of the Italian collective, Italian Street Photography which is composed by 20 photographers that come from every Italian region. I talk about my experiences in my online blog, fotostreet.it."
WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer? AS: I do not think of myself as a photographer. I'm just a man with a camera. This thought makes me feel free to express myself without the weight of the typical difficulties of a photographer.
WSP: Do you have a style in your photographs that separates you from other photographers? AS: I perceive my pictures as different, but I do not know if this is a good thing. I don't think I have a style. I'm still looking for it.
WSP: How do you choose the places you shoot? AS: I do not choose. I always carry my camera with me. Every moment of my life outside the home is a good time and a good place to photograph.
WSP: Who are the photographers who have influenced your thinking and photography? AS: I love Alex Webb for his use of color and the Controcampo, Saul Leiter for overlays, and Ferdinando Scianna for photographic sensitivity. Lately I have also been attracted to the style of Daido Moriyama and Bruce Gilden.
WSP: Do you think a photographer must have ‘natural talent’ to become a great photographer?
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