Association of Professional
Photographers of Slovakia.
In a world that speeds along to keep pace with the incessant advance of technology, the world of photography is undergoing continuous changes.
What is the health status of photography in your Country, and how are professional photographers adapting to current changes?
I see the health status of photography in our country in a good condition. The new technologies are accessible, we have several channels how to get information, companies, web portals, magazines. As I know many photographer are talking with each other about coming hot stuff, features, software etc... The main here medium is an internet, forums, but in our association is very in common that we share technologies and talk personally. That moves experience faster and we very often can avoid mistakes.
In light of this first question, tell about how you have been relating with this new dimension of your work: opportunities, difficulties and new orientations, if there are any...
Yes, I have been always looking for new technologies. Before "digital age" my main work have been based on medium 6 x 7 format and 4 x 5 large format cameras. I have been waiting for quality digital technology, able to replace commercial medium format. I have turned to digital, when Hasselblad H1D appears on the market. Since this time I hardly remember when I have used a film camera in commercial work.
New professional digital technology offer a new opportunities. First of all, they speed up post production process. The quality of images is higher as medium format film cameras and for me the most important was the dynamic range, which I am using till now as a main advantage. This functionality involved very popular HDR technologies.
There are also difficulties with digital technologies as work in extreme temperatures, but for my work I see positive aspects only.
Turning to digital technology have been question of several days, according to how to operate camera and other workflow on session. Then I had to learn to transfer the dark room experience to digital environment, but as we all know very well, digital environment offers much more, faster and cheaper as work in dark room.
What specific conditions push you to keep moving forward, and how do you experiment with new interpretative modalities in your professional work?
Firs of all it was price and speed of development. Then I always trap new technologies and I like to work with and explore. But here I have to say that my favorite are still Polaroid techniques.
What is the relationship between publishing and photography, between clients and photography, between businesses/private parties and photographers in your Country, based on your own personal experience?
This is really my personal experience. I see that image banks are growing geometric, and when I look to my commercial (advertising) work for past two years I see only images which you can't find there. That means portraits of managers, or other real people related somehow to the company or product.
And there is another aspect. Digital photography is in huge expansion to all people. So no wonder that many people are trying to reach the high level. The price is that customer can't recognize quality and many times they see just low price and the marketing skills are more important then quality of work. But this we can see probably in any parts of "art industry".
Have you ever had a chance to work with talented young photographers? How did your association manage this work relationship to make the most of it?
Yes, we as a association are cooperating on several competitions as a jury members. This is based on donations. I personally do talks, and workshops. With talks I have even international experience.
I had a chance to meet several young talented photographers on my workshops. In that case I talk to them and help them to be more involved to professional photography.
Does your Country allocate substantial resources to encourage up-and-coming talents by providing young photographers with opportunities to express their talents?
Here I have to say, I honestly don't know. I am very commercial based photographer and I don't see into this area. All I know is that in our country is several events as exhibitions, workshops, or other activities. Financial support is possible from our government, but it is long process, and there must be a condition to promote Slovak culture. We have been also supported as association in past.
The main event supported by government is international photography festival "Month of photography".
At present, photographic technology gives everyone a chance to test their skills with an art form that can produce fascinating results, on the one hand, while tempting banality at every turn, on the other. What is your own reading of the market and what we should expect to see in the near future?
You are right. I these days is almost everything possible. Easy, cheap and accessible... So how to deal with this situation? My personal experience is that the way how I treat with clients, then communication on session, I always work with emotions. I let client experience something extraordinary. Then with this experience they are happy to come back again.
And my personal vision of future is that all society is changing now. A new consciousness brings to all aspect of living a new quality, photography as well. Due to photography already becomes the most popular hobby around the world and almost everybody are using cameras, photography will be (and probably is already) a new huge medium to express ourselves. I already know several grate artist in age about 20 - 24, which already achieve an international level.
In your experience as President, would you characterize the relationship between your association and its members as an active one?
What tools and strategies does your association bring into play to cultivate a better relationship with its members?
Here I have to say that main benefit to be a member in our association is that in our small (very small) country we know each other. We talk, share and help each other.
Then, we have a good opportunity to organize a group exhibitions from 5 - 15 photographers. But we have also passive members. Fortunately in our board are people who are very active, so thanks to them we do some activities which are interesting from almost all members in our association.
We don't have any strategy to cultivate a better relationship with our members. We are trying to solve this problem as well.
What future do you see for photography in your Country?
I thing here in Slovakia we have a good potential and base of talented photographers. Many of them already work in Czech republic, England, France, and other countries. I see very good potential in young photographers, but on other side, we have very small commercial market. Our photographic world is also divided to two main groups. Commercial and art photographers. I hope one day we will join together.
821 09 Bratislava