Silvestru Hosszu

Silvestru Hosszu


by Silvestru Hosszu (Romania)

My name is Silvestru Hosszu and I`m a photography loving attorney. I`m not a professional photographer and I do not plan to become one. I started photography many, many years ago but I was doing essentially nature and wild life. I started street photography two years ago as a personal challenge. My goal is mainly to research myself through photography.

Portfolio from the Documentary Photography workshop with Patrick Zachmann, November 2017.

Written review by SANDRO IOVINE,
Editor-in-chief at FPmag

A feeling of tension towards change is always a positive thing. In this case a photographer, who usually shoots in black and white, has decided to use colour. It is an important change of perspective for those who are used to converting colour into shades between black and white. It was the chromatic universe of Cuba that drove him towards the change. But choosing to use colour means deciding to adopt a different language, not just colouring what is grey. Photographing in colour requires planning skills in which the use of colour is the result of precise expressive motivations. Bright and unexpected colours are not enough if the images do not use them properly. In most cases these photographs could be transformed into black and white pictures without losing their connotations. A good starting point for reflection could come from the study of Alex Webb's photographs he knows how to interpret colour in a personal and particularly effective way.

I would like to highlight another aspect, taking inspiration from Silvestru Hosszu's statement. Words are important even for a photographer. If we are talking about a "project", we must remember what this term means. The concept of "project" (in the case of photography) implies the capability to structure a coherent sequence of images by form and content. In the case of these images, the declared theme is "Cuban urban life". Right, but what did you mean? In these images we can only actually see people in the street, not their lives. Or better: in 5, maybe 6 photographs, the subjects are looking at the photographer. This means that his presence is in some way changing the events. The subject matter has changed: it is no longer "life in the streets of Cuba"; now the "subject" is the people who are looking at the photographer who is photographing them. And this is very different from recounting life on the streets.

One very clear thing when you look at these images all together is the difference in format between the photographs. The question is: why? The answer is probably that by adapting the format, the photographer has been able to correct some imperfections in the composition. I don’t believe that we should be taliban like Cartier–Bresson on this issue, but I do believe that the rigour in the presentation of the work is indispensable. And I also think that it is a great exercise to be able to manage the composition in the chosen format. And, if we just can't do it when shooting, let's try to frame the image in proportion to the original format. Not always possible? Right. Then just give up the shot, which is much better than offering a confusing image of your work.

Street photography requires speed and quick reflexes. Good situations often last only for a moment, but this does not justify approximation in the framing. Cleaning also means trying to keep the camera straight. In many cases it is not clear in these photographs if the photographer, the street or the architecture is inclined. It's an annoying feeling. My advice is to pay more attention to the frame and the position we are in with regard to the subject. Too often the distance is too far. I am not only talking about a physical distance, but also about a mental distance. The feeling when I look at these photographs is that they have been taken remotely without contact. Generally in these cases I ask my students for the names of the photographed people. They never know. Why? Simply because they did not stop to talk to them, not even enough to ask them for their name. OK, this is not necessarily street photography, but it's a way to better photographers. In conclusion, my advice is to restrict the subject of research and not to be afraid of approaching people, because that is really the only way to tell their story.

I’m not joking when I say that the best image is the first one because it gives out the atmosphere of the place. A good starting point for the next colour photo adventure!

Buona luce Silvestru! (Buona luce is an Italian expression to wish good luck and good work to a photographer)

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