Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Ziemowit Maj

Ziemowit Maj
London, UK

Since when have you been engaging in photography?

I have been working with film photography since my early teens, my father introduced me to it and gave me some basic equipment. Then at university I had a photography course as a part of my fine arts degree. Darkroom was an amazing experience, I can still remember that smell. Those were the experimental years, testing the limits of 35mm, or that's at least what at that time I thought I was doing!

And then, my whole kit got stolen. That was it. I stopped for several years.

June last year I got my dslr, and since then its been with me every day. I relearned the technique, and immersed myself in the streets of London. Photography has become the central medium for my personal work.

What makes street photography most attractive to you?

It felt natural for me to just go out and try to find images. As opposed to try creating situations. I'm trying to just look carefully at what surrounds me, and being a foreigner helps to work with that kind of approach, as then you are naturally curious about your new home.

Photo processing softwares, as I have found out not only throughout the features here on milkwithtea, can be a bit of a touchy subject: some artists reject post-processing as a whole whereas others regard it as a useful tool and gift to the artist. You seem to enjoy playing around with them: what are the pros and cons from your point of view?

I can only talk about my own work here, and for me it's an essential tool, which I must say I enjoy using. I do not feel an obligation to produce an objective record of reality, and I do not believe it is even possible. Hence, software is my digital darkroom, a valid stage in creating an image. I do not go out to shoot ‘high-contrast-black-and-whites today'.

Those decisions are made at a later stage, after carefully studying the frames I took. It is definitely a very different way of working than in the film days, one that is probably more difficult in some respects, surprisingly. It does require a level of discipline, and forces you to really look at your images.

The problem with software is  you can do so much that people get lost, so they just use lightroom’s presets to stay on track. Knowing your software is one thing, controlling it is another.

Being able to digitalize pictures seems to have led to an overflow of photographic material. How cope with it?

I think, maybe naively, that quality work will stand out from all the polished eye candy, and if there’s more quality work today than before, I’m happy to see meaningful images more often. On the one hand, it is more difficult for people to focus on a single image now, but on the other, dslrs are becoming so common that the basic understanding of photography is increasing as well. At least that must be a good thing.

Your photography work features strong contrasts and colours. What's your interest herein?

I am probably going through my rebellious phase again, ha ha!

You also engage in graphic design. What do you love most about creating illustrations?

I work as a designer and illustrator, and this is the place where I create things from scratch. That’s probably why my photography tends to be more based on observation. Illustration is the field where all the imperfections, mistakes and hesitations are embraced, which probably is what makes people feel more human. I find that graphic design sharpens my clarity of vision.

Typography is next on your list of expertise. Would you say that photography, graphic design and typography are simply different ways of communicating?

Definitely. Very different ways, with their own specific possibilities and limitations, but yes, in the end it’s all about getting your message out there.

You are based in London, a very vivid city for art, as some would argue. How has living there affected your work?

In a major way. It’s not so much about the works you get to see, as everything is online, but it is about the people you get to meet and interact with on a personal level. London is in a constant flux, people come and go, but their influence stays with you. A good place to be a vampire!

And which city would you love to have as the place of your second residence?

NY. But that’s a plan for the future, for now I’m happy here.

Look out on them streets. And take a look at his work!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Alexander Alekseenko

Alexander Alekseenko

My first impression, when looking at your flickr, was that you seem to be a "on-the-spot" photographer, ready to shoot whenever there is the opportunity. True?

I can think of few times when something was planned beforehand. My camera is near all the time and I take pictures of everything interesting to me.

In any way, there always seems to be a certain amount of spontaneity to the photographic medium. Would you say that this is part of why it is so popular in contemporary culture?

Contemporary art has no limits, it’s a chaos.

You explicitly write that, in your work, you do not crop or rework any of your photos. What's your interest herein?

Post processing seems a bit lazy thing to do for me. I try to work the final result on a stage of taking pictures, so I won’t need to work on it after film is developed and scanned. Basically I do all this in my mind when I take pictures.

Nudity, partly or fully, is an attractive theme in art. Do you agree? What do you like about it?

It always caught a lot of attention. For me, women’s body is a masterpiece and sometimes cloths ruin all the beauty.

Do you enjoy taking pictures of monuments and composing still lifes?

Anything catching my attention will be filmed, doesn’t matter what it will be.

Connected to this; I've often found that taking pictures of still objects can prove to be tricky, and that one runs the danger of producing almost „boring“ pictures. How would you go about avoiding this?

Well, I don’t think about possible boringness of the picture, basically I will not take one if it will not interest me. There is always something which is not accessible to others eye.

You've been featured a lot on the Internet. What would you say are the pros and cons about this?

It’s a pure pleasure to see your work somewhere, posted by people I don’t know, and realize that your pictures catch some ones attention. Every time I see a new publication it’s a push forward. I hope it will help me to pursue a photography career.

Have you already worked for an agency or a freelance job?

Not yet.

... and is there a specific kind of job or project you would really be interested in?

I look forward to move somewhere far away from where I live now to start working as a photographer. I would love to work for some magazine and/or shoot bands, lookbooks etc. These kinds of stuff I would like to get involved in.

Catching the inaccessible. Take a look at his work! 

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Andrew Nuding

Andrew Nuding
Dubin, Ireland

Since when have you been engaging in photography?  What got you interested in the first place?

I've always liked having memories, I hate throwing out sentimental things, so when I started taking photos, it was to have memories.

What would you say do, if not all, most of your sets have in common?

Girls, probably. I think my photos have a dreaminess and I try to capture that.

How would you describe the work with models? Would you describe it as a one-sided or rather cooperative work?

I usually have an idea in my head of what I want the photograph to look like so I direct the model on what to do. Sometimes, if I am in an unfamiliar location, I work spontaneously. I like to explore the settings before shooting, looking for the best spots. I generally shoot in places I've been before. But I also like it when a model makes a suggestion.

Connected to this: would you consider working in the fashion business later on?

I would love to. Being a fashion photographer would be amazing. I need to do some interning though. I am looking into it after Summer.

What have you been inspired by most lately?

Music: Summer Camp, Beach House, Cults. I think a lot of the music I listen to can be portrayed through my photos. Dream Pop is my inspiration at the moment.

Do you think it's crucial to study visual arts in order to "make it"? Or are there alternative ways?

I think it depends on the person. I am doing a portfolio for Art College at the moment and I think being educated in visual arts helps me, but, really, it does depend on the person.

Finally, what are your next steps/plans?

Hopefully I'll get into Art College I want to go to and then I want to start taking photography more seriously, especially in terms of doing more paid jobs. I am traveling for all of July and August and I want to take as many photos as possible. I will be inter-railing through Europe in July and then in August I am going back to San Francisco and New York.

Young, fresh and dreamy. Take a look at his work!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Brittany Held

Brittany Held
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Your photos on flickr, and especially your latest uploads taken on winter walks, convey the impression that you have a set vision on what you would like to present. How would you define your interests yourself?

I usually work on multiple photography projects simultaneously and I frequently invent new ideas, which change the direction of my current projects. However, I do anticipate working on these projects throughout the year:

Winter Walks – Wondering, exploring, and discovering. The little joys of walks in winter.

Interplay – The contrast of, and interplay between, industry and nature. This project explores various realms where man-made structures and natural formations interact.

Travelling Feet – The terrain from my travels in 2011. Where will these feet take me?

In addition, I want to experiment more with film photography. Each individual photograph seems intensely significant with film, and I often feel that film can better represent the enduring power of a photograph to express a thought, a moment, or an idea.

For instance, outdoor photography plays a big role in your body of work. What do you enjoy most about it?

I am a scientist by day so I am stuck in a laboratory for many hours. By the end of the day, I cannot wait to escape into the outdoors, whether it is into nature or into a city. I cherish the freedom associated with open spaces. Moreover, I am extremely inspired by exploring new places.

You write that you love ruins. For you, what make ruins interesting as a photographic motive/object?

Since moving to New Mexico, the allure and magic inherent to the state has been a predominant influence for much of my photography. And, for me, ruins are a large part of that allure. Photographing ruins is like photographing the ancient past. It feels as if the camera’s vision penetrates through centuries, and that makes the entire process very special and exciting for me.

Do you listen to music while strolling around and shooting pictures?

I don’t normally listen to music while shooting pictures because I enjoy the beautifully subtle whispers of nature and the clamorous sounds of city life. With that being said, it could be fun to experiment with listening to music in the future.

Finally, do you ever feel that you need some space or solitude to find new inspiration?

I definitely feel that I need solitude to find new inspiration. Self-exploration is a somewhat solitary practice, and I often have more perceptive observations of the world when I am alone. I love searching for and discovering internal meanings in external details.

Promenading and watching. Take a look at her work!