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A lovely message from Gerardo Korn

Thanks Gerardo for this message 🙂

I love the sounds and the rustic, authentic feel around you!

BEAUTIFUL…

Check out my interview with him tomorrow on ‘chriselda.blog‘…’ARTICLES


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Artist Feature # 9 – Krzysztof Ślachciak

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Krzysztof Ślachciak

Krzysztof (Eng. Christopher) Ślachciak, born in 1983, Poznań, Poland, is an Artist photographer and a member of The Association of Polish Art Photographers. He graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań with masters degree in Korean Studies and in Poznań University of Economics he did postgraduate studies in the field of Business to Business Marketing with thesis on advertising photography.

From 2008 he runs his own commercial photography studio. From 2011 until 2016, on the invitation of profesor Włodzimierz Włoszkiewicz, he conducted practical lessons of photography and lectures of composition for the Architecture Department’s students at the Poznań University of Technology.

From 2013 until 2016 he ran the photography section of the Artistic Science Club. At present he works for promoting artistic photography as a member of the board of The Association of Polish Art Photographers, Greater-Poland region. He also conducts his workshops and open-air events. Until now he has shown his works at more than 40 collective and solo exhibitions as well as other artistic events. 

Mara_04

Hi Krzysztof, could you tell our readers a little bit about who you are?


Hello! My name is Chris, and I am a photographer, sometimes an artist photographer. I think that is the best line to describe me 😉

My everyday routine is commercial photography, I work with various companies helping them to get their products and services to the people they want. I live about 20 kilometers from Poznań, Poland, in quiet surroundings, close to nature, without television, with my wife and a dog. Occasionally, when I must, I become an artist. This is a time of my personal therapy, getting away from the world and closing my dilemmas. Time when I work mostly with my thoughts and eventually conceive some pictures.

Cosmic Perspective_02

Tell us about your art style or process.

From my point of view neither my process nor my art style are based on technical, or even visual aspects. I sometimes work with a medium format analog film, sometimes with a digital camera, sometimes with pinholes, I light-paint, use multi exposure, manually edit or even destroy negatives, and I use Photoshop to achieve effects of digitally edited photographs.

As a commercial photographer I am used to choosing the most appropriate means to achieve my goals. This is also the case when I work on my artistic projects and it all starts with fascination, dilemma or a problem. Then comes ideas how to put them into pictures and these pictures, when finished, tend to close the case of this fascination, problem or dilemma. After that I feel more conciliated with the world. So my artistic creation is more like spiritual experience.

Post Sapiens_01

You are a member of the board of The Association of Polish Art Photographers. How do you promote artistic photography?

I am a member of the board of The Association of Polish Art Photographers, Greater-Poland region to be exact. We are actually experimenting with means of promoting artistic photography right now. The key to our way of thinking is realizing that photography is not a monolith. There are a lot of completely different ways of doing artistic photography.

As you probably know, documentary and conceptual photographers are on the top nowadays, but they are not the only ones there. Also, every photographer is different and probably needs different ways of promotion. So our philosophy is not to promote one of the trends but to provide opportunities for our members to promote themselves on their own terms. We also try to show the public the diversity of trends in photography by organizing exhibitions and helping in publishing photography books, and while doing so, we try to embrace every trend our members represent. We also work online, I personally run the website, and the Facebook page of our region: http://zpafpoznan.pl

Mara_02

Where does your inspiration come from?

I suppose it all comes from carving my views on the world. The key factor is probably freedom. When I feel something or someone distorts my freedom, I turn around. I read a lot about science, history, religion. I like to listen to various opinions, YouTube is very helpful here, and which is not without significance, I am an atheist, so a natural septic.

From a visual point of view I do not have any specific inspirations and I sometimes, mostly during exhibitions, I find out that some of my pictures resemble historic art, which is never my intention. Having said that I must admit I admire works of subjective artist photographers, and I consider myself to be influenced by their work a lot. I am also influenced by paintings. Mostly because I evolved as an artist surrounded by painters and sculptures.

Cosmic Perspective_07

Tell us about other artists/role-models or books that played a key role on your artistic journey.

Having a role-model is very dangerous. If you like to be like someone else, it means that you are in some way copying them, making the same mistakes, you’re susceptible to manipulation, and moreover you are not fully independent.

So there are photographers whose body of works I admire, and that would be mostly Polish artists: Stanisław Woś, Edward Hartwig, Zdzisław Beksiński, and the one you might have heard of: Bronisław Schlabs. From let’s say World history of art: Minor White, Otto Steinert, Helmut Newton for sure and some still life works by Edward Weston.

Post Sapiens_05

You also conduct workshops and open-air events. Could you tell us something about this?

Sure. A couple of times a year I am asked to conduct workshops. They mostly explore my technical abilities, which are a part of my commercial photography, but sometimes I am invited to talk about my artistic practice.

I am a former lecturer, I worked at Poznań University of Technology, Architecture Department, where I ran an artistic science club for students interested in photography and I have conducted practical lessons and lectures of composition. So, I am quite used to talking to people, and I enjoy it.

Mara_10

How did you learn/acquire your technique?

I am self-taught photographer, so I learn everything by experimenting and reading books on a subject, sometimes using YouTube tutorials. But that’s it. I have no formal education neither in arts or in photography.

Cosmic Persrective_03

How has art impacted your life?

On an everyday basis it is shaped on how I perceive creativity. When someone calls a saturated landscape, or wedding reportage an art, I say “yeah right”, ironically of course. Art also gives me opportunity to blow off some existential steam. In a similar way that church gives it to it’s believers I suppose…but in my case the rules are mine.

Post Sapiens_09

Tell us a bit about your last work.

My last work was conceived in a little different way. This time it all started with music. I have found a band which plays music and I thought it would work perfectly with some of my works. So I decided to offer a collaboration, and they agreed. They were working on a new album, so it was also an opportunity to do something together.

I did a cover photo session for them with one of my favorite models. They chose a picture, I prepared it, and in the album book they used my works from “Cosmic Perspective” series. So the cooperation was very successful. I later stated on my Facebook, that it was “a step towards immortality”. However, as I worked with a post production of the cover photo, I realized that this is a good start for something I had always wondered about, and I had been always interested in. Moreover, it is a topic which is included in a concept of this album – future of technology and humanity.

That’s how “Post Sapiens” series came to be, and the album which triggered it is titled “Post Sapiens 101” by Abstrakt Band. I highly recommend their music. Its awesome!

Cosmic Perspective_05

What is your current WIP?

I am currently in a relaxed mode and don’t have any WIP right now.

What does the future look like for you and your art?

In the long term – I just don’t know. In a short term – I am working towards a big solo show in the city of Poznań which I plan for the first part of 2020. There is a lot to do, and a lot of money to gather for it. And I will be hosting, live, Abstrakt during a reception party. There is also a plan for an album or some kind of a listen-book with my works and Abstrakt’s music.

Cosmic Perspective_08

Any words of advice to aspiring artists?

Make your own decisions. Be independent, be yourselves. It needs some courage, and it may make you sometimes feel miserable, but if it works, it really works.

Post Sapiens_08

Your photography is absolutely stunning! Which project has been the most difficult or satisfying?

Thanks. The most difficult was definitely “Mara”. It took me 2 years to finish and I couldn’t get rid of it out my head during that time. It’s also the most successful series of mine. It has been exhibited 7 times in the most prestigious galleries, that my works have ever been exhibited.
So in that perspective it’s also the most satisfying. But personally for me, to watch and to be proud of the achieved effect is “Cosmic Perspective”. It’s quite difficult for viewers, but, you know – the Universe is not there to satisfy your aesthetics, nor the art is.

Mara_04

Would you like to share any more information with our readers?

Don’t get me started 😉

How can our readers contact you or find your art?

Everything is on my website, also links to my social media:
http://impurephotography.eu

Krzysztof Ślachciak

An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto

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Artist Feature #7 – Michael Nette

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

I am so happy to introduce ART-IS-IN’s first young, upcoming and super talented artist “Michael Nette” – Discover more about him and his art below…

About Michael Nette

Michael Nette is an 18-year-old Photographer based in Melbourne Australia. He graduated High school last year and is now studying Photography at a tertiary level and starting his career as a photographer. He considers himself a portrait photographer primarily , but he also shoots landscapes and more recently wildlife.

Hi Michael…Could you tell our readers a little bit about who you are?

I come from a family of artists. My father is musical but it’s through my mother that I developed my love for photography. My sister is a musician and my brother is also quite musical. One of my grandfathers was a painter and sculptor and my other grandfather was a potter. One of my grandmothers was a theatre performer, and further back in my family tree I have more painters and an author. So artistry seems to be in my genes. It was in Year 10 (2016) that I began taking photography seriously. And as my secondary schooling progressed, photography was really the only thing I connected with. After leaving school, photography has become more about self-expression and creativity, discovering and enjoying colour, shape and tone – as well as the technical side of digital editing. For me it’s all about exploration and emotion, which I feel is evident in my work.

The Red Umbrella

What is your art style or process about?

Portraiture when it comes to portraits is hard to pin my work in one style as I love to express my emotions through creative angles and vivid colours. Part of my process is keeping the essence of my model inside the image so I generally try to keep posing looking natural and maintaining a connection throughout the shoot, otherwise the model can appear cold and disinterested. It is important to stay focused on the image you want while taking it and just as important to keep the model focused. Wildlife Wildlife photography is so fascinating to me because we get to see the sides of animals we would otherwise never get to in day to day life. When I shoot wildlife my aim is to show the animals personality and the individuality of each animal because most people don’t tend to think of each animal as an individual and mainly just what species it is.

Where does your inspiration come from? 

My inspiration comes from a few different sources; one being social media – I tended to gravitate more towards portrait photographers when I first started out and since then I have reached out to a few of the photographers that really inspired me and have since become friends. I also draw inspiration from other forms of media such as movies, books and a lot of time I find ideas in day to day conversations.

Have there been other artists/role-models or books that played a key role on your artistic journey?

Brandon Woelfel was the first big inspiration for me as in his portraits he creates a very magical feel in day to day places. When I saw his “before and afters” of his editing it really put into perspective how he does his work and the power of editing. Another photographer I have taken a lot of inspiration from is Drue Schnelle (@druephoto). Drue was one of the first people to respond back to me when I reached out and he answered the questions I had about portrait photography and helped me out a lot over the past 6 months. His photos are very creative, and he loves to play with angles and reflections so I could definitely relate to his style. The third biggest inspiration for me would be David Attenborough’s Earth documentaries (Planet Parth, Our Earth etc.) as the cinematography is phenomenal and it really inspires me to take wildlife photos while also teaching me a lot about what angles are good to shoot from and how to properly interact with animals to help create the image I am after. a few more inspirational Photographers: @brandontonlu – @benjammixn – @rye_whiskey – @BEACASSO – @masashi_wakui

How did you learn/acquire this technique?

I learnt a lot from Kai Wong (@kaimanwong) through youtube and A LOT of trial and error with various types of photography. I started out taking a lot of photos of flowers and nature by experimenting from different angles and environments. After I felt like I had taken enough photos of flowers I began to experiment with portraiture by going to the city with a few of my friends and getting them to model for me, which was a lot of fun as neither of us really knew what we were doing. Since that first shoot I was constantly curious to what I could do with portraiture so I was always asking my friends if we could do a photoshoot together and eventually I started to get the hang of it and in the process I learnt how to work with models and the importance of keeping them comfortable, how to bring out the emotion I want out of my model and how to think creatively about the space that we are in to really get every angle.

Has art impacted your life and how so?

I have always appreciated art and liked going to galleries when I was younger but over the last 2 years art has really taken over my life (in the best way). Photography has taught me how to see differently and how to view art artforms from a creator point of view rather than an audience point of view, and what I mean by that is I will think about how they created it and the emotion behind the art work rather than purely the art itself. I find that once you start creating art (of any form) you begin to see other artforms differently as art is just as much about the artist than it is the art.

Tell us a bit about your last work.

My latest work was inspired by masashi wakui where I went to the city for some street photography and my theme was to have a red umbrella in each image to link them and to tell a story. The shoot was very successful and I found a new love for street photography so hopefully you can see more in the future.

What is your current WIP?

Most recently I am beginning to expand my brand and split my business into 3 sections. I will be starting an online print store where I will be selling my street ,landscape and potentially wildlife photography prints. I will be continuing to do private portrait sessions which will generally be more on the creative side (depending on client) and I will be diving into the world of product photography by doing contract advertisement work for businesses. If you want to stay updated you can follow me on Instagram or twitter @miggmedia or check out my website to which I will be updating over the next few months.

What does the future look like for you and your art?

I am very inspired to work in all kinds of photography (portrait, wildlife, landscape, product) so the future of my art will be very versatile. Hopefully at the rate I am currently learning, the future is bright for my artwork and since I am only 18 and starting my business, I feel as if I have a bit of a head start moving forward in my career. I hope I can continue to grow as a person and an artist and obtain the success that I strive for.

Any words of advice to aspiring artists?

The best advice I can give is to study your artform. Do this by following likeminded people, watch videos on youtube about the aspects you want to learn about and most importantly CREATE! The best thing you can do as an artist is to create, no matter your skill level you must gain experience and the only way to do so is to put in the time and effort to create. Go out and take photos of things that catch your eye. Go into nature and bring a canvas and paints and just paint what you see or even what your feel. You can create art in your bedroom,studio,garden or even at the top of a mountain. Stop creating excuses and start creating art.

Shadow brews

How can our readers contact you or find your art?

You can contact me via twitter or Instagram @miggmedia or send me an email: miggmedia.michael@gmail.com

Also find me at www.miggmedia.com

An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto

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Artist Feature #4 – Richard Bernabe

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Richard Bernabe

Richard Bernabe is an internationally-renowned nature, wildlife, and travel photographer as well as widely-published author from the United States. His passion for adventure has been the driving force behind his life’s quest to capture the moods and character of the world’s most amazing places, from Africa to the Amazon to the Arctic and countless places in between.

Editorial clients include National Geographic, The New York Times, Time, Audubon, The BBC, The World Wildlife Fund, National Parks, Outdoor Photographer, and many others. Corporate clients include Canon, Patagonia, Orvis, REI, Apple, Microsoft, American Express, and more.

Richard was named one of the “Top 30 Influential Photographers on the Web” by the Huffington Post and included in the “20 Photographers Changing the World Through Social Media” by Influence Digest. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than 1 million social media followers.

Richard is a highly sought-after teacher and public speaker who accepts many invitations from around the world each year in order to help educate others on matters of photography, adventure travel, and our natural world.

A group of Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica) huddled along a sea cliff at Dyrholaey, Iceland

Hi Richard, you are an internationally acclaimed photographer, book author, educator, and keynote speaker. Quite an amazing portfolio you have there! But tell us which one speaks to you the most and why?

I would have to say photography, out of everything mentioned above. It’s at the core of my business and my one true passion. In particular, wildlife and wild places are the subjects that inspire me most and speak to me as an artist.

I know that the current focus of your work involves Earth’s endangered species and African wildlife conservation. Could you tell us a bit more about this, specifically why did you choose this aspect and have there been any obstacles or interesting stories from this part of your journey?

Well, given the answer above about where I draw my inspiration, it’s heartbreaking to see our animals disappearing before my eyes. 70 percent of our African megafauna has disappeared over the past 50 years. Let that statistic sink in for just a minute. And I’m not going to speak out and lend my voice in trying to save what we have left? How could I not? I’m particularly disgusted by the greed and stupidity exhibited in humans when in comes to wildlife poaching and the barbaric nature of trophy hunting. It sickens and depresses me.

Alaskan brown bear in late evening light, Lake Clark national Park, Alaska

Your art and photography are stunning, dynamic, eye-catching and so “real“. Tell us about how you go about getting the still that you want and your art style or process.

Thank you. Well, I am trying to evoke some sort of emotion from my viewers. If I can make them feel something – tranquility, peace, power, awe, majesty, melancholy, sadness, ANYTHING really – then I feel I’ve done my job as an artist. In order to do that though, I need to genuinely feel something myself at the time of the capture. I need to be truly inspired when the image is created. It’s not something I can fake.  When I pick up a camera, my mindset needs to be receptive to feeling something so I can translate these emotions through my chosen medium, photography, where others can feel like they’re behind my camera as well, experiencing the scene vicariously through me. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

My gut level emotional reaction to exotic, wild places, and the wild creatures and people that live there. My initial, emotional response to a subject or scene is the core around which I build my image. That’s the heart and soul of the photograph. That’s the energy. Without it, I’m just making pretty pictures like the millions of others out there who own expensive cameras.

Giraffes reflected in sunset light, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Have there been other artists/role-models or books that played a key role on your artistic journey? 

There have been too many photographers who have influenced me to some degree to name here. The influence of the late Galen Rowell was at the fore when I was initially learning and growing as a young photographer and artist, especially his writing in books like Mountain Light and his monthly columns in Outdoor Photographer magazine. 

Now I find artistic inspiration in other places such as the works of master painters, music, writing, and other forms of creative expression. There are examples all around us in our daily lives if we pay attention.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

My biggest challenge is staying focused and conserving my time. In addition to photography and traveling, I’m also running a business and its day-to-day demands can suck a ton of creative energy from my life. I have learned to say no to requests and impositions on my time that in the past I couldn’t or didn’t do. 

Coastal seastack formations of Reynisdrangar near Vik, Iceland

Which project/work has given you the most satisfaction from all your endeavors?

As I stated above, I try to make an emotional connection between my photography subjects and my viewers with me being the conduit. This is essential to creating a successful image, in my opinion. So when I do create a compelling image of a threatened or endangered animal, for example, and my viewers are able to connect emotionally and empathetically, I get satisfaction in knowing that my photograph, if even in a small way, might help in its ultimate survival. Our wildlife needs as many constituents as possible and if my images can help in that regard, it provides additional satisfaction above and beyond just the joy in creating.

How has art impacted your life?

It’s enabled me to see – to really see – the world around me in a different way. It’s opened me up emotionally as well and taught me how to express myself better on a personal level. That’s something that I probably wasn’t able to do very well when I was younger or before art became the central part of my life. 

Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), Paradise Bay, Antarctica

Tell us about your last work.

My last major piece of work was writing a book, Wildlife Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results. It’s basically a how-to book on wildlife photography with guides to traveling and where to travel for wildlife photography. It went on sale in October of last year and I’m told it’s doing well commercially. 

What is your current WIP?

My current personal projects involve traveling and pursuing wildlife that are threatened by illegal poaching and trophy hunting. That will be an ongoing project for many years and will, unfortunately, never end. I will also be doing speaking events, photography assignments and leading photo workshops and tours all over the world.

Gray langur monkeys (Semnopithecus entellus) Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

What does the future look like for you and your art?

I just want to pursue photography subjects that inspire me. That’s my guide. If at some point my interests shift to other avenues, then my photography will follow those paths. It’s that simple. I have no desire to focus on anything that I am ambivalent about or doesn’t inspire me. For example, I have never photographed a wedding and no amount of money can motivate me to do it. 

Any words of advice to aspiring artists?

If you must choose a career in a creative field such as art or photography, do it for love – not money or fame or public recognition. 

Iguazu Falls and the Devils Throat, Iguazu National Park, Brazil and Argentina.

Richard you lead photography classes and workshops for photo hobbyists and fellow travellers. Could you give us some more information on this?

I lead photography workshops and tours all over the world. More information can be found here: https://www.richardbernabe.com/workshops 

How can our readers contact you and find your amazing art/books?

The best and easiest way to contact me is through my website, www.richardbernabe.com.

Richard Bernabe

An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto

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ART-IS-IN

Artist Feature # 2 – AMATE

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Amate

Angella  Atwine is a photographer based in Kigali. She goes by the name ‘Amate‘. She loves to refer to herself as a creative activist because she is passionate about causing change using her art.

She is a self taught storyteller with a camera in hand photographing the poetry she cannot write. She believes in UBUNTU – a philosophy that addresses human kindness.

When she is not doing all things related to photography, she is probably at her work desk designing PR campaigns, listening to music or a podcast, watching basketball or documentaries!

Celebrate

Hello Amate, could you tell our readers a little bit about who you are?

I’m a 24 year old Ugandan-Rwandan photographer staying in Kigali. Very passionate about humanitarian work especially children.

We rise together

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from within; usually I have an attachment to my subject or the person I am going to shoot. I always feel there is a story I must tell through every picture and every other time I see something and get such feelings, I just bring out my camera and shoot (I walk with my camera everywhere).

Child Warriors 1

Tell us about your art style or process.

 We live in a world of great contrast in society; black and white and barely a visible grey area. This is why I take silhouettes and black and white images. Most of my photos are Dark subjects with usually a bright goal. I hope my art inspires someone out there.

Till the end

Have there been other artists/role-models or books that played a key role on your artistic journey?

Insert J.Cole’s… No role models hahaha but anyway, everyone out there doing something to make the world better for anyone, I look up to you. You inspire me. However my parents have been instrumental in my journey. My dad bought me my first camera which I still use right now. They are so supportive and every other thing I do, I do it for them. To make them proud.

Child Warriors 2

I have met so many people that have inspired my art. I remember in 2014 before I took photography seriously, (I knew I was passionate about it but would do it later in life) I had an encounter with a street child in Kampala who against all odds was working hard to leave the streets. I was going back to a good home, food, name it that evening.

Nostalgia

I remember sitting on my bed and telling myself that if that kid who was not so privileged was so determined to chase his dreams, what was stopping me from pursuing my passion. I started doing photography a few days after that. I did not have a camera then so I started off shooting with my phone.

A family that plays together

How did you learn this/your technique?

I am self taught. I knew I was passionate about photography so even before I acquired my own camera I was using my phone to shoot.  After my high school , I met people who shared the same interests and they were already experienced so they drove me to learn even more.

To a far place

How has art impacted your life?

 I see life differently to be honest. I have met many people, advantaged, disadvantaged and their stories have changed my perception on life. They driven me to want to do more change with society and also appreciate everyone regardless of social status, race, etc. I have learnt that in every person there is a world and we have to appreciate that.

Dance into light

Tell us a bit about your last work.

My last work was at a childhood cancer survivors’ camp in Uganda. This was last year in December. The camp brought together children who were cancer survivors and some of were still on medication. It was so inspiring. It was life changing.

Child Warriors 3

 It must have truly been life changing! What was most challenging for you when you worked at the childhood cancer survivors’ camp in Uganda?

Prior to the camp, I volunteered with children with cancer for 4 years . It is very hard and challenging to shoot sick people. You don’t want to portray them as nearly dying , you want to break the stereotypes around certain diseases so it takes a lot of patience. You have to wait for the moment. It could take days or more to get such a picture. The camp was easy for me to work at because I was so fond of the children and also since they were survivors , it was much more easier.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is you-are-the-light.jpg
You are the light

How do you connect with your subject? How do you control your emotions when you realise something about what you see touches you?

I usually interact with the subjects first because it is easier to connect with the subject when you know their story, when you have established a form of trust , when they are free with around you . About controlling my emotions, I’m very emotional , sometimes I want to cry but I have to fight it so that I don’t create awkwardness around the conversation or topic. 

Child Warriors 4

What does the future look like for you and your art?

I just need a new camera hahahhahaha… I am honestly excited to document more of people’s stories. There is a thing with photos; they bring out different emotions in people and such emotions drive people to bring change. The world is going to get better; I am just looking forward to every day.

We fly together

Any words of advice to aspiring artists…

Don’t be comfortable; strive to grow in your art. Establish your niche and perfect that.

One people

How can our readers contact you or find your art?

My instagram  https://www.instagram.com/amate_angelle/

Amate
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An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto

Artist Feature #1 – Yoshi Shimizu

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Yoshi Shimizu

Yoshi Shimizu is a professional freelance photographer with 30 years of experience, half of which have been spent in the field in developing countries, covering humanitarian and social issues. He has travelled to over 75 countries, collaborating with the Red Cross as well as other humanitarian NGOs and international organizations. He is also a gifted artist and has developed a large collection of personal work, including portraits, street photography, landscapes, cultural and abstract themes. For the first time, he is making these more intimate photographs available to the public.

Yoshi Shimizu grew up in Japan and, at 19, went to study in the United States. He studied fine art photography in San Francisco where, as a staff photographer for his university newspaper, he also trained in photojournalism. His professional career began in the late 1980s in New York City where, after assisting several established photographers, he worked as a freelance editorial and corporate photographer.

He moved to Europe and became a chief photographer for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1995 to 2000. Since then, he has been working with the Red Cross as a freelancer, as well as with other organizations, such as Survival International, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, WHO, UNESCO, the World Scout Foundation and WWF, among others.

Yoshi Shimizu has covered the fates of ex-child combatants in Sierra Leone, victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, indigenous tribes in Africa, Asia and Latin America, street children in Bangladesh, Kenya, El Salvador and Honduras as well as other social, health and development issues around the world.  His abiding empathy for his subjects is reflected in the compelling humanity of his photography.

Along with the convulsions of the planet, he has also been documenting humanity’s yearning for peace and harmony. His personal Intangible Cultural Heritage Photography Project, to preserve the fragile heritage of Indonesia, Bhutan and Bolivia, was exhibited at the United Nations European Headquarters, as well as private galleries in Geneva, between 2008 and 2011. This was endorsed by UNESCO, with technical support from Canon Europe. The Linden-Museum in Stuttgart, Germany presented some of his intangible cultural heritage work during an exhibition called “The World of Shadow Theatre” in October 2015.

In an exhibition held at the Cite du Temps in Geneva, Switzerland in the fall of 2015, Yoshi Shimizu captures the blooming of young violinists, aged 3 to 18, into full-fledged musicians. 

His photographs have also been exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva, the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Yoshi Shimizu’s photographic world extends to portraiture, landscape and fine art photography. He is also exploring new dimensions of visual creation such as multi-media production.

He currently resides in Europe.

1. Hi Yoshi, you are a professional freelance photographer with an amazing portfolio! I especially found the ‘Ex-child soldiers of Sierra Leone’ quite moving. But tell us which of your work was the most fascinating for you to shoot?

You’ve got it… it was indeed the ex-child soldiers. It was extremely sensitive. For the first time it my life I thought I will not be able to photograph because of the sensitivity of the subjects. First, I spent two days at a rehabilitation center without camera. Then, I spent time talking to them. Most of them had never been photographed before. Then, finally, I asked them who would like to be photographed. Out of 30, 15 agreed. For this shooting, since they were extremely nervous, I decided to use an old twin-lens reflex camera, so that I was not facing them frontal. Doing so, they didn’t feel targeted.  For this photo session, I used a small room with natural light coming through one window and photographed one individual at the time while the rest waited outside of the room so that each child won’t be intimidated while being photographed.

2. You have travelled to over 75 countries, collaborating with the Red Cross as well as other humanitarian NGOs and international organizations. Have there been any obstacles or interesting stories from this part of your journey?

Many obstacles… and mainly during preparatory phase or upon arrival in countries for assignment. When you photograph in foreign countries, especially in the field, the only persons you can really rely on are the locals, the drivers, fixers… Those working in offices, giving overall directions about photoshoot and subjects to cover are often so far away from reality. In the field, you must be flexible all the time, creative, problem solver therefore be ready to find alternatives in case planning isn’t what you were expecting.

3. Your art and photography are stunning, dynamic, eye-catching and so “real”. How do you go about getting the still that you want and what are the processes involved?

I shoot by feeling, I take time within the limited time I have, I talk to people. I have learnt to communicate without languages (especially when you are photographing portraits and you don’t speak the same language). I can spend hours talking with communities if time allows me, understanding their life, sharing food, playing with kids… I need to feel their environment, how they live, what they endure every day. Then, shooting comes automatically. Often I don’t have luxury to have a great deal of on each location when I need to cover 3-4 locations  per day. In any event, I put 150% of concentration while shooting which exhausts me completely by the end of the shoot. During the move from one location to another, I always go through what I should or could have done to get better shots. This revision process will never end as long as I keep photographing in my life.

4. Where does your inspiration come from? 

My childhood in Japan: I came from a rural area. I always dreamt I could once leave Japan and discovered the world. In summer, every day, I was lying down in the field near my parents’ house, watching  planes flying far up in the sky, wishing I could be on that plane and travel around the world. Today, inspiration continues because there are unlimited places and people that you can discover within my lifetime and learn a great deal from their lifestyle. After over 40 years of travels around the world, this continues to fascinate me tremendously.

5. Have there been other artists/role-models or books that played a key role in your artistic journey?

Irvin Penn and Robert Frank 

6. What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The most challenging was the assignment in North Korea early 2000. In those days, it was heavily controlled what we can and cannot photograph especially if you are a foreign photographer.  Covering the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami disaster and street children in many big cities around the world were the difficult ones as well.

7. Which project/work has given you the most satisfaction from all your endeavors?

The intangible culture heritage project in collaboration with UNESCO and Canon Europe was a very challenging yet very rewarding project. From the fund raising to the finished products as photo exhibitions, each heritage I covered took a year of work. This project gave me the rare opportunity to visit places and meet people that we normally do not have access to. 

8. How has art impacted your life?

Art becomes a passport to express FREELY my feeling and vision about life in general. Some people appreciate my work others don’t…BUT that’s life.

9. Tell us a bit about your last work.

I was documenting Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazar and the street children in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  I will go to Mongolia at the end of June (this month).

10. What is your current WIP?

My ongoing project is entitled “A passage to death and beyond…” to document the process of death and thereafter.

11. What does the future look like for you and your art?

Don’t know what the future holds but I am happy being able to do what I love to do NOW. I hope the state of my art won’t stay stagnant but keeps evolving with the experiences I have in the future……whatever that state might be…

12. Any words of advice to aspiring artists/photographers?

Put 100% of your energy and concentration and do your best on the next shoot and not to worry about future which we do not have much control over anyway.

13. You have documented humanity’s yearning for peace and harmony with your personal ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage Photography Project’, to preserve the fragile heritage of Indonesia, Bhutan and Bolivia. Truly amazing and priceless work! Could you tell us some more about this? 

After having documented mainly misery on earth, it was great and rewarding to document the positive side of human life which is also the reality of life.

These projects also made me understand that the importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The existence of these men, women, children and places became an undeniable fact to the world through the power of photography.

14. You are also exploring new dimensions of visual creation such as multi-media production. What does that entail and what makes it interesting?

I am having few projects in the pipeline with my son Jun, who is a film producer and my daughter, Tessa who is a photographer. I cannot tell you more about it… we are still in production phase, but I am delighted to work with them, the young generation, exploring new medium and approaches!

15. How can our readers contact you and find your amazing art? 

Through my website easily: https://www.yoshishimizu.com/home

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/yoshishimizuphoto/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shimizu_photo

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