BASICALLY, FOR ME PHOTOGRAPHY IS A LANGUAGE
My photographs are not connected to the place and time, which are usually left in conjecture, but on the level of emotions. I imagine my work as stories about balance between inconsistent states and feelings. Photography is my way of communication, my language telling about me indirectly. I create the stories somewhere in between fantasy, imagination and reality. I present the images of life which is transformed by emotions and nostalgia.
For last years I have travelled a lot taking photographs of people whom I met on my way and who inspired me. In this way to some extent, my pictures have became a kind of diary. I mainly intended to create a work with which the receiver can identify, can feel pictures as present memories; rather feel them than vote as good or bad ones.
I am trying to look at the person I meet as someone new, half-stranger. Accidental meetings without simple definition and knowledge of them is my way to contact. I much more prefer to meet people by chance, with no pre-visualisation – simply to listen. That let me live and speak through my pictures, because the feeling of direct experiencing is necessary for me in my work. It happens intuitively, because everyone has their own stories. Usually, when I am too absorbed in myself pictures are failed. When I am afraid of intimacy pretending to be someone else, my photographs are not good. The same is when I start to feel guilty because of taking them. Of cause sometimes I do not listen or I do not understand. Sometimes I do not want to talk or I do not know how. It works into both directions: if someone becomes more and more open with me, I demand the same from myself; exchange. When I am not afraid, my photographs are better and what is more, I feel much better with them, although it wasn’t like that since the beginning.
I think that most of my photographs comes from my inner tension and attempt to break down the fear. For me photography is an intimate medium. It helps expressing yourself but after all, it allows you to be closer to life and people, to look straight into their eyes. It is very important to be close enough for two reasons: first, not to be scared and second, to really experience something, even if the relationship is impossible.
In my opinion on photography is not about being original. What interests me is taking pictures in agreement with myself. A lot of photographers work in different aesthetics and styles; sometimes it makes an impres- sion of repeatability. However, I think that what really matters is the reason why people are taking pictures. To clearly know or only feel why.
For me photography is like interior projected to exterior. Taking pictures itself is an emotional experience; a way to forget and remember. A lot of events and experiences exist in us at the same time. They remain after a time and is it not clearly known why they come back at moments when we do not expect them; sometimes in our new experiences we can discover something that happened in the past. It is not easy to describe. Photography is a state which rather occurs in an undone way; it is more about looking for an answer than a ready-made one. In a certain sense, I take pictures of myself through portraits of other people, through bor- rowed states of things. I create works that base on emotions but not fully in autobiographical way. Once I heard a quote: “It is nothing special to say >night<, it is essential to make an impression of night not using that word.” That is what matters. My pictures are based on reality but not necessarily on mine.
I think that sometimes it is a good to allow yourself to photograph with no excessive care about the picture, to forget about it for a while letting it “create itself” in a way, though it can discover something that might be in ourselves but about which we might not want to know and to talk. To forget about all that technical things, forget about ourselves and just exist. What I mean is that the spirit comes out (title of Philip Roth book), that at a certain moment it is necessary to get rid of dependences and distractions which take different shapes of eg. excessive egoism. Everybody has something special inside, it is not necessary to think too much about it, because there is nothing to be afraid, it will not disappear. If you decide to create, all those special things want to get into your picture but sometimes we have to hide behind new techniques, machines, and new fears. It is very easy to lose and miss something important when you want to or try to impress too much. It is very easy to try to catch up with yourself like in paradox by Zeno of Elea about Achilles and a tortoise. Actually, speculating on whom one should be makes sense only then when, in this way, it destroys egoism. And it is here where identity and liberty are. There will be no other stable value. Prove can changed into composure. I want the camera to be clearance from my egoism. Because it distracts.
Identity? Coming to studies some years ago, I knew pictures by Diane Arbus and by some other most im- portant authors but the most interesting thing was kind of try to understand transformations in those artists. How their lives and work gradually united becoming inseparable. Not in a biographical sense but because photography is rather carrying personal feelings and energy transmitted into meetings. In fact, they are scat- tered mental pictures and visits that exist much longer before and after the moment of taking pictures. With or without you. Generally the contact has two phases: this one which we experience in real and this after. In a larger perspective, it is not easy to associate with people in contact sheets every day, in fact with that what the contact with them becomes after time.
I think that it is necessary to break up information and show as much as it is necessary and essential. To focus attention on parts, faces, gestures; to limit. I often conceal information in pictures, rather set it in order than reveal. I leave it in conjecture. I use cameras that destroy the picture but while working I try not to destroy it totally. I need such a kind of balance. I think that if we were permanently happy and everything was unchangeable, photography would not be needed. In fact, I believe that it is so much important because it is a kind of language for telling stories about your and others’ ends. About changeability. Every change is in a certain sense a tragedy because it leads into newness but also because first you have to part with what is (present “is”)
Being appreciated causes satisfaction however responsibility is a burden. There are lots of illusions that cause fear. I feel that the Leica prize, that I was awarded some months ago, has changed nothing in my work itself but I was able to pay some bills and visit some places. Lately I often had a problem as I imagined that expectations of my work were much bigger and that I had to work much better, and harder. The phrase “have to” perhaps explains everything: it misleads and thinking this way it is easy to get lost. In a certain way I found myself in a world which I did not know and which – besides the photographs – consisted of dinners, parties, and good-looking people. Everything is fine, only it is not what I needed. Taking photographs I take responsibility for people and their emotions and there are not often the easy emotions; drinking at such parties makes me feel uneasy. Some trout and vodka do not go with that and causes an inner conflict in me.