An interview with Andrew Kochanowski
RH: What attracted and inspired you to your current documentary project?
AK: I doubt that what I do is documentary, it is my interpretation of what I see. I don’t see a need to tell a story, I see a need to tell MY take on what I see; and what I see is the little slice of rectangle in my viewfinder.
RH: Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project?
AK: I don’t plan much of anything except where to be and to be attentive to what I see. My only desire is to come back with a photo or two that has something interesting in it. I don’t view moody man-on-the street pictures as interesting, by the way.
I shoot for a few months and then look through to see if any patterns, moods, ideas, notions or fancies caught my eye. The current project has chapters called “It’s A Party,” “Unrequitted Love,” “Signs Of The Apocalypse,” and “LA LA LA Land.” I try to see if there are ten to twenty shots that make me happy in each chapter. Then I publish it, show it, stick it on my website, or forget about it.
RH: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
AK: No, this is the way I work.
Implementation and Completion
RH: How have you dealt with any challenges and difficulties within your project?
AK: I view it all as one, shooting, seeing, and later choosing what to show. My biggest issue is always finding enough time to shoot and edit.
RH: How long do your projects tend to take from start to finish?
AK: I never actually finish; then again, since I’m always shooting, I never actually begin.
Editing and Sequencing
RH: Do have several images to edit of one fleeting moment or do you have one well-constructed precise image that you have captured?
AK: Well, I don’t really do fleeting moments, one of the things I realized about myself is that I am pretty indecisive if I approach things analytically. I tend to shoot almost unconsciously. Since I use film, I am lucky if I get one shot, much less a series of them. Makes editing easier though.
RH: Within the editing stages, have you felt the project has taken on a different narrative than first envisaged?
AK: As I said earlier, or tried to say earlier, I don’t have a narrative, I find a narrative. I give it a shape by my choice of film and focal length of lenses, but as to subject matter, I will try to place myself in a position where I have a chance to see something that interests me. Once I go through a few dozen or hundred rolls or so, I will see what interested me.
Tips and hints
RH: What would you recommend for people starting their own photographic project?
AK: Just this: have some reason to take the photo beyond wanting to get social media approval.
RH: Does the camera really matter?
AK: No. Obsessing about equipment is a mug’s game. Film can give you a good look, that’s why I use it, but I also used and use digital or my phone. It’s mostly all the same.
RH: Any books you would recommend reading to get the creativity started?
AK: Know what went on before you. It helps to put one’s own work in stark and (mostly) unfavorable comparison. My prejudices are to Winogrand but I’m not categorical about it.
RH: Would you recommend attending photography workshops?
AK: Strangely yes, and not just the ones I give. Pick someone whose work you like, and take the opportunity to pick their brains, there is nothing wrong with that. I did workshops with Mary Ellen Mark, Eugene Richardson, and Alex Webb years ago, found them all to be fantastically instructive.
RH: want to findout more vist:
Instagram: kochanowski street
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