Interview with Ákos Major
#1 Please introduce yourself
My name is Ákos Major, i’m 38, born and raised in Hungary.
I like turkish food and wooden musical instruments.
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
I started to take photographs after I bought my first camera in 2008. Actually, I never really had the interest towards photography until I met Michael Kenna’s work. It was a huge load of inspiration for me, I was mezmerized by the graphical taste and the honesty of his photographs. Then my interest has turned more and more into photography, I met other masters’ work. I was on Flickr, surrounded by some emerging or amateur photographers, getting acquainted with their work was also interesting and inspiring. My first published photos were shot in Iceland, in 2009. Since then, my passion for photography is geting stronger day by day: it has changed my life. Totally.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
I’m a graphic designer, I’ve started my studies in a highschool of arts, then i went to university to learn visual communications. When I was younger, i loved painting with oil, the scent of turpentine is still magical for me. There were no computers in the school, so we learned to draw and paint typefaces, I even learned the use of lead letters, linocutting and things like that. So it was al about handcrafts. We had photographic studies as well, I’ve learned darkroom techniques, but it seems that my interest for photography had a two-decade wintersleep.
#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
As I mentioned, Michael Kenna was the first, basic inspiration for me. Also I love the work of Elger Esser, Josef Hoflehner, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Olaf Otto Becker, Edward Burtinsky, David Burdeny or Alexander Gronsky. I could continue to count names til morning. I think inspirations and influences are changing from time to time, depending on my focus of interest. Recently discovered the work of Tettamanti or Anne Lass, they’re great as well.
#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph? Are you planning every step or is it always spontaneous?
It depends. In the past I went for specific subjects, now i’m more spontaneous. I love when something just appears in my sight, but I often planning my phototrips from home. I use Google Earth, digging maps to find places I would like to discover. But sometimes I just lurking around like a hound, concentrating to the surroundings. I love getting in my car, picking up a direction, hoping for great findings. It generates failures as well, but at least I’ve tried. But sometimes one can find real, unexpected gems.
#6 Which places have been your favourite shooting sites so far and why?
I guess it will always be Lake Balaton, in Hungary. Everytime i’m around i’m getting into the same state of mind, it calms me, heals me, no matter if it’s tourist season or a cold winter day. But obviously, I love it in the winter and during the fall, the most. Nobody’s around then, only the silence of the water. The only place in the world where I feel myself at home, even without my beloved ones. I loved Iceland very much, also.
#7 Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
My first camera was a Nikon d40x, i used it when I was travelling Iceland. Then came a few years with a Canon 5d mkll, now I shoot with a 645 and a 6×7 rangefinder camera, both Mamiyas. Mostly I use the basic 80mm lenses, but I love the wider ones as well, like the 35mm and the 43mm. I don’t use any filters, except the Nd110 for the long exposures. I’m scanning my negatives myself, if I have to print very large, I take it to a lab and drumscanning it. I don’t print at home. For post-production and fine tuning, I use Photoshop, rarely Lightroom or CaptureOne.
#8 Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in photography?
In the best case I would say i’m satisfied with the results, but I cannot see my photos as pieces of excellence. Anyway, I do believe that the best way to reach better results is to learn from the mistakes and to stay open minded. Not to stuck in one single thing for too long. Also, post production is important, I say. If you want to express yourself, you have to pay attention to the PP as well. (Originally, this isn’t my thought, but I absolutely agree with it. Sorry, don’t know where it came from – all I can recall that this was told by a photographer). And have to learn patience – I think the humble landscape photographer wins it all at the end.
#9 What do you do in your life besides photography?
For me, photography started out as hobby, but for now, it turned out to be the most important thing for me. Besides that, i’m a graphic designer. I worked as art director in the ad-agency business for long years, now i’m a freelancer. I love my bikes, going out on wheels or just by foot – i love long walks in the nature. And travelling, want to travel a lot.
#10 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
Nowadays my interest have made a slight turn towards people, so I don’t go mad if someone steps into my view when I photograph. But, as always were, vast landscapes are my most beloved subjects. I’m planning trips to Greenland, Siberia, to the north. For a long time.
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