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Blog interview: Minyahil Kifle-Giorgis

Min, thanks for agreeing to take part in the blog!

How are you doing?

Pretty good thank you, I’ve just finished a shoot with a friend of mine who is a talented up and coming comedian, so in a pretty great mood.

Your passion is photography, who and what are your influences?

There are sooo many great photographers who’s work has had an influence on my work but the main ones I have to mention are Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias, David Hobby, Uzo Oleh, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Joey L, Lara Jade oh the list goes on and on but I have learned A LOT from these incredible photographers over the past decade.

What to you makes a good shot?

This is a hard question to answer because I think its quite a subjective thing, but to me it’s the genuine emotional expression that has been captured in a single frame. Composition, lighting and all the other technical stuff is important but I would rather have an image taken on a Polaroid that makes me feel something, than a picture taken with a Hasselblad H6D that is Perfect from a technical stand point but has no soul, message or emotion.

Technology has changed the way that we take pictures. Do you prefer digital or analogue images?

I started photography when the digital revolution was kicking off, so my first camera was a digital Sony Alpha A100. This was amazing as it was cheap and easy to get started and the learning curve was much simpler but now that I have matured as a photographer I absolutely LOVE what film cameras can produce, I am definitely going to be investing in a film Medium format camera this year as I love the challenge and restrictions shooting with film gives you. With digital you can shoot thousands of frames till you fill the memory card, and even then you can go and delete any that you don’t like to free up more space, but with film… you have 36 exposures if you only go out with one roll of film… SO YOU BETTER MAKE THEM COUNT.

How do you as a photographer make sure that the thing, person or landscape you want to shoot looks the way you want it to?

I mainly photograph people, and to be honest… I very rarely have an idea of what I want the images to look because when ever I am shooting a portrait of someone I walk around in the city with them and then stop based on what we come across and shoot there. The most important thing for me is the images we capture is a genuine representation of that person so I like to get to know who I am photographing during the shoot. I like the freedom that comes from not having a specific shot in mind because it means I can be truly in the moment and not miss out on great opportunities to make wonderful images.

Since photography techniques and equipment change quickly, it is important to stay up-to-date. What do you do to always keep up with the times?

When I was much newer to photography I was obsessed with having the best or latest camera I could afford, so I looked at magazines, YouTube tutorials, went to every camera store I could find as well as go on photo walks with friends to try out their gear and share mine with them. As I became more experienced I learned that lighting is really the most important thing to focus on, because when you understand lighting you can make any camera or lens SING because you can play to their advantages and avoid their weak points to create great images. I use Instagram and Pinterest as my main tools to look out for great examples of lighting that I can incorporate in to my work or to keep me motivated to try new things.

Angela Luzi’s Portrait Session

Does social media play an important part for you? If so how?

Yes and no, what I mean by that is, I use social media as a way to look at great images produced by not only photographers I admire but also my friends, but I don’t post on there as a marketing tool it’s more of an expression of my artistic and creative process. I will share some of the shots with my clients but most of it is a mixture of my street photography and my own personal life captured through my trusty phone.

With cameras improving so much on phones do you prefer using a camera or a phone to capture your images?

I think phones have completely changed the photography world for a lot of people myself included, and I think they are incredible for the moments when you don’t have your DSLR/Mirrorless with you, but for me I love the feeling of looking through the viewfinder to compose my images and hearing the sound of the shutter as I take the picture, and phones just don’t have that same feel. From a technical stand point if I am using flash lights or am shooting a theatre show or performance then it is 100% going to be my DSLR/Mirrorless as phones right now don’t quite cut it for that situation.

Do you have a favourite spot to go to for street photography?

Waterloo Birdge or King street in Covent Garden, those two are definitely my favourite places to go shoot. King Street is is perfect because the architecture behind is gorgeous and there are sooooo many different people who walk though it so there are always some super interesting looking characters or reactions that you can capture.

What do you do to improve your skills?

Practice… I try to remind myself that I need to keep shooting to stay active, because like an athlete creative thinking is like a muscle you need to exercise if you want to stay sharp. I love to photograph the people around me and I am luck enough to work with some incredibly talented people so when ever it has been too long since I’ve had a shoot I ask if one of them wants to do a shoot with me and we meet up to create fun images. This allows me to find new locations as well as try some things I hadn’t before to improve on my skills as a photographer.

What kind of photos do you tend to take and which ones do you avoid?

I tend to take photos that are genuine and in the moment, even though the location and clothing may have been chosen the actual moment where I press the shutter button hasn’t so I like to set up the environment and then say or do things that produce a genuine reaction which I then try and capture. I definitely 100% AVOID photos where the subject is forcing a smile… I think smiles in photographs should be earned not demanded, to me when I see that it feels like you are holding the subject hostage.

Is there anything you’d like to learn in the next year from your photography?

I think the number one thing on my list is to learn to shoot with the Hasselblad CM500 film Medium Format Camera, that is a legendary camera that even after 50+ years still produces stunning images. I want to challenge myself to work with film and really see how that influences the images I create.

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