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An Interview with John King

John King  (jckingca on tumblr) is a photographer from a small town in Newfoundland Canada.  He has been making photographs for more than 35 years and has exhibited in group and solo shows.  John also makes hand stitched books using original inkjet photographs.  He photographs the environment around him, usually with some affection.

On your blog you say you have been working with cameras for 35 years, what initially drew you to photography?

In 1975 a major Diane Arbus exhibition was showing at the National Gallery of Canada.  I had no idea how personal and powerful photography could be until I saw those photographs.  It was easily one of the more intense experiences I’d had in an art museum, not unlike seeing Picasso’s Guernica at MoMA a few years earlier.  I knew I wanted to make photographs after experiencing Arbus’ work.

My father was a pretty good amateur photographer so I had learned the basics of exposure and composition from him.  He loaned me his 1959 Canonflex camera and it wasn’t long before I had a darkroom set up in my basement.

Are you trained formally in photography or the arts generally? If so where and when did your training occur?

I’m self-educated with photography.  In the 1970s there weren’t a lot of technical instructional books available but there were some excellent ones by people like Ansel Adams and David Vestal.  My largest appetite grew for books of photographs by people like Paul Strand, Harry Callahan, Edward Weston and later Eugene Atget.  I spent more on books than on equipment in those days.

I was most interested in seeing how individual images worked together within the larger context of a series and how expressive they were of the photographer.  Those are still my interests today.

I was lucky to live in Ottawa during those years and was able to see photography exhibitions at the National Film Board (NFB) and the National Gallery of Canada.  I don’t think there is any substitute for experiencing original work.  I learned a lot by studying the print qualities of exhibited work and trying to improve my own printing.

Elliston, Newfoundland

Many people choose to work with extremes in lighting conditions, whereas, your work seems to be dominated by soft diffuse light — which by the way I’m kind of jealous of because it is so rare and hard to find in Australia.  Why do you choose to work in this kind of light when so many other people choose the other extreme?

I think it’s a case of working with what is available and also being inspired by certain kinds of light.  I think some qualities of light influence the feelings we derive from an image.  Hard angular shadows and tonal contrasts can impart a kind of energy that is not only appropriate but necessary for certain photographs to work well.  And softer light might induce a calmer and more reflective reaction.  Lately I’ve been using more direct sunlight but I often pull the contrast down.

Keels, Newfoundland

You hint at some of the ideas underlying your work on your wordpress blog, by the titles and text you use, for example ‘Landmarks: a series’ am I correct? Are these the main ideas behind your work or are there other ideas percolating through?

I’m primarily a landscape photographer.  I love the land in all its forms, from pristine wilderness to the built environment.  It’s what surrounds us every day.  I think the landscape shapes who we are and in many ways how we perceive ourselves in the world.  And we also shape the land in many ways: we move it, mark it with our boundaries and build our structures on it.

I like to work on self-assigned projects—groups of images that have some central organizing idea.  I often have several project themes in progress.  Most have a conceptual centre, like the “Landmarks” series which looks at landscapes marked by humans.

Root Cellars, Elliston

For the past couple of years I have been making landscape photographs on the Bonavista Peninsula.  It’s a relatively small geographic area that has about 30 coastal communities and some of the oldest permanent settlements in the province.  This area continues to inspire me every time I visit.  I recently made a small hand stitched portfolio book of 16 inkjet images from the area.  I hadn’t intended this as a commercial project but several people asked to buy it so I am now making individual copies on request.

I think rural Newfoundland is a special place in many ways.  I love the rugged beauty of the coastal landscape and the practical simplicity of the built environment.  My images are trying to convey some of that quiet beauty.

On your blog you say; “Recently I have been using digital cameras.” How important is this statement in terms of your creative output, does it mean you took a break from using cameras in particular, film ones, or is ‘digital photography’ a whole new journey for you?

At this point I’m not sure when or if I would go back to film photography.  Although I loved the slow, deliberate process of making images with large format sheet film, I’m enjoying a new kind of creative freedom with digital cameras.

I always spent a lot of time in the darkroom making and re-making prints.  Processing digital files is better and faster than what I could ever do in the darkroom.  There are some kinds of adjustments that I could never do in the darkroom but are easily accomplished with the computer.  I don’t care for heavy manipulation but I do make a lot of small adjustments to arrive at a final image.

The output quality of digital colour rivals the best that I could ever achieve with film.  The jury is still out on B&W prints though; I think a well made silver print is pretty hard to match with even the best digital processes.  My interests these days are mostly with colour, so I think I’ll stay with digital cameras for a while.

Could I label your work, lyrical, and poetic, or are there some other adjectives would you use to describe your own work?

I have a hard time labelling my own work.  I certainly see the landscape of Newfoundland as lyrical and poetic so I’m honoured that you would think of my images in that way too.


Find John King on:


Interview by Stuart Murdoch

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An Interview with Paul Bence

Paul Bence  (paulbence on Tumblr) is a street photographer whose main hunting grounds are the streets of London. I have been a follower of his work for some time and was lucky enough to get an interview with him over Christmas.


Your pictures are mainly close-ups of people in urban settings. How do you go about choosing your subject and composing your shot?

Paul - London is one of those cities that has millions of people who go about their daily grind without noticing each other. For the most part, people keep to themselves. To me, that’s an alien experience. I’m from a small town in South Wales where you can’t cross the road without someone saying hello. It means that I am drawn to this isolation and when choosing the people I photograph, I often try and capture some of this disconnection from the real world; people lost in their own subconscious.

Otherwise, I am driven by the emotion projected by the people I see. It is often a fairly impulsive decision to capture a particular person – and it is usually because I feel there will be something recognisably human and resonant in the image.

Finally, I suppose I am also attracted by originality – if it is something that I haven’t seen before, I hope it will be a subject that will intrigue other people.

With regard to composing the shot, I suppose I am most concerned with light and shadow. Contrast underpins composition and I find that I jump on any shafts of light breaking darkness that I come across – be that light from a shop window or a reflection in a bus stop.

Your style appears to be quite confrontational - do you ever encounter problems with the people you photograph?

I don’t actually – I will get the odd look or someone may hold up their hand. Once I had my photo taken which was quite exciting but on the whole people seem to be caught up in there own heads and rarely even realise a picture has been taken.

It is interesting that you say my style appears confrontational. I suppose it does look that way from the outside looking in but I now find the space I take pictures in to be quite a comfortable one. Its those moments in those spaces that I get the picture I’m after and once you get over the fear, you realise it’s a picture. Just a picture. It’s a little bit like that ride that as a kid you are terrified of. You might not go on it for months but once you do, you want to do it again immediately and a hundred times over.

To get close has been a bit of a journey. I feel there is an intimacy with my shots and I’m almost breaking into personal space for a millisecond in time. So that’s what I try and do - get into personal space by deception or by guile but hopefully before I’m noticed. Unlike a lot of photographers, eye contact is really important to me and I won’t pull away when they turn and face the camera. I’ll hold my position and maybe use the focus on the left or right of the frame and I have become quite good at giving the impression that I am actually photographing something else.

Your camera of choice is a rather large professional DSLR. Why did you choose this for street photography?

I’ve had a lot of camera’s since I started in photography and I know some people find the weight and the size of a DSLR a problem but I have no issue with it. I’ll only go out with a 35mm or 50mm lens which keeps it fairly light.

Also, it’s a brilliant camera in lowlight and I love shooting at night. I’ve just finished working on street campaign for Ministry of Sound and I had to shoot in the club for 6 weeks with no flash and not once did the camera let me down. I love my D3s….simply because it does what it’s meant to…

It seems you favorite focal length is 35mm. Is this the best for urban shots?

I’ve only recently migrated to the 35mm and still shoot a lot of stuff on the 50mm. It just depends on what your after. 35mm being a bit wider gives you more of the scene but sometimes that means getting a bit too close. 50mm is probably my favorite lens just for the versatility of it and the fact that with a shallow aperture it creates a wonderful depth of field.

Do you have any interesting stories to tell about your photographic adventures?

I’ve been shouted at, chased, called obscenities and talked to by numerous security guards. Essentially, every time you step out on the street something will happen. An old lady may talk to you, a stranger may say hello or a shopkeeper might want to talk kit…You can never predict it and that’s why I love it!!


Check out Paul’s work:

Paul Bence is also available for Portfolio Reviews. If interested, you can find his contact information on his website.


Interview by Tony Lebroq

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Interview with Charalampos Kydonakis

Charalampos Kydonakis  (dirtyharrry on Tumblr)  is a street photographer from Greece.  His work is likely one of the most audacious, bold statements of contemporary street photography.  I’ve been waiting to contact him for a while and this interview gave me the opportunity to learn more about the man behind dirtyharrry.


Let’s start with a little bit of information about yourself, where do you live, your profession? Tell us something about the person behind dirtyharrry.

The person behind dirtyharrry is called Charalampos Kydonakis.  No, it’s not like Superman and Clark Kent, Charalampos is dressed the same as dirtyharrry, he doesn’t wear a blue and red costume and he can’t fly, except when he’s sleeping and dreaming that he’s flying.  He is living in Crete, working as an architect and he enjoys much shooting photos.  That’s all.

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Let’s talk gadgetry- what do you use? flash? analog? film? tripod? What do you carry in your ordinary street photography bag?

I use a digital camera with a fixed wide angle lens and an external flash.  When I go to the beach I carry a small compact underwater camera.  The right gadgets help a lot to visualize an idea, but I think the eyes of a photographer are the most important tool.

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How was your first contact with photography, your beginnings, did you have formal education or are just a hobbyist?

I started to shoot photos when I was studying architecture.  But I started to care more about photography more or less 10 years after I entered the university.  Phototography is a hobby for me. But I’ve dedicated a lot of hours to this hobby, so who knows, maybe it’s something between a hobby and a need.

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Street photography is a difficult form of art, some would say the most difficult. Most people take rather boring snapshots of people walking around a street and call it street photography. In your opinion, what is a good street photography?

I think every kind of art is difficult.  I think taking a good photo of a flower, making a sculpture or anything else, or cooking something tasty, has exactly the same difficulty.  If you’re not careful to what you’re doing you’ll miss the possible nice photo that passed in front of you, the same as if when you’re not careful you’ll forget the oven and burn the food.

I don’t know what is good photography.  I think I know better what is bad photography when I remember all the tons of crap I’ve seen on the internet, or the tons of photos of mine that I’ve deleted because they were awful.

There’s no objectivity.  A good photo for each one is what suits more his subjective taste.  For my taste, I think I enjoy a photo when it tells me something I hadn’t thought before.  I don’t care if it will be “street”.

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What’s your strategy for approaching a subject? Do you ask for permission before? Do you shot first and deal with it later? Shoot from the hip trying not to be seen?

I don’t see the reason why I should shoot from the hip.  When I see something that catches my attention I go there and take one or more images of it.  99% of what I remember I haven’t asked before shooting a photo of a stranger.  Anyway this is not important.  Any photo can be good or crap no matter if it’s natural or staged.

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You must have a lot of interesting stories, would you mind sharing an anecdote with us?

Once I shot with the flash a guy from 50 cm distance.  Immediately afterwards, I looked at the photo on the camera screen and I didn’t like it.  I took a second portrait of him and he got mad with me.  He asked me “what are doing?” and I didn’t answer as I was looking if the second photo was good.  Then he asked me “you took a photo of me?” and I told him “no”.  After that he left angry, cursing on me.  Finally no photo of the two was good.

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Every form of art has a statement, a message, if you will, that the artist is trying to portray. What is the message of the photography of dirtyharrrry?

Hmm… The message of my photography is… I don’t know what it is.


Charalampos Kydonakis can also be found on -


Interview conducted by Harold Perez   (lxg10 on tumblr)

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Interview with Greta Tuckute

Greta Tuckute (gretatu on Tumblr) is an incredibly talented, young photographer from Denmark. We discovered her profile on Tumblr a little while ago, and since then we’ve been looking forward to interview her.


Tell us a little bit about yourself — what is your personal background in photography? What genre would you fit your work in, fashion, modeling, candid?

My name is Greta, I’ve just turned eighteen and I currently live in Denmark. I’m at my last year of high school, so it would probably be wrong to define myself as a professional photographer – however I’ve been shooting for a lot of years. I remember having my first photoshoot with a model and make-up artist at the age of thirteen. When I look back it seems so early, however it felt completely natural at that point of time. I started experimenting a lot with portraiture and nature-work – since then photography has been my absolutely greatest passion.

Somehow it really caught my attention – hobbies are usually extremely fleeting while you’re young and they start to bore you after a certain amount of time. I actually don’t consider myself as creative at all. I can’t sing, play an instrument, paint, draw, sew or anything like that. Photography was basically my thing, which I was really lucky to realize quite early. Now my main interest is portraits, beauty and travel photography.

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Let’s start with the gadgets, what is your equipment? What are your daily tools? Cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. Digital or film?

I shoot with my Canon 5d mrk II, which I absolutely love. It has all the features I need as a photographer. I mostly use 24-70 mm and 50 mm for portraiture and 18-36 mm and 70-200 mm for landscapes and traveling.

I’ve also shot with film a few times, because I really admire photographers who can make absolutely outstanding photos in that way, but digital photography has mainly been my thing. I was born in the digital age.

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By watching your work, we can see your focus on the female figure as an inspiration, is there a reason why?

Yes, I mainly shoot females. It’s not a deliberate choice; it’s just what seems most natural to me. I’ve been doing so many various things throughout the past few years: stock photography, HDR, macro, night photography, long exposures and so forth – however I quickly lost interest in a lot of it and felt like moving on to the next step.

To me, portraiture (yes, primarily portraying females) feels like the last step. At least I definitely don’t feel like moving on to something else anymore. Basically it’s what makes me most happy and I’m always really eager about shooting new and interesting portraits! I absolutely love unique features as for instance a dazzling eye-color, freckles or special facial contours.

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What is the hardest part about working with professional models?

It is a luxury working with professional models. The hardest part is probably to get an understanding of what we’re striving for at the shoot, but it’s not a problem at all. All the professional models I’ve worked with have been so kind, friendly and talented – we’ve had a great time!

As a young and promising artist, what are your goals? What’s in your crosshairs as a photographer right now?

Right now I just want to improve and develop myself personally and as an artist. I have a lot to learn. Meet new people, try out new ideas and visit new places. I have some interesting shoots coming up. Also, I’d love to shoot for fashion magazines and do bigger campaigns! That would be absolutely fantastic.

Besides that my biggest dream is to experience the world. Jump on the next plane with a backpack containing my camera and travel without any plans or responsibilities. See what the world has to offer and where it might take me.

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What is the message of your photography? What are you trying to say with your work?

I’m trying to create work that is vivid, real and unique. It has to have an impact and an atmosphere that fills you with either emotion or memories. For instance my diary from Tanzania and making it to the top of Kilimanjaro (www.gretatu.blogspot.com) is different and more reporting – and far from always portraying a perfect and polished world, that is to say! Also, it fills me with happiness when other young artists contact me because they have found my work inspiring and have led them to take a step further. That’s so important.


Greta Tuckute can also be found on -


Interview conducted by Harold Perez   (lxg10 on tumblr)

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1 year ago

Interview with Jo Metson Scott

Jo Metson Scott

I met London-based photographer Jo Metson Scott  (jometsonscott)  in Texas earlier this year when she was traveling through the United States, taking photographs and interviewing soldiers for her latest project The Grey Line which is a “reflection on war, from the perspectives of US and UK soldiers who have spoken out against the invasion of Iraq” and the varying consequences.  Solemnly beautiful imagery is matched with text to connect viewers and readers with a truly human experience.  

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1 year ago

Medium format camera buying guide

IMG_0299

An article by Niall Oswald (adventuresinfilm.tumblr.com)

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1 year ago

Interview with Mateusz Kamiński

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Mateusz Kamiński:
sovietgoner.tumblr.com  "Corpse of the Gone World"

Mateusz Kamiński is a young photographer whose Tumblr images compelled and intrigued me. They are stark and beautiful photographs depicting the monolithic remains from the Soviet occupation of his native Poland. I took the opportunity to conduct a long distance interview with this post Eastern Bloc artist.

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2 years ago

Interview with Fernando Flores

Bunnyman by Fernando Flores

There is a surreal quality to the images Fernando Flores creates, whether they are pure documentary or staged portraits. I sense that Fernando Flores approaches the world the way Hemingway approached words. He looks at the world as if he were looking at it for the first time with every photograph. His images read like Nabokov’s poetic prose. Every light, shadow, color, and form flow together within his frames. The following words are taken from a conversation over coffee about photography, kissing beautiful women, bad posture, and about one of his heroes getting stabbed in the throat.

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2 years ago

Interview with NJ Wight

The story about NJ Wight encounter with wildlife photography has the taste of a fairy tale to me; it’s the kind of adventure I’ve always dreamt about since I was a child. So I was really excited when she decided to answer some of my questions.

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2 years ago

Interview with fashion photographer Francesco Bertola

I met Francesco for the first time when we were in high school. Since then I’ve seen him pursuing his passion for photography with commitment, determination and hard work. In his photographs there’s something that compels the eye to dwell on the image a little longer; an untold story, a whispered secret, an undisclosed treasure. This is what I feel when I look at his work. So I am really honored that he found the time to answer my questions.

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2 years ago

Interview with Ken Kornacki

I got to know Ken Kornacki’s photography through Tumblr and I got more and more intrigued by his work. So, when I got the opportunity to do interviews for the Lensblr network, I decided to seize the moment and get more insight on this talentedphotographer’s work. Luckily Ken kindly accepted to answer my questions.

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2 years ago

Interview with Harry Wakefield

With us today is Harry J. Wakefield a talented London based street photographer. Harry’s work  is  fairly new to me since joining Tumblr but has become a daily favorite. Thank you Harry for giving us some time and some insight into your work today.

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2 years ago

Interview with Jennifer L. Young

I’m happy to introduce Jennifer L. Young (some of you may know her as Jen and a camera). I really like her photography; the attention for detail, her eye in portraying fleeting instants, small but poignant moments of everyday life. I decided to put her photography under the magnifying glass and she kindly accepted.

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2 years ago

Interview with Sam Cornwall (photoeveryone)

I had the pleasure to interview Sam Cornwall. Sam is a photographer, snowboarder and also the creator of photoeveryone. He was so kind to answer some questions about his experience as photographer and curator and to give me a sneak peek on his future project.

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2 years ago

Interview with Michael Chase (Area of Interest)

Many of you may already be familiar with the excellent work of Michael Chase, the Texas based photographer who’s extremely popular ‘Area of Interest’ blog is one of the finest on Tumblr. Since Michael is one of my favourite photographer it is with great pleasure that I am able to bring you some incite into his work.

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