'Photography helps us to rediscover our humanity, which we have lost in these modern times.'
Croatian photographer Renata Arvaj discusses her inspiration and love of photography. She talks in detail about why the medium is the best way to communicate with people, as truely good photography has a soul and story that can speak for itself.
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Six years ago, I stepped into the world of photography. Back then I looked through the lens of my first digital camera, the Cannon sx30, however I fast realised that the camera didn't afford me the creative freedom I desired. Following my yearning to delve deeper into photography, I bought the DLSR Cannon 60 D.
My love towards capturing the beauty of the world through the photographic lens grew day after day. Travelling through towns and cities on the Adriatic Coast provided, and continues to provide, an inexhaustible source of creativity through its unique combination of beautiful nature and the way of life of the local people.
Where do you find the inspirtation for your photos?
My inspiration is mainly drawn from nature, from the peace and quiet that I find in it. However I sought to expand my vision, and started to explore different areas, including sports events (especially gymnastics competitions and football matches), theatre and local festivals such as the Pannonian Challenge, which features bold men and women doing acrobatics on bicycles and skateboards.
There are many different types of photography and ways to take pictures: artistic, documentary, war, street, air... But I still prefer landscape photography. After all, that's how I started. I wanted to capture the change of the seasons, to grasp the unique beauty in the way the nature changes with them.
In order to come to life, photography must become a way of life. Often I find myself watching buildings, people and nature, the world in general, as though I'm looking through the lens of my camera. I desire to photograph everything I think is interesting. It's all about capturing those fleeting moments that would otherwise fly by us, never to happen again. Its about turning those moments into memories. We can't stop time, but we can freeze some moments. And so we should.
You say photography must become a way of life, can you explain that?
For me, photography is a great way to communicate, maybe the best there is. Of all our senses, we humans rely primarily on our sight. Pictures can tell us great and profound stories. They can speak for themselves.
Photography has a great power: to move us, disturb us, make us restless, to steer us towards action. It can evoke strong emotions in people, making them more sensitive towards the world around them. Photography helps us to rediscover our humanity, which we have lost in these modern times.
Photography can be used to raise awareness, to point out what's going on - wars, starvation and hunger, deaths, injustices. It's not, nor it should be, used only to capture beauty in people and nature but also to confront us with the reality. Every photo from the areas in crisis is a cry for help.
But photography is also an art form that must stir emotions in people. Each photo captures a unique story, and has the ability to make people think and consider.
Truly good photography is not as highly esteemed as it should be. It's hard for those who are not into photography to value it correctly because they don't appreciate hundreds and thousands of hours of learning and the expenses of high quality equipment.
It's something you never stop learning. That's why you need to love photography to stick with it all the way. To give your photos not only a story, but a soul too.
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