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Interview with Chris Moret

RAW Streetphoto Gallery (Alexey Shifman): Let start from the beginning. How did you start working with photography?

Chris Moret: Ah, that is too simple. I was working and had some money and have decided let's buy some camera. I was drawing when i was younger in comic style, but it was mostly for pleasure. And later my mother told me about Ed van der Elsken. So I bought some books of this man and fell in love with street photography.

RAW: so this way you find yourself

CM: I found thanks to him that street photography can be such a cliche. There is beauty in everything when you walk around. There is too much to see. And the hardest thing to pick it out. It can be frustrating sometimes. When you miss that moment, that picture. You have made all technical things, exposure, focus, frame but just one moment to early or to late and it doesn’t work, nothing, and the picture is gone.

Like in one of my pictures, the man is just looking at me at that makes picture, if it would be a fraction too late, he could look in another direction and picture would be gone.

RAW: How did you work on your style as photographer? Develop your style?

CM: I have started with black and white and I did attend Fotovakschool in Apeldoorn. It was quit a technical course. They had the philosophy that that a firm technical base was the best way to be creative later on.So I did lots of technical aspects, film developments tests, printing ....

RAW: what is more important for you technical or artistic?

CM: Artistic! Learning photography from a technical perspective was my biggest mistake. I had two photographic lives. The first one, when I was younger. When I was trying to become a professional photojournalist. And the second 16 years later: Life has changed in that time, like kids, and I rolled back towards the artistic side this time.

RAW: Interesting, what do you think about a photojournalism?

CM: It is not an art, in its primer meaning. But it is about catching a picture that will tell a story about a situation you are in. You have to try to tell a lot with just one picture. I think people that can deliver a picture like under that circumstance are briliant.

RAW: But street photography is not the same?

CM: it is partly. Journalist are very often good street photographers. But personally I could not go whenever is necessary and to shoot any subject. I must have a certain click with it to make a good picture. And that was my problem. I tried to go to the assignment I often failed. I was trying to hard to please the editor. So you are losing yourself. You are not really making your picture but the one the photo editor wants. And keep in mind there could be text in it, so it should be space, so if editor wants, he will crop your picture any convenient way and all your artistic input is gone.

I wanted to have freedom to make what I want and what I like. In the beginning I was all about people. But later it was changing, shapes and forms are now of more importance to me. I shifted from B&W to color.

RAW: So how did you continue further with your photo career, you are very persistent with photography?

CM: It was very hard to do it differently. At one moment I hit a sort of brick wall and quited all. Sold all my gear and darkroom equipment. I did not touch camera for 16 years. But after time it slowly came back to me.

I was still interested, and by chance I got a digital camera. So I have started from the beginning. It is easier and so different. You now can work so much easier. So again I started from the beginning, exploring the classics like Cartier Bresson, and contemporary photographers like Alex Webb, Jesse Marlow, Harry Gruyaert.

RAW: What have started to inspire you in your works?

CM: Questions! There should to be questions in the picture. Why did the photographer choose this angle? Why, why, why.... What does he want to show me. So actually what he tries communicate to me? Like street photography icon Joel Meyerowitz once said. “A photographer has 360 degrees vision around him. Why does he just frame that tiny bit from all this space given?”. Red ceiling and a lamp, and voila, it hangs in MOMA. Why? But there is a moment, when I want to know the questions that photographer is bringing to me.

RAW: Does you life experience has influence on your photography?

CM: Yes, it does. Now, I have started to catch myself that I take pictures regularly of my family daily life. My wife, my kids. But take it from different perspective. Like an observer.

RAW: and vision of the street?

CM: Ja, I look more for the smaller details and things. I have started to think that it is more important for me the shadows and reflections. It is so much to see, you can go beyond that. But every picture is different. Sometimes I want show Christmas or some humorous on the street or cynical, candy, so actually what is the reflection of photographer day. Getting older you want less exposure at your picture but more of the life and time experience. These feelings should just come into one point. Sometimes it is not planned at all, like passing by some church next to my home, I have made a photo of the window. And that was just like it should! Sometimes when you see some situation, you ask yourself why it is happening, go and shoot it.

RAW: What would you recommend to other photographers to begin with?

CM: Just do it. Take your camera and use it. You have to learn technical basis, but nowadays it is much easier that 20 years ago. And you can see immediately the result. So it is much faster to learn. Just do what you feel is right. Do not imitate others, Try it, but stay with yourself. Make pictures you have to make. That is the best you can do. Than you have honest picture.

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