This article is a first in the ‘Triple 10’ project. Over the next few weeks I’ll present 10 photographers, my friends and acquaintances. My goal is to help photographers to expand their horizons through reading how other people think and feel about photography and for everyone else to enjoy a good photo. Why ‘Triple 10’? I asked them to answer 10 questions about photography and themselves and to present 10 of their best, recent or favourite photos. So, here we go. Excuse my English, it’s not my first language.
This week I present Marijan Sušenj (42). Born in Germany, raised in Germany and Croatia, for the past 13 years lives and works in Koprivnica. Having worked as a TV, radio and newspaper journalist, Marijan decided he wants to work as a photographer. He really likes photographing nature because it’s relaxing and without pressure. But he tries not to favorize certain type of photography, whether it’s portraits, city life, macro, weddings…
How would you describe your style in photography?
– I’m not really sure. Maybe the best description would be that I do every shooting like it’s the most important one in the world. I always try to be creative, to do something I’ve never done before. If I photograph people, I try to connect with them. I talk to them, smile at them or at least exchange looks. I think that’s the best way to relax them as they’re usually tense. That’s of critical importance to get THE ‘thing’ in the photo. I like to interact, not just come, shoot and leave.
What inspires you?
– I try to find inspiration everywhere. Good shots are everywhere around us. You can’t relax, equipment has to be ready for shooting and the brain ‘on’ to see the shot at the right moment.
What’s important to get a good photo?
– Everything! Equipment aswell as a photographer. Equipment, because some things are impossible to photograph without the right equipment. But if you don’t have the feeling for the job, even the best equipment won’t help. In the end it’s all about a photographer. The proof are many people that use cheap compact cameras or cell phones to produce beautiful photographs. My colleague once said: ‘When I see their photos I ask myself what am I doing? And I’m a professional’.
Good photography requires you to have a bit of a child inside yourself because of the creativity and ideas, because of looking at the world with your own eyes. Originality is one of the qualities good photographers have. It’s important for your brain to work constantly, to observe trends in photography and technology, to know the rules of the trade. It’s getting more and more important for the photographer to be a journalist and to know his way around different areas of life.
You also have to be constructively critical of yourself. Erasing every photo that’s not what you’re looking for, finding mistakes in your work. Don’t ever be 100 percent satisfied, because that’s the moment you’ll stop learning. Photographer also has to be very civilised; greet before you start to shoot, tell who you are and why you’re here, smile and be honest. The ‘other side’ will feel that. You have to apologize whenever you can if you push or step on someone when capturing a moment. Be aware of the moment and the surroundings and don’t obstruct your colleagues if you can.
What would you like to photograph and you never had the chance?
– I’d like to try underwater and war photography. But first, I’d like to photograph in a studio, because of the possibility of playing with light.
If you could travel through time, when and where would you take your camera?
– To the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century to photograph the start of the industrial revolution in the USA and England. First and Second World War, prohibition in the USA…
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for the photograph?
– Swimming with newlyweds I photographed in the water. Climbing on a 50 meters high tower of the Croatian Oil Company to make a panoramic photograph. I was really scared as I’m afraid of heights. During the floods I’ve done things that weren’t really smart. Nothing extreme, but there were some hairy situations.
Did the photography help you through life?
– Yes, it helped me a lot. I look at the world very differently than before. I changed the attitude towards the surrounding world. I’m not uncomfortable anymore when communicating with people I don’t know. I developed organisational skills, adaptivity and many skills I didn’t have before 2001, when I started photographing. Of course, I’ve met many people and made friends thanks to photography.
How important is post processing in photography?
– Depends on the kind of photography we’re talking about. If you work for the newspapers, it’s not important because you’re forbidden to post process, except for the cropping, correcting colors and sharpening. But when I do a wedding photography, I play much more with filters and effects. But I try to accomplish the look where it’s not visible I’ve done post processing. Nowadays it’s really hard to find photographs that don’t have filters and effects. People make digital illustrations and call them photographs. Post processing isn’t bad in itself, but there’s a thin line between taste and distaste. Except for the news photography, it’s hard to see raw photograph which looks like it did when downloaded from the memory card.
What equipment do you use?
– I work with Canon – 7d and 1d Mark IV. Lenses 16-35 2.8 L II, 70-200 2.8 L IS, flashes 430 and 580 EX and a CPL. I shoot macro with the reverse lenses and borrow lenses from friends.
What of the above is a must have?
– If I didn’t have everything with me, I’d be in serious trouble.