Interview with the Hungarian art photographer Akos Major – about art, author’s vision and the beauty of the photo, film magic and also about his “Leisure” series.
Bleek Magazine: What is art for you? How do you define art photography?
Akos Major: I think it’s finding the balance between harmony and destruction. Harmony itself can be boring. I’m not saying it is, but it can be. Anyway, everything that’s described as a piece of art has harmony. Everything that has harmony is art. But finding that balance I mentioned, can take it to another level.
Bleek Magazine: What do you think about artist’s vision in photography/art? In your case was it something you had from the very beginning or did you get it after you’d started practicing photography?
Akos Major: Artistic vision means you have pictures in your mind before you push the button. After that your skills begin shaping your work. Everyone can learn the technical aspects of photography, but if you don’t have a vision, your work will most likely be ordinary. Still, if you have your vision but you’re not (technically) skilled enough, you will not enjoy making your work. Learning the know-how and picking up skills is essential. Then you can move forward and do your thing. Enjoying what you do is very important.
I think Art is finding the balance between harmony and destruction. Harmony itself can be boring.
Bleek Magazine: What part does the mind play in the process of making art, in your opinion? Do you always realize straight away what you’re going to do, or is there still some place for your own reflection?
Akos Major: In the last couple of years I filled my work with more spontaneity. Usually I have a vision of what I want to photograph, and I let the circumstances shape it. While shooting, I’m in a good position when I’m in a relaxed state of mind and still I can stay alert.
Bleek Magazine:What do you think about beauty in photography? Should it always be the aim for an artist? Did the art of photography change the attitude of people towards beauty in visual arts, and if so how? What is a beautiful photograph for you?
Akos Major: For me a beautiful photograph is one which I want to look at over and over again. I’m looking for a different kind of beauty. Something that challenges the viewers to reconsider our concept of aesthetics.
Bleek Magazine: As we know, you started shooting with a digital camera, but soon you changed to film. What is the magic of film for you?
Akos Major: Yes, I started with DSLRs. After a while I felt I was missing something when I would shoot. Basically, I like cocking the shutter better than pushing tiny buttons and examining the histogram. And there’ the stock, the material, which for me is more satisfying. I have sharp lenses, I don’t need zillions of megapixels. I have color negatives, I don’t need HDR. Again, it’s just me, I’m not saying which one is better, I don’t even care. It’s like how I’d rather listen to vinyl then to an mp3.
Everyone can learn the technical aspects of photography, but if you don’t have a vision, your work will most likely be ordinary.
Bleek Magazine: Do you have a dream regarding Photography? What project do you dream to create?
Akos Major: A dream? No, I don’t think I have a dream, but of course I have my top list of what I’d really like to photograph. I’d like to shoot a series about old cars – I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Years ago I restored a 1980 Datsun 280zx and I wish I had photographed the process. But back then I wasn’t really interested in taking pictures. I would also like to make a portrait series. I have a project about Japan in mind. I’d also like to visit North Korea and other place. This year I started a long-term project which explores the heritage of the communist era in Hungary. It takes a lot of time and patience (and gasoline) and I like it a lot, it’s something from my childhood. As a teenager or a young man, I saw the end of an era.
Bleek Magazine: Where did Leisure Project take place and what was the inspiration?
Akos Major: It’s in the northern part of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. I went there in 2012, spent a few days in Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven and in St. Peter-Ording. This year I wanted to go back because I felt there is much more to photograph. I wanted to revisit the beaches of St. Peter-Ording, especially. This huge sandy shoreline feels otherworldly to me.
Bleek Magazine: What feeling did you want to take through this series?
Akos Major: I think it’s the love of life. In terms of weather, it was mostly horrible for a summer holiday. But I haven’t seen anyone, from children to old couples who seemed disappointed. People were grateful when the sun came out, and they always found something to do when it was raining or insanely windy. It’s a bit like making art: you have a vision in mind, and let the circumstances shape it, while you still have the control.
© Bleek Magazine. Translator: Daria Kuznetsova.