Alex ArnaoudovIt all started ages ago when my father put a basic Russian camera Smena 8M in my hands. I burnt a lot film, trying to figure those mysterious f-settings and shutter speeds, making them to work together. A friend of mine had set up an improvised darkroom in his bathroom and we spent a lot of fun hours exposing stuff (literally stuff) on the magic paper and sloshing chemicals without clear idea what we were doing. But that was the magic of it, after all – we were not preocupied with technology (simply because it was not available to us at theat time in Bulgaria), we were discovering the world in a way. That feeling of discovery never left me. And that is what photography is to me – a discovery of the world around me and in a way also a personal discovery.

If you have followed my journey so far you will know that I don’t have a narrow focus and I don’t specialize in a particular genre of photography. Everything excites me and I have tried different subjects. Having said that, I must admit that documentary and street photography appeals most to me. Street photography came late to my photographic journey but this is what I do now and I am enjoying it immensely. Armed with a small but mighty Fuji, I walk the streets aimlessly (or maybe not) and just follow my feet and gut feelings on a trip of exploration and discovery. Sometimes the walk is fruitless but other times surprises jump at me just around the corner and that is when things click together. The moment, the light – it all comes together in one clear vision and all I have to do is push the button. The streets of London are full of moments like these and not only London by the way – any city or town in the world abound with them. That’s life happening right in front of me – little scenes of no immediate importance but once captured, they turn into snippets of reality frozen in time; unique moments that will never happen again and that is the beauty of the whole exercise.

You may wonder what’s in my bag but there is the catch – I don’t have a bag. What is more important to me is a good pair of walking shoes, empty mind and a keen eye. The camera is just a tool and an extension of the eye but if you insist, I use a Fuji X Pro 2 with a 23mm f2 prime lens most of the time. Brilliant combination – small, weather proof, unobtrusive. I also use my mobile phone, and in a way that is the best camera since it is always in my pocket. I really don’t need anything else.

Some influences and ispirations might be in order – Alex Webb, Sergio Larain, Saul Leiter, Daido Moriama, Matt Stuart, to name a few. I am trying to maintain a style of my own with questionable results but I believe I am getting there. I shoot both colour and black and white with a slight preference for the latter. It is difficult to translate a scene into black and white and still achieve some sort of an impact. We are surrounded by colour and once you eliminate it from the picture, you need to rely on composition, light (or shadow), and narrative to hold the viewer’s eye and interest. There is the challenge and a good one too. I am still working on it and can only hope I will get better with time. Persistence is what they call it.

Enough talking. Let the images speak for themselves. Whether you like them or not, feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think. Hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do. Peace.