Passion, Dedication, Artisitc Vision

Dmitry Demchenko

California street photographer, Dmitry Demchenko, came to photography by way of filmmaking. Currently a student at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Demchenko’s work has been exhibited in Santa Monica and Los Angeles at venues such as the Lark Gallery, and Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. His range is exceptional, his passion undeniable, his street portraits unyielding. And, it is no secret. Dmitry Demchenko is making his mark in the world of photography.

Photography is a unique way to feel the elusive." Dmitry Demchenko

WSP: How did you get involved with the type of photography you’re doing now?
DD: I was a film student at Santa Monica College in California when I decided to take Photography to learn more about cameras. I quickly learned that just like filmmaking, photography is a great way to tell stories and express my artistic vision. I started doing photography for my class assignments and one of my photographs got selected for the 34th SMC Annual Photography Exhibition the same semester, which was a huge boost of motivation for me. I got involved with photography so much that I was spending all of my leisure time with the camera and continued taking photography classes. Photography also helped me to get into Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. I submitted a video about my photography when applying for the university. It is very rewarding and encouraging to realize that my effort and passion for photography have resulted in me becoming a represented artist at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA) in Downtown Los Angeles and the Lark Gallery in West Hollywood this year.

WSP: Can you identify a unifying theme or recurring thread running throughout your photographs?
DD: I think photography reflects your inner world. And just like your feelings and mood, the unifying theme and recurring thread can also change all the time. Moreover, I think it’s always interesting to experiment with different themes and ideas, and see how they are going to come out.

WSP: Who are the photographers who have influenced your thinking, photography, and career path?
DD: I like many photographers such as Sebastião Salgado, Michael Kenna and Richard Avedon, but I wouldn’t say that they’ve influenced my thinking, photography or career path. I think it’s very exciting to find your own path and stay true to your own artistic vision and things that interest you. I think it’s acceptable to draw aspirations from other people’s work, because they reinforce your own vision and help you to perfect your personal characteristics, but you should never try to repeat someone’s vision or choose the same career path.

WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
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Beaux Street Art

Christopher Reuter

German street photographer Christopher Reuter is a right hemisphere junkie, so it was only a matter of time before he picked up a camera. Unlike the average street photographer, Reuter, a singer, writer, artist, and Urbane Dance choreographer, brings something completely different to the street genre. He has a sense of the rhythm and the shapes of the street that allow him to choreograph his frames in a way that is relatively uncommon in street photography. Through this choreography, he has produced a magazine worthy collection of what I'd call, Beaux Street Art.

I have been working as an Artist since the age of 13. I was raised in a small village of about 1000 people. As a kid, I drew all day long, including at school. There was really nothing but art that’s held my attention in all the ways that it has; like dancing, singing and writing. I have been a professional choreographer in Urban Dance for the last 11 years and I never thought there’d be anything that would compare to dance until I made my first pictures. Today, photography is the most incredible way to express myself. The feelings I have, how I see my surroundings and, of course, capturing true emotions forever. This is why I love the streets. No faking. No playing. Street is the real deal."

Christopher Reuter

WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
CR: For me as a photographer, it’s kind of hard to focus on only one thing. When I am on the street taking pictures, I am often distracted by many different things. I often have to tell myself that I can’t do it all at the same time. Another challenging part is to get shots that differ from others. I don’t like taking images I have seen a thousand times before.

WSP: Do you think a photographer must have ‘natural talent’ to become a great photographer?
CR: There are many things you can learn, at least how to get along with your camera. But I think there has to be a talent inside yourself to make good pictures. As you know it’s not the camera but the human behind it that makes the photograph. So I would say, yes.

WSP: Which photographers have influenced your thinking, photography, and career path?
CR: Of course I like the Newton, Bresson kind of images and style, but less influence works better for me. I think it is important to have a more open mind about everything.

WSP: Who inspires you other than photographers (artists, writers, music, architects, and philosophers)?
CR: All art inspires me. I listen to all styles of music. It could be Heavy Metal one day and a slow, cheesy romantic song the next. It all depends on the situation. But what inspires me the most is how humans act, what they talk about, how they think, and what is important in life. It’s just amazing.

WSP: How do you choose the places where you shoot?
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Uncensored and for the Record

Alex Coghe

If you want it raw, if you want 'in your face', Alex Coghe is your guy. An Italian expatriate living in Mexico he is, among other things, a photojournalist, a writer, an editor, a publisher, an entrepreneur, an educator, and a Kujaja curator. His gifts are abundant. His words are uncensored. Alex Coghe IS a force to be reckoned with.

To follow: Coghe, uncensored and for the record.

A photographer… especially of impulses, visions and nightmares. Hot monochromatic, metropolitan animal, acid and minimalistic pen, bard of low-fidelity and the slums, all sarcasm and very little sanctity, I am rose and chrysanthemum, lost in a barrio of Mexico City, essentially a visual provoker switching between street photography, erotica and fashion ." Alex Coghe

WSP: You refer to yourself as a ‘visual provoker’. Literally translated, a provoker is an instigator. Yet you also say you prefer small cameras because they allow you to be discreet, even invisible. These two statements are contradictory. So, can you better explain your meaning of the words ‘visual provoker'?
AC: I don’t think it is contradictory because these things are not related. I use small and compact cameras because, as a street photographer, I need to be “invisible” to document without intervention on the scene most of the time, although sometimes instead I use an approach that is more ‘in your face’ to make visual contact or to exaggerate the visual impact with a certain character. I call myself visual provoker. Maybe it is only an artistic presumption, or maybe, I just take pictures of anything… an old newspaper, the label on a bottle of tequila, lips… especially lips and eyes. Everything is about sex on the streets…yeah, the city is a tasty and juicy vagina and my camera is the tongue.

WSP: Your favorite photographers (classic and contemporary) include: Daido Moriyama, William Klein, Mark Cohen, Jonathan Van Smit, and Michael Penn. These photographers all have something in common… a film noir style of street photography. Is that what draws you to them and how does this translate in your photography?
AC: Well, the fact is that I have a propensity for the sick and those guys are pretty sick! Seriously, I love their work because it is not designed to be a pleasant experience. Their photography is not reassuring and, above all, these photographers present fragments. I feel their presence for a lot of reasons. I share their attitude and vision. These are not guys contemplating their own photos with adoring eyes. Instead, they have a need to just go out and create their own thing. This is the fucking attitude in my opinion.

WSP: Some of your favorite people outside the world of photography include: author Bret Ellis (Less than Zero, and American Psycho), film director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and Mulholland Drive), musician and film director Rob Zombie (Soul-Crusher, Make Them Die Slowly, Halloween), and rock band Motorhead (classic heavy metal). The images each create with words or frames or music are quite similar. How does their style align with your photographic vision?
AC: Tiamat and Type O Negative, also… and Electro Body Music (EBM). Photographers alone are not the only people who influence me. Artistic influence is like food. What I eat influences my body, maybe also my character, right? When I took up photography again, I had abandoned the writing… mostly poems and novels. Fuck, I was very sick then. Writing poems is an admission of loneliness. Still, photography is just a continuation of that path. I imagine that writing about lesbian nuns was no longer a part of my life. I don’t consider art something to be divided into watertight compartments. It is something more fluid than people think. When I saw ‘Tetsuo: The Iron Man’ for the first time, I was pretty disgusted. Any experience, visual and not, can be absorbed. I really don’t know if this is visible in my photography, but the names you’ve quoted and many more are part of me, of what I love.

WSP: You have stated elsewhere that Charles Bukowski is your favorite writer. On you Tumblr blog, you quote Bukowski’s, “So You Want to Be a Writer”. In sum, Bukowski says about writing: if you have to search for it, work for it, wait for it, have to copy others for it, don’t do it. Do you feel the same about photography?
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The Path Less Traveled

Roza Vulf

Lithuanian born Roza Vulf is a self-taught street photographer based in Rome, Italy. She has been published in Vogue Italia and recently participated in two London exhibitions: Cityscapes Festival, and Kupala Night Artist’s ‘CUP’. In a photo genre that has been dominated by males for years, Roza is carving out a place for herself in street photography and is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, as you will see.

I have been interested in photography since I was a teenager. I owned two film cameras, a Smena and a Zenit, and I developed the photos myself. Life imposes its own rules however, so I dedicated my time to my family, kids, and work. Eventually, a few years ago, I finally got the chance to do what I love and started to devote most of my time to photography." Roza Vulf

WSP: What does ‘street photography’ mean to you?
RV: It is an obsession, I cannot stop doing it and I treasure every moment while I am wandering the streets. It makes me what I am. I enjoy capturing raw unposed and unstaged stories, and bringing them to the viewer as I saw them.

WSP: Who are some of your favorite street photographers, and how did they influence you?
RV: I love many contemporary photographers, as well as the masters. Saul Leiter, Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau and many, many more. Garry Winogrand once said "When I am photographing, I see life. That's what I deal with. I don't have pictures in my head... I don't worry about how the picture is going to look. I let that take care of itself... It is not about making a nice picture. That anyone can do." These are the words of the street photography genius who influenced me and at the same time it reflects how I see it.

WSP: What were the difficulties you encountered when you first embraced street photography?
RV: I would not say there were real difficulties. I find it pretty natural to shoot in the streets. I always feel comfortable and relaxed among strangers in a crowd and I love to observe. Obviously I had to figure out what camera settings are the best for me. It took me some time to understand what camera, and especially what lens, I prefer in order to express exactly what I see.

WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a street photographer?
RV: It is an endless discovery, full of great surprises. You never know what you’ll bring home after a day of shooting. It makes you sometimes euphoric or deeply disappointed and doubtful. It makes you feel alive and creative. It gives you possibility to show the world through your heart and imagination.

WSP: Is it an advantage or disadvantage being a women shooting people in the streets?
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Renaissance Man

Andro Loria

Whether he is shooting the streets and architecture of London or the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland, Andro Loria continues his quest for the fleeting moments that tell his stories… tales that artfully occupy each of his striking frames. He is a modern day explorer, in search of both the curious and the mundane. With his imaginings as his guide, Loria roams the cityscapes and landscapes of his travels searching for the perfect blend of geometry, form, and light. His portfolio is broad and it is deep. Why no specific genre? In Andro’s words, “science, exploration, photography… they’re are all the same to me”.

I am a self-taught photographer. My day job is an academic researcher/ lecturer based in London, UK. At work I shoot images of chromosomes and cells, and build images of large 3D molecular structures. Outside of work I shoot in both black and white and color with a slight preference for mono. I like moving between styles: street, architecture, landscape, and travel photography. My preferred system is Fuji-X mirrorless cameras and Fujinon lenses." Andro Loria

WSP: Describe your photographic style.
AL: At the moment I am trying different styles. If I do have one, it is not technical or compositional, but rather a combination of how I see and sense things. I tend to use longer lenses than others in landscape shots and I like black and white HDRs. I prefer a slightly longer glass for street shots too.

WSP: What were the difficulties you encountered when you began your photographic journey?
AL: Finding a camera system with which I had a bond. Using my first DSLRs I took many images but I was not happy with either the cameras or images. Once I found a camera system that gave me the image quality I was happy with, it was fun and a joy to shoot. That camera system was and is Fuji X. I started shooting more and I shot differently. For me that meant shooting slower, thinking more, using primes instead of zooms, using manual controls instead of automatics and having my camera with me every day. That changed the tide of quantity to quality.

WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
AL: Not having a camera with you when you need it most. Otherwise, patience.

WSP: Is there a unifying theme in your photography?
AL: I guess my photographer friends would be better judges of that, but I think I either shoot people who fit into the surrounding environment or people who are disconnected or even try to disconnect from the environment. The former is less personality centered, the latter is trying to see a person who is blocking out reality.

WSP: Who are some of the photographers who have influenced your photography?
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