Sometime between a work, cleaning the house, cooking a dinner, taking kids out to the park, carrying shopping bags, taking care of stuff I have my splendid moments, sitting on my sofa that I called my office with the laptop in my hands which is like a ticket for my next trip. I take my cyber journey to different places around the world, to talk with photographers. There is a variety of ideas and subjects they take, they are in different steps and level in their lives and photography, their point of view my diverse, but they have one in common: passion for the photography.
My first guest, who gets the focus, is from Greece.
Ancient Greece is said to have laid the foundation for Western civilization, having a large influence on the Roman Empire and European culture.This country is a very popular tourist destination with over a dozen World Heritage Sites to see. It was the Greeks who first tried democratic government; produced the world’s first outstanding dramatists, poets, historians, philosophers, and orators; and made the first scientific study of medicine, zoology, botany, physics, geometry, and the social sciences. Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe but also features thousands of islands. You can picture Greece like this white square houses sitting on the rocks by the sea side in a sunny day.
That’s the country where All-Ex lives.
First, I want to show some of his pictures:
All-Ex, first of all, you probably have heard that question a lot already, but how did you get into photography?
I had the interest in photography since I was 13 years old (now I am 47). I could not fulfill my desire at that time, because I couldn’t afford it. A photography equipment isn’t cheap.Finally, I’ve decided to make my hobby real, as it was simultaneously an interesting occupation.
What do you think is the most difficult thing being a photographer?
I think that the difficulty in photography is producing photographs they are interesting in some way, except for the obvious beauty. The key is to give a hint, a touch to your work, that gives a different look of reality.
So tell me, what kind of photography do you like the most?
My favorite kind of photography is Macro. It excites me to watch the world from other view. Besides it is a rather “different” kind of photography and I think is difficult one. I have been always interested in difficult things, so I’m motivated by the challenging macro photography.
Lets talk about doing pictures in Greece, is there anything specific about photography in the country you live, for example special laws, regulations?
I do not recall something that would bother doing photography in Greece,but I don’t have a deep knowledge of the law in Greece.
All-Ex your situation is difficult because you have been struggled with MS illness, which limited your mobility, how do you manage?
Yes, I have been sick for a years, of course its not easy….I have a small table in front of my bed, on which I’m doing my work. Well, because of my illness I don’t have portraits and a lot of landscapes in my collection.
What was the moment/event/picture you are going to remember the most throughout your experience as a photographer?
Being in my bed all those years I don’t have anything much to report, if I can point something is peculiar electrical “glow” in that picture, which is a mistake in the illumination of it. It turned out to be an advantage for some people.
Did you win any awards or did your pictures were exposed on any exhibition in gallery?
I do not have any awards or something like that, I believe that to embrace and accept all that procedure, rules and evaluation is a hard thing, and I’ll do it only if I have in my hands a truly masterpiece.
Would you like to share any tips for beginners in photography?
First of all, know your camera and gear, you have to learn your stuff and how to operate it with your eyes closed (having your camera next to you in your bed while sleeping is not a bad idea). Secondly, look and critic as many photos as you can. And the last, I have in my mind, don’t be afraid to experiment.
Well said. In conclusion what are your plans for the future as a photographer?
I `m currently building my rig for my macro workstation. Once I`ll be able to move on my wheelchair to my other room I`ll use my office to do my things. Currently I only do magnifications in 4X,5.1x and 10X degrees, once I get familiar with that I`m planning to get an 20X and 40X to work with objects and try extreme macro. Perhaps when I’ll be able I`ll do other kind of photography too for example portraits, product, food etc.
That is great news, I’m looking forward to see your new pictures. Thank you for your time.
She is finally here, a very welcomed guest:Spring. She comes in a dress made of green grass and wreath made of purple crocuses and white snowdrops. She has a heavy bag with garden tools and her shoes made of new leaves sink in the rich black soil. Drops of rain bang on her umbrella made of grey clouds. She jumps happily in the paddles and when she gets tired she sits on the bench in the park waiting for a sunbeams to warm her up and watches people working hard on a spring cleaning.
Have you wash your windows already?
That’s my silent interview with Josephine from Germany.
She said she wanted her pictures speak for themselves…
Please enjoy her interesting digital art and fine pictures.
From the last stop- Greece, I take my next travel not far from that point, to the sunny Italy.
The country which land has a unique shape of the Boot was the home for Roman Empire. Italy’s 20 regions have their own dialects, traditions, architecture and glorious food. Italy also is one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces, its geography offering extraordinary natural diversity with magnificent Alps and blue Mediterranean Sea. The capital is Rome, one of the oldest of the world’s great cities and a favorite of visitors, who go there to see its great ancient monuments and works of art as well as to enjoy the city’s busy cultural and night life. Feeling the taste of the afternoon cappuccino and delicious gelato, with the noise of melodic Italian language in the background I welcome my guest Luca Cironi, leader and voice of “Off the Beaten Paths Photographic Community”.
First of all, I need to ask that basic question, how did you get into photography?
We started as many: playing around with a digital cameras during holidays or free time, than after some time and continuing great passion for traveling and nature, we came out with more performing tools and more willingness to get better!
What’s the most difficult thing being a photographer?
First of all, I speak from the point of view of a naturalistic photographer: people hanging around! After a 12h hiding (often under bad weather conditions) the last thing you want to see is a group of 15 noisy hikers walking around your position.. that’s part of the job and you cannot do anything about that. To be clear, it’s a great thing to have people in love with Nature and healthy sports but for a naturalist living in Italy is getting ever more difficult to find the real “wild” we are always looking for. Secondly, I’ve already mentioned bad weather conditions right…. ice, snow, rain, mud, cold and sometimes all these together; if you want to take the naturalistic photography, be prepared and never give up! You’ll be rewarded when you’d expect it the least!
I got shivers just to imagine those conditions under you are taking pictures, what a sacrifice! So I guess your favorite kind of photography is wildlife and landscape, is that right?
Yes, the wildlife photography is the main focus of our project. The most difficult and challenging part is that you may be a very skilled photographer on Earth but if you don’t know the environment,how to read the weather conditions and understand where a lonely wolf is going to pass by in the middle of nowhere, you won’t be able to take even a shot… That’s something you cannot prepare in studio or know it from theory but you have to experience personally. I think that is mostly the reason we we enjoy it so much!
Sounds challenging, you really have to love nature and outdoor adventure.Tell me if there is any special moment from your experience as photographer you remember the most?
Speaking for myself, I have to say that the picture I remember the most is one: during a 25km hike in the heart of the Gran Sasso National Park in Italy,we were climbing up a very steep slope, after 4h we finally made it to the top and looking up there was a massive cloud formation going around the highest peaks in front of us. It was a drop-jawing sight which I hardly can describe.. closed in a deep valley and no one around except us, it was like a great unique gift we received for no reason. Just thanks to mother Nature.
I saw one of your picture: darkness and then two green spots, eyes of wild animal you even couldn’t see in the dark,well I would be thrilled…
I was alone in the Casentino Forest at 3:00AM…. The surroundings were pretty calm that night, I have stayed for 2 hours or so relaxing my back against a huge breech tree and than I heard something crawling near me; pitch black and no clues on what it could be. I just instinctively pointed the camera where the noise was coming from and here they are: 2 eyes lurking in the dark. I was not afraid because I knew pretty well what are the real dangers in this area…but a thrill came up to my neck as well!! A mix of curiosity and hunter instinct grew in me and I just waited there looking at the creature’s next step… In the end the noise vanished just like it came up and everything went back to a silent state. You have to try this (maybe is better if you don’t in bear’s territory!) to have a real taste of the wild….
Walking away from the nature for a second, tell me is there anything specific about photography in the country you live, for example special laws, regulations?
As many European countries, it’s forbidden to take shots at military areas, no other restrictions that I know of are in force. Maybe, just be polite and don’t take pictures in someone else window would be a nice thing!
Did your efforts get ever rewarded with any awards or exhibition?
Actually we didn’t take part in any official contest or exhibition yet, I think once we’ll feel ready (and first of all skilled enough!) we may try to submit to a public of experts what we believe may be defined as “a good picture of mine”.
Would like to share any tips for beginners in photography?
Try to figure out the picture before taking the shot, analyze the context and be ready for the unexpected, there’s always an unexpected!
So looking in the future…
We want to learn as much as we can to gain better results and satisfaction. In a closer time frame, we’ll continue to do what we do the best: explore the world for unique and unbeaten paths and as much as possible let our public be part of discovery!
I wish you a lot off unexpected but beautiful pictures of nature.
Thank you for your time.
After exploring Europe a bit, my finger move on the map to the New Zealand. I can take a breath from everyday chaos, stop for a moment and relax here…
New Zealand an island country with rolling green hills, volcanic mountains and beautiful ocean side First settlers were the Maori, and to this day Maori culture is a core part of New Zealand’s national identity. Next important is kiwi which is not a fruit – it is New Zealand’s native flightless bird and a slang term for a New Zealander. New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate. The country where about one third is protected national park, made a great place for filming Lord of the Rings.
In that green scenery I meet my next guest Paul Gordon.
First of all Paul how did you get in to photography?
I was given a camera when I was 8 or 9years old but my interest was really sparked when I was 16 years and my father had purchased a Petri SLR on an overseas trip and gave it to me when he returned. While I always remained interested in photography there have been a couple of periods of quite a few years where I was not particularly active. For the last 25 years I have always had a camera reasonably close by.
I think once you get in to it you can’t leave it…but its not an easy love sometimes. What do you think is the most difficult thing being a photographer?
Accepting you can’t have (or carry) all the photographic gear you would like and getting up early enough to catch the morning light. However the biggest challenge is in trying to evaluate your own work and I think that would be true for the majority of photographers. The evaluation by a person whose opinion you trust (not necessarily a photographer) can be extremely helpful.
I know that feeling, and I think different people may look differently on the same picture. Tell me what kind of photography do you like the most?
Just about everything. Photography is part of my life. However I do take many more photographs when I am on holiday, so travel, landscapes and street photography probably dominates. I do like making images that are a little unusual or humorous. When I say making I do include manipulation using photo editing. For most photographs and certainly for landscapes, natural history and photojournalism I never alter them to the extent that they are misleading. I certainly do not mind if my humorous/fun photographs are misleading.
I have quite a few funny pictures, its easy to get those when you are chasing kids with camera. Let’s talk about anything specific about photography in the country you live, for example are there any special laws, regulations?
In New Zealand there are very few restrictions regarding photographs taken in a public place. When using photographs commercially you need to take far more caution if people’s or private property can be clearly identified. You may find signs that ban photography in public buildings, shopping malls, art galleries, restaurants etc, but you will still see people taking photographs using mobile phones. So long as you show respect or sensitivity in a photograph I do not think there will be a problem.
Internationally there seems to be a growing enthusiasm driven by greed to pursue copy-write claims on all sorts of things that can easily be photographed.
Personally my view is that if you are in a public place you should be allowed to photograph what ever you can see…
Speaking about the ban you mentioned in a public places like shopping malls, restaurants… For me doesn’t make a sense any more, as you said already, people constantly ignore it and they use cell phones.What’s your opinion?
Apart from some signs banning photography in shopping malls there are not a lot of business’s that display a such sign but if you ask you will be told the policy is no photography. Some people using mobile phones just seem to be unaware or ignore no photography signs. Maybe they think the rule only applies to cameras. The problem is that it is so easy to take photographs without been detected that the rules must be very difficult to enforce. It is ironic really as the mall or shop management never ask customers if they mind being in videos done by the surveillance equipment.
What was the moment/event/picture you are going to remember the most throughout your experience as a photographer?
Unfortunately it is a photograph I failed to take. I was taking photographs of a protest march and while I was changing the film (years ago) a shop owner rushed out of his shop and stood briefly in front of the column of marching protestors and shook his fist at them. I was in the perfect position but unable to take the shot.
Nowadays you can just grab the phone and do a picture, might not be the best quality but at least you can catch the moment. Speaking about the special moments, did you photograph any special person or a person you remember the most for any reason?
One of the great things about taking photographs is that nearly all of them bring back memories. Even many of the unsuccessful ones that I would only ever share with family or a close friend that may find it interesting. I took a photograph in Thailand of brothers, one carrying his younger brother in a sling on his back.
The photograph has been reasonably successful and I have it on my living room wall. Sometimes when I look at it I wonder what sort of lives they are having and also muse on the fact that they will be completely unaware that a photograph of them as children is hanging on a wall in New Zealand.
Have you ever win any awards or have your pictures been exposed on any exhibition in gallery?
Yes, the photograph mentioned above was runner up in reasonably major competition and I have had some success with others. In general I do not enter photographs for awards as my main satisfaction comes from taking them and editing them to a standard I am happy with.
We are experienced photographer, can you share any advice for beginners in photography?
I call it grandma’s blindness. If a grandmother sees one of her grand children in a photograph she will probably like it regardless of it’s faults. Beginners are often so emotionally attached to the subject matter they fail to view the scene or image analytically. The reaction to a photograph from a viewer who has never been to the place or does not know any of the people in it is completely different to that of the photographer.
As Picasso said “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary”. If you have grandma’s blindness you will not see the unnecessary so cannot eliminate it. In camera use viewpoint, lens selection, exposure and DOF and in editing you can use cropping, cloning, burning in, desaturating etc tools to reduce or eliminate the unnecessary.
Paul, what’s your plans for the future as a photographer?
I am about to fully retire so I should have time both to travel and take more photographs but more importantly organize and print the better ones with the idea of having an exhibition.
Sounds like a great plan. Wish you great pictures from your future trips.
Your pictures are great, have you ever win any awards or have your pictures been exposed on any exhibition in gallery?