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observando january


Here should be a presentation so... My name is axel and this is observando magazine. As you can imagine, I completly love photography but, as you probably don’t know, I suck at it. I ‘m a journalist & blogger and I post on my blog, observando.net, everyday. There I put the pictures that I find on the web and catch my attention. Here I will try to publish interviews and pictures taken by people that I admire. I don’t really care if they are professional or just amateur and if they are studying photography or just have a camera and use them as a hobby. Hope you find observando magazine interesting.

Love, axel.


Simon 21 New York


Observando: Tell me abour yourself Simon Chetrit: I am Simon, 21, born and raised in New York (a rare breed indeed!). Both my parents were born in Morocco. I’d classify my favorite food as “everything” because I am a very adventurous eater and constantly trying new things. I’ve eaten bear, alligator, shark, stingray, horse, whale, pretty much every type of interesting food I can find! I love politics, travel, food, photography and good conversation. I hate stupid, unadventurous, incurious people. O: Why and when did you become interested in photography? SC: About 3-4 years ago I bought a Canon 30D to document my drawings and stuff for art class (I didn’t have a digital camera at the time) and just started shooting by taking it around with me everywhere. Eventually, I fell in love with the camera and started buying new lenses and flashes and all sorts of stuff and got really obsessed! I only shoot film now but I have fond memories of those first days with that 30D! O: How do you hande camera and

lens set up? SC: It used to be much more complicated when I shot digital, multiple lenses, flash, tripod, gorillapod, filters, remote shutter, but now I’ve

Make every day an adventure. consolidated. My latest obsession is my Leica Minilux, which is an entirely self-contained 35mm point and shoot, but for more serious shoots/ when I feel like it, I’ll use either my Polaroid SX-70, my Canon T70 (for which I have 3 lenses), or my absolute favorite camera, my Pentax 6x7. Unfortunately, I had a back/neck injury earlier this year, so it makes it quite difficult to carry around my enormously heavy Pentax 6x7 and


the 3 lenses I like to use with it, but it’s still my absolute favorite camera for portraits. I’d use it every day if I could. O: I see a lot of faces and people partying in your photographs. Do you find inspiration in these? “Inspiration” is the wrong word. I find people to be very interesting and growing up in a city filled with such a varied panorama of them, I began to take pictures as a way of remembering them and preserving them for all time. I’m always on the look out for interesting people to photograph. O: If you think about yourself in 5 years, do you think that you’ll still be taking pictures? SC: Easiest question yes! Of course. I’m addicted. It’s become such a natural part of my life I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just what I do! It’s my bread and butter. O: If I ask you if you love photography your answer will probably be “yes”. Why? SC: I adore it! It’s a very natural way of expressing my thoughts and feel-

ings about way. A photograph can sum up a lot of what I feel about certain things, or especially if you look at photojournalism, they can sum up very complicated geopolitical issues in a single image. It’s cliche to say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but sometimes images can better articulate things than words can, and in a more universal and intimate way. I also like leaving a visual record of the life I’ve lived and am living in an artistic way. Whenever I go back and look at the trail of photographs I’ve left over the years, I feel very satisfied in what I’ve been doing and shooting over the past few years.


O: There is a “dark side of photography”? If your answer is yes, what is that part? SC: Yes. I’m not sure what you mean, entirely, but as I said earlier, look at photojournalism. They face a very difficult moral conundrum wherein the more dramatic a situation gets, the better and more impacting a photo they take may be, but at what price? Is there ever a point where they should intervene in a situation, even though it violates

the “code” of photojournalism? Over the past two years I’ve been doing a series on tea party protests, specifically the one on September 12th, in Washington D.C. Even though I am politically quite liberal (on most, not all issues) and very, very up-to-date with the news of the day and can quite competently vocalize the reasoning behind my views, when I’m at these rallies, I try to blend in and not really talk or argue with anyone, even though a lot of the signs and chants and cheers are very provocative and “in-your-face.” My goal with this series was to humanize the people behind the tea party movement, even though I find most of their views to be completely at odds with reality and in some cases, utterly repulsive, they are still human beings, and that gets lost in a lot of the debate on them. I would prefer to understand how they arrived at their political views as


humans rather than view their views independently from their individual self, if that makes sense. O: If you could choose a job, what would you go for? SC: Well, obviously, if it was financially tenable, being a professional fine arts photographer would be a dream come true, but I’ve always wanted to be a video game designer. Maybe a Senator if Chuck Schumer doesn’t run for re-election! O: Photography, as everything in art, is about experiences, inspiration and influences. Where do you find those? SC: Everywhere! I travel a lot, both in, and out of my city. New York is a sprawling, huge city that I’ve come

to truly love as I would a friend over my 21 years here, and it has never stopped changing and growing. I am never content with what’s in front of me. The more I can see in one day, the better! As long as I have film, that is. O: Do you think you have a style, are you trying to create one or do you pursuit one? SC: I think I am refining my style every day. I think my biggest problem as a photographer is that I haven’t really dedicated myself to any singular project or aesthetic yet, and that is something I need to work on. Sometimes people see my pictures or the pictures of others and say that it is definitive of my style, so I suppose I have one.


O: What are you favorite’s photographers (does not matter if they are amateurs or pro)? SC: Todd Hido, Paulo Reversi, Alexei Haye, James Nachtwey, Henri Cartier Bresson, Noah Kalina and any number of the people who I’ve seen on Flickr over the years, like Tamara Li-

chenstein et al. Any young photographer with a really committed style and aesthetic impresses me. What has photography taught you? Patience, and how to appreciate every single


always wince as I do it. The most I’ll ever do is a slight slight crop or a brighten here or a curves adjustment there. I look at it as a slippery slope, and it allows for very lazy photography. Take a bad picture and think “oh, I’ll fix it in post.” You should try to do as much as you possibly can with just the camera and the light and the moment, before making any superficial adjustments in photoshop! O: Please, give me an advice (not necessarily related to photography. SC: Make everyday and adventure. O: Do you have a secret? Would you reveal it...right now? SC: I don’t really think I have secrets. O: Finally, what would you like to be asked in your next interview? “What is your favorite picture of all time, and why?” (hint: it’s this one from the Boston race riots: http://kaichang.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451bb 1169e20115722d9846970b-500wi ) And more questions about politics/my political views!

person for who they are. O: Do you think that digital editing is better for photography or just creates a manufactured captures? SC: I very, very, rarely edit my pictures, and I


Robert 23 N. Jersey


Observando: Tell me about yourself. Robert Brue: I’m Robert Brue, a 23 year old guy from Southern New Jersey (just outside of Atlantic City). I run sortofnatural.com and @ thirddesign. I love a good sub, only from a locally run place. I also love a good, well shot film. I hate when people develop emotional attachments to products and politicians.  O: Why and when did you become interested and learn photography? RB: As a kid I was intrigued by photographers. The way they froze time and could put their own signature on the scene. As time went on I tried my hand at many different styles of artistic expression. I could never get my thoughts out in speeches, music or drawing. I began taking pictures of everything. All I had was a tiny point and shoot cam, this slowly gave way as I got more and more busy. I gave up on all forms for several years. Then in college I met a truly creative graphic designer (Jonathan Connolly of CreativeTempest.com and jonathanconnollyphotography.com/). Through him I found sites like Flickr and DeviantART. Suddenly I was confronted with thousands upon thousands of other young self taught photographers. I started copying the styles of others, stretching my own techniques. Slowly I found a voice of my own, never having spent a dollar on photography courses or training sessions.

O: How do you handle camera and lens set up? RB: This is one place where a proper training course could have helped me. Right now I own a few low end film cameras, and only one lens for each. My go to setup is a 50mm f/1.8 lens on both my Nikon FG and Nikkormat FTN. I love the depth and low light capabilities it offers. My other camera is a Olympus XA2 (a really brilliant little film camera, super cheap and really quite capable). I’m actually back in the market for a digital SLR at the moment. Right now I’m looking at the D200, I will most likely slap a 50mm on there as well. O: Your photos are mostly low-fi and with text in them. Do you find inspiration in these kind of art? Why? RB: I’ve always been attracted to the look of album covers. The way the photo and the text mix into a singular message. So, most of my text covered photos use lyrics from favorite songs of mine.  The low-fi look comes from scanning the film prints into photoshop and then the down mixing that helps to blend the text into photo.   O: If you think about yourself in 5 years, do you think that you’ll still be taking pictures? RB: I view this whole “photography” thing as a hobby. I keep myself from doing weddings, and portrait work.


So I defiantly see myself taking pictures in five years, and still just for the fun of it.   O: If I ask you if you love photography your answer will probably be “yes”. Why? (Not an easy question, I know) RB: I love photography in the same way that I love speaking. It has become part of my “voice”. People can see where I am in my life through my subjects and compositions. But most of my love comes from the comfort of hiding behind a viewfinder while in public. Shy people ,like myself, find it hard to just “mingle” with strangers. When I have my camera in front of my eye I can slip into the public square with all the rest.

O: Is there a “worst side of photography”? If your answer is yes, what is that part? RB: Whenever a artists personality trumps the quality of his work there is a definite problem. This is true in any form of art, not just photography.  I’ve learned to celebrate the creativity of all those in the photographic field. As much as I ,now, hate HDR, I can see how it give the artists a feeling of “creation”. O: If you could choose a job, what would you go for? RB: A job in photography? I would love to get paid to be sent to a city with the goal of capturing its es-


sence. That would be a dream. a total dream. So I will go with taxi driver... That would be fun.   O: Photography, as everything in art, is about experiences, inspiration and influences. Where do you find those? RB: You’ll notice that most of my photographs seem to be taken from a vehicle. This is truly the only way I am comfortable when shooting. I’ll head out in search of a odd moment or a menial moment in someones life, and do my best to capture it on my way by. I usually have some mu-

am singing the songs of others in hopes of finding my own voice”. No one ever does anything that is 100% original. At the moment I am urgently mixing the styles of others into my own... “style”.   O: What are you favorite’s photographers (does not matter if they are amateurs or pro)? RB: I love the cinematographic work of Robert Elswit and Roger Deakins. I am constantly inspired by young flickr artists. Here are a few of my favorites alexandramatzke, coolhandluke, lizzynewman, sanabria-,

most of my text covered photos use lyrics from favorite songs of mine.

sic playing in my car while I do this. (thus the text photos).  I try to capture the disconnected feeling I get when I go out in public. That really is my ultimate goal with the work I post online. I am greatly inspired by the visual work of people such as : Paul Thomas Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Danny Perez, David Lynch, and David Fincher O: Do you think you have a style, are you trying to create one or do you pursuit one? RB: I recently told someone that “I

and everydayokay.

O: What has photography taught you? RB: That we are all skin and bones. That the concept of beauty is a total joke. Yeah I’m drawn to a symmetrical face as much as the next guy, but I’ve stared at enough faces to realize its just an obscuring veil.  O: Do you think that digital editing is better for photography or just creates a manufactured captures?


RB: This all depends on the extent of the processing. Its foolish and empty headed to shun all digital manipulation. Its art... right? You have a vision and you use the tools around you (whatever they may be) to convey that vision.  O: Please, give me an advice (not necessarily related to photography). RB: Pay little mind to the little minds. Do the things you love, because you’ll soon be dead. Oh, and don’t base your life on cheeky little sayings. O: Do you have a secret? Would you reveal it...right now? RB: I hate swimming... That Jaws movie has ruined me for life. O: Finally, what would you like to be asked in your next interview? RB: Wow, um. Ask me to rank ice cream flavors by how much comfort they can bring.



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