Interview with photographer Alex Arnaoudov
Alex Arnaoudov is an Ealing based photographer whose exhibition, Monoscapes, opens at For Arts Sake gallery in Ealing from 28th July to 14th August. The show will feature a collection of new and recent black and white seascapes and forestscapes. Prior to the exhibition we spoke to him about the show, his work and inspirations.
How did your art career start and was it always photography centred?
It is hard to speak of a career as it is just starting to take off really but, in general, I have always been interested in photography and the visual arts. I haven’t studied photography, I am mostly self-taught but it is coming along nicely and I can think of myself as a photographer already.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up and how that influenced you?
I grew up in Varna, Bulgaria, a big city on the Black Sea and therefore have a special relation to the sea and the seascape. I have lived in Boston, America – again on the sea – and now in London, for the past 13 years.
What is your process? Do you follow any rules?
I don’t follow a particular process or technique really. I like to walk a lot and wander aimlessly with a camera, with no particular idea in mind and just like to gather moments and be surprised by life happening in that particular moment.
Your new series of prints, Monoscapes, captures light and movement in a series of black and white seascapes and forestscapes. What intrigues you most about these views?
The sea is never still, always shifting and moving; trying to capture that has been a constant source of joy and frustration for me. The forest fascinates me with its varieties of trees and the fine light that you get filtering through. So it is mostly the quality of light that I am trying to capture in those two environments.
Previously you have shot a lot in and around London but this new series the focus is on the landscape. What promoted the change?
No change to speak of. I never focus on one theme; I have many running along each other. Frankly speaking, this is not a brand new body of work – it stretches back, but it is the first time I have gathered it together to show as one portfolio. So I may start with street photography in the morning and if my feet take me to the seafront, I will end up with doing seascapes. Simple as that.
What items are in your must have kit?
Experimentation and perseverance; equipment does not matter particularly to me as you can take great pictures with a pocket camera or your phone, which by the way I am using more and more these days. The most important item in my kit is a pair of sturdy walking shoes!
What is it that you want to say with your photographs and how do you get your photographs to do that?
Hard one. I don’t dwell too much on what I want to say with my work, it is predominantly to satisfy my own drive to take pictures and collect moments as they happen right now in front of me. I mostly try to convey a mood as I experienced it at the moment of taking the picture. Viewers can interpret the picture in the same way – they can see it and interpret it depending on the moment and that is fine with me.
Who or what are your influences or inspirations? What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
I am inspired by good light and a decisive moment when eye, mind and heart are aligned, as H.C. Bresson put it. Whether it is a street scene or a grand landscape; that is what I am after. Any photographer who manages to convey this feeling of harmony is good enough to be an inspiration. What motivates me? The desire to take a better picture tomorrow.
What are your main goals now as an artist and what do you want to pursue? / What are you working on at the moment?
My main idea right now is to organize my extensive body of random pictures into some coherent themes and see what emerges from there. The street and the city continues to be my prime focus and that is where my attention is right now.
Alex Arnaoudov’s exhibition, Monoscapes, runs at For Arts Sake gallery in Ealing from 28th July to 14th August.
For more images of Alex’s work click here.