Interview: Emese Benko

Posted in Home, Interview by Anton    


Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and grew up in Timisoara, Romania and presently live in Vienna, Austria. After studying anthropology and psychology, I felt that I no longer want to explain the world but rather express it. Photography is my means for understanding people and relating to the world.It is also the only thing that can actually make me truly happy. My private life has always been such a mess, I have my father’s restlessness in my blood. Now, photography can channel this restlessness, it gives it a way to express itself. There is no other way I can live. (This is a declaration of love, I guess.)

When did you first become interested in photography?

I can’t tell you that exactly, it was more like a process. It seems to me that everything that has happened in my life was a preparation for this lifestyle photography means.

What do you think is the most important factor in making a good picture?

Understanding. Connecting heart and mind with other people, through the viewfinder.

What are the biggest mistakes you see photographers making?

I don’t think there are any mistakes, it’s just some things I appreciate less. For example, always following a recipe like chasing the beautiful light without actually understanding what’s going in the frame. This can lead to spectacular photos, of course, but they are not always telling a story and some might be empty, in a way.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far in your photographic career?

The biggest lesson is about how to pay attention. To other people and, in the same time, to yourself.

What are the three things you always have with you, when you are working?

My mind, my heart and sometimes a lipstick. Carrying around all the equipment you own and trying to look like a “professional” does not guarantee better photos but will ruin your back and make you less mobile. In most cases, one camera and one or two lenses will do the job.

Give us a few characteristics necessary for every photographer.

It really depends on what they are photographing, how and why. Because, beyond some minimal technical knowledge, the things that actually count come from your mind and from your heart, the only important requirement is the ability to listen to these.

Are you a self lerner? Which skills have you developed by yourself?

Yes, I do consider myself a self-learner.There are some skills that have nothing to do with anything technical but will have a huge effect on your work. Some skills cannot be taught, I guess and you’ll have to develop them by yourself. For example, the ability to be aware, present – photography is here and now.

What would you say to other enthusiast photographers out there who aspires to what you’ve achieved?

People photograph for different reasons. I would say, if you understand yours, you might set yourself free of some conditionings. And if not, well, then: cherish your reasons that make you photograph.In any case, thinking and talking about it too much is pointless, doing photography is more important. So, just do it.

Is there anything else you would like to say to HappyPhoton readers?

Yes. You are what you see.

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