This week on Prodibi let's hear the story of the great self-taught photographer CharlyHO
When you first meet CharlyHO, you are amazed by his spiritual approach to photography made of stories and inspirations, and his multifaceted portfolio including fashion, lifestyle, streets, and landscape images
Discover his stories and vision of photography this week on the Prodibi blog, let's go!
A few words about you. How did you start photography?
I am a self-taught photographer. I am not from an affluent background. My parents fled Phnom Penh to escape the genocide and offer us another future. In fact, and with a little hindsight, I can say today that I have cultivated my passion for the image and my photographic bases since my childhood. I grew up on the street, I loved to observe people, and what surrounded me. I remember that I collected the images; very early I devoured fashion and travel magazines. Over the years, I had built an iconographic database in my head. Very early I loved movies. Unconsciously, I recorded the techniques of framing with the play of light.
My first camera was a small digital Pentax. At that time, I took pictures of memories like many; just to say that I saw that and that I visited that. My second camera was a Panasonic Lumix. The Lumix made me understand that I too could make beautiful pictures, which encouraged me to do more often until the day I decided to invest in an SLR. My first SLR was a Canon 5D Mark II. And there, strangely, everything became obvious to me.
The framing, the photographic point of view, what can work and what does not work. It was a click, it came like that. It was as if everything came back together at the same time, my experiences with the image, all those images that I could devour, all those movies that I watched. Everything was coming back to the surface.
You often go from portrait to landscape to culinary photography, why is that?
For me, photography is only an artistic language. The camera is my pencil. Starting from this postulate, I do not wish to limit myself to a single discipline. I understand that many photographers specialize in making it a trade. The last time I met a well-known YouTuber, he told me that I was doing too much, and advised me to restrain myself. He was certainly right, and I understand his remarks. But for me, I do not want to follow this dictation.
Life is not fixed, it is made of possibilities. The photography must be able to show what I want to show, and create a feeling from it. A photo is like a painting and a photographer, a painter. Even though the techniques are different, one of their primary common points is to show something. It does not matter what it is. We do not tell a painter to paint only portraits or landscapes. On the contrary, we wish to discover even more what it has to show us.
My photographic curiosity constantly pushes me to experiment, to discover other techniques, other renderings.
Which style fits you best?
You have to tell me. I did not have time to ask myself that question. My life of photography is only a life of experimentation of a universal language. Too vast for a life, too subtle and too big to restrict me to a few disciplines. When you look at my work in its entirety, it will be difficult to define a style. But when you look at discipline by discipline, the signature appears.
A style is not my priority. It's like the specialization of a photographer. The dictation forces us to choose a specialty, to find a style to be better identifiable, to better fit into a box, so that the public can have landmarks more easily. I think we have to break these absurd rules. Art and expression can have no limit. An artist should not be limited, and should not limit him/herself. The only limits must be their imaginations, their inspirations.
To answer in a more conventional way to your question; I often speak about a point of view. This is probably my point of view in the end.
Do you manage to make a link between all these photographic areas?
Yes, very easy. And there is only one. It's me and my point of view. The link is also what I saw, what I want to keep and what I want to show in a lifetime.
Do you have a different approach to photography depending on the type of photo?
The approach is always different for me even if it's a single type of photo. I never photograph in the same way. My approach is always different. Everything is unique. My mood is always different. My point of view and my curiosity always force me to change my approach to better understand the moment. Sometimes I love everything, the light, the pose, the choice of a physical, the scenery, staging, and sometimes I love shooting on instinct when I feel the event happen.
Your "Tirages Numérotés" series looks like a more personal project, what is the story behind these photos and what makes them special?
"Tirages Numérotés" is a personal selection of shots that have captured my gaze when the paths intersect. These are all things that crossed my life. The story of these clichés more generally, it is my testimony that they existed one day and that I took a second of their existence.
What makes them special? As long as you watch them on a computer screen or smartphone, nothing. My shots come to life only if we restore their nobility on a board. I do not do lyricism. I have seen from experience with my clients.
###What is the photo equipment you use? If you only had to choose one lens, what would it be? For some time now, my Fuji has not left me. I fell in love with my XT2 silver version with its retro look and incredible performance. In fact, I discovered this brand this year. I love their ways of designing cameras for photographers. It's an incredible brand.
Today, I have a weakness for the XF50mm F2. It's an incredible lens. It corresponds to my creative state of the moment. it is small and passes everywhere. It is discreet with a beautiful image quality. I'm planning to go to a medium format with Fuji's GFX to experiment with another rendering.
Do you have any other special projects going on or coming (personal project, exhibitions, etc.)?
There is a project that holds me really at heart, I am currently working with an association to improve the lives of children with cancer. I think art should also serve a cause. I intend to use my pictures to defend this cause or other causes that need to be defended.
My entourage and those who discover my work push me to expose. But between us, I do not know if I want it.
To see more of CharlyHO's work:
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