Interview series – Kris Baum : how did you start photography

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I saw Kris work for the first time in the 2013 “Head On” photographic competition when he was selected as a finalist. His photos were part of the Subterrania project, a collection of outstanding photos about the unassuming beauty that can be found in metro stations and subways around the world.

I went to his website to see his work and I was literally hypnotized by the photos he made in the Atacama Desert (Chile). Why? because I really thought they were images of the moon!!

I contacted him in Sydney to talk about his work and how he started

Q. How did you start photography?

I traveled a lot through Europe and began to photograph cities when I was by myself. It just grew from there. I read a lot of magazines about photography and photographed anything and everything. I would take thousands of shots while on holiday. Much to the annoyance of my girlfriend.

Q. What was your initial inspiration? Whose work has influenced you most?

The b&w reportage masters such as Henri Cartier Bruson and Sara Moon originally made a mark in my mind when I was still studying in school. It wasnt until later while shooting that I discovered photographers like Martin Parr, Gregory Crewdson, Andreas Gersky and David La Chapelle.. Chapelle’s work really opened my eyes to a new world of creativity. These photographers have had a huge influence on my work.

Q. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Always trust your instincts when shooting.

 

Q. What makes the good pictures stand out from the average?

This is a tough question to answer as each person has their own likes, styles, preferences.. In the end, the photo has to evoke emotion in the viewer – be it through amazing fashion, a ground breaking news story, or just a new style or way of photographing that’s never seen before.

Q. What would you like to say to a person who wants to take up photography?

Keep photographing, keep learning, don’t follow the ‘norm’… learn to crop & edit well! they are nearly as important as the photo itself. Throw away the crap shots and keep the good ones.. keeping in mind what is working and what is not working creatively is how you build your own style / look / aesthetic.. most of photography is about execution of an aesthetic which can only be developed over years of practice and trial and error.. learn from your mistakes – don’t be afraid to try. what have you got to lose? some digits on your file numbering of your JPG’s? the world is a big place, keep trying new ideas and building confidence. oh and lastly, if nobody else likes your photo but you do – you have to think, what is the point in taking it? are you in the business to just please yourself? or do you want to produce work that the world understands or gains from? If its the latter, its important to keep showing others your work so you keep in touch with what communicates well and what does not.

Q. Do you think that social environments as Facebook or Twitter can help to spread a message, a photo, a project?

Sure they can. they’re very useful to promote small businesses if you add the right contacts and say compelling things.. i use facebook all the time for this.

Q. Your work spread through a variety of categories, landscape, portraits, fashion and much more. Which one do you like more and why?

There isnt one i like more, each are amazing and outstanding in their own right which is why i cross genres.. i cant wait to dig into some more fashion soon!! but i draw on landscapes and portraiture for my other more created shots..

Q. Your project “Subterrania” was selected as finalist in UK (Guardian Photography Competition) an Australia (Head On Photo Festival). Tell us a little bit more about it?

Subterrania is an ongoing photography project about the unassuming beauty that can be found in metro stations and subways around the world, devoid of people. The absence of people within each piece of work enables the viewer to appreciate the structures and finer details of each space as well creating an uneasy, eerie atmosphere within the orderly symmetry.
I enjoy photographing large, grand spaces that have a certain order in the array of lines, colours and curves. I also find symmetry the most natural or harmonious photographic composition and this is why it features prominently in my Subterrania work.

London, Stockholm, Munich, Budapest, Prague, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Moscow and Barcelona are the cities currently in the Subterrania collection.

Q. Your photos of the Atacama Desert in Chile are terrific. When I saw them I really though you were on the moon. How was the trip to this isolated place?

The trip was life changing. It really broadened my eyes to South America and the fact there are so many amazing places around the world I have never heard or seen of.. I met a Chilean girl who introduced me to this place. If it wasn’t for Stephanie, I would never have known of this small corner of the world. I wonder how many other gems like this exist????

Q. What project are you currently working on?

I’m working on many projects right now… i’m exploring a housing commission estate in south Sydney- this is a reportage / portraiture project about disadvantaged people in the area where my brother lives. I’m continuing my subterrania work and incorporating Asia into the work. I’ll be exhibiting Subterrania in large format soon. I’m also working on a big fashion shoot i can’t really describe but it is a bit naughty and cheeky.

Many thanks again to Kris and I am looking forward to the large format exhibition

 http://www.krisbaum.com/

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Photographer-Kris-Baum/48895966421

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Stefano Ferro
Stefano is a cycling, movie and life style photographer with a big love for landscape & travel photography. When in Melbourne, his hometown, you will see him cycling around at sunset or sunrise looking for the best spot for a photo of this beautiful city. It is quite amazing how much photography gear he can pack on his bike :o

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