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Interview Adore Noir Magazine, June 2011 with Arkadius Zagrabski

Arkadius Zagrabski hails from Düsseldorf, Germany. His style is minimally portrayed scenes with emphasis on the fine points. The results are awe inspiring works of art.

Chris Kovacs, Adore Noir Magazine: How did you get started in photography?

Arkadius Zagrabski: I have been fascinated with photography ever since early childhood. I was always ecstatic when my father let me use his camera during holidays. I was very careful as I did not wish to damage the camera, I felt proud to be able to take photographs to remind me of the past. These experiences will always remain great for me. Ever since then photography has been my life and passion.

AN: How did you develop technical knowledge?

AZ: Once I started it began to turn into an addiction for me. I took photographs almost daily. With great interest I began to read diverse books about various themes of photography. With these books I learned new techniques and methods which I regularly use. Of course, it is not always possible to learn everything immediately but I learned from my mistakes and improved on my skills regularly. The time came when I realized that I had read enough technical books, from then on I purchased photography books from the masters and studied these works. I am sure that this is when I realized that this was a very important time for me to develop my photography into a profession. As I studied the pictures, whether they were portraits, architecture or landscapes I always asked myself these questions:

How did the photographer create this? What was the weather like? What was the photographer portraying in the images? Did emotions play a role in this work? What was the photographer trying to say? Studying photographs from other artists was very important in my development.

From that point on I realized what it really meant to think about photography in a serious manner.

AN: Can you describe your shooting process?

AZ: The whole process consists of various aspects. For example, the careful planning and the regular checking of the weather forecast. Some-times because of bad weather I have to travel to specific locations multiple times. My photography is purely analogue based. The zone system helps me to take pictures to my expectations. It is often very important to me that I capture all the necessary information and structures within my picture, It often happens that two sessions of photography are not enough. I am happy to say that film is very dynamic and therefore I lose only a tiny amount of information. A big advantage of analogue pictures is the possible dynamic view after specific development of the images.

I use only Hasselblad´s and also the 6x17 panorama camera. Then comes the time for me to develop the images, initially the selected negatives are digitally scanned with a high end scanner and then worked on from there. A professional laboratory takes away the pressure and prints the final images. In the future I plan on offering silver gelatine prints as limited editions.

AN: How do you come up with an idea for an image?

AZ: Usually there is a specific place or landscape that I wish to visit. Upon arrival, I allow the surroundings to be absorbed and then I am able to adjust to the mood, often this is done with music.

In this situation I spontaneously decide which subject and in which style to photograph. It is not a fully rational process. The present emotion is the decision maker. It is therefore intuition which steers regardless of how I have prepared for the landscape or specific subject.

AN: What are your influences?

AZ: There are various artists, their works, their styles and types of photographs which fascinate me and influence my work and ideas. There are also other indirect influential things such as memory of childhood or becoming an adult, these can also affect my influences. The biggest influence is definitely music which can put me into specific emotional states, which creates a frame for the specific photographs.

AN: Why do you prefer black and white over colour?

AZ: This question is not easy to answer. Black and white photography interests me dramatically. The missing colour in the pictures awakens in me a melancholic mood and affects me with more emotion than colour photographs. I find black and white photography more demanding. The photographs are recognized as timeless and can be more emotional to the perceiver. For me this style is a fascinating way to present a scene.

AN: Are you represented by any galleries?

AZ: Since 2009 I have the honour of being represented at the F.G Conzen Gallery in Düsseldorf and the Esther Klinghammer Gallery in Cologne. New solo exhibitions are already in planning. In July 2011 my current work from Venice and Iceland will be presented in the Conzen Gallery. Recently the KR-Line Gallery from Brügge began representing me and they have already used select pieces of my work which have been presented at the Art Fair LineArt 2010 in Gent.

AN: If you could go anywhere and photograph anything where and what would it be?

AZ: There are so many places around the world I would love to have the opportunity to photograph. The locations and possibilities are endless. As a critic of my own work, I would love to go back to certain places in the world to photograph the same scenes again because the conditions were not perfect the first time around. An absolute dream for me would be to visit the Antarctic, the landscape is breathtaking!

AN: Do you have any projects on the go?

AZ: I am currently working on a catalogue of images for the big solo exhibition in the Conzen Gallery in Düsseldorf in July 2011. This has been taking up much of my time.