“Passion, spirit of inquiry and perseverance. Good work takes an investment in time.”
Brant Slomovic (born in Montreal in 1970) is a contemporary photographer, currently based in Toronto. For the most part, he’s self-taught when it comes to photography.
“I primarily concentrate on personal projects. The images I strive to create cover a broad range of subjects within the general classification of documentary image making. Though I travel to a variety of fascinating locals for my projects, each stems from very personal experiences that give rise to deeper explorations in theme and subject matter.”
Interview with Brant Slomovic
Brant, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
I’ve had a lot of memorable moments as of late, most of which have taken place while on rooftops. I was making images overlooking a large festival in the Mahim district of Mumbai and Qawwali music was rising from the street. The spirit of celebration was palpable and gorgeous, to the point of being overwhelming.
Why did you become a photographer?
I’m not sure it was a conscious decision. It was a natural way for me to express myself artistically, something I continually feel the need to do. It’s a passion that has grown over time.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to transmit with your pictures?
Photography is a medium through which I can live consciously and take notice of the world around me. That’s what I hope to convey through the images.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Too many to choose just one. Early on National Geographic was a constant source of study. Steve McCurry, obviously and Jodi Cobb to name a couple.
Currently, I am excited by the work of Massimo Vitali, Simon Roberts and Mark Power. I also particularly admire Nadav Kander for the way he mixes commissioned work with personal work and Christopher Anderson for his pure emotionality.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have known Arnaud Maggs, a brilliant Canadian photographer. He changed career paths at age 40 to follow his passion for photography and achieved his greatest success and recognition at age 86. His humility, vitality and insatiable curiosity are particularly inspirational.
What’s your favorite photography quote?
“Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
I look for quiet moments. I’m predominantly shooting film and that dictates the process to some degree.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
Time, integrity, not paying too much attention to trends, and most importantly having something to say.
“I want to be totally honest with my subjects and in my process. Whether I’m shooting landscape or portrait. Reality and dignity are two words that continuously circulate through my head.”
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
Keeping it real.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
Passion, spirit of inquiry and perseverance. Good work takes an investment in time.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes? Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.
It has to affect you emotionally.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
I draw my inspiration from a variety sources: other art forms, other photographers, music, personal experiences.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I am mainly working with a Mamiya 7II. When I shoot digital I shoot a Nikon D700. I also have a Leica M4 to keep me honest and humble.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I’m a daily visitor to Flak Photo and NYT Lens. I also enjoy “The Image Deconstructed”, “This Is The What” and “Burn Magazine”.
What photography book would you recommend?
If you can get your hands on the yearly publication from the Flash Forward Festival, it’s a great window into emerging and exciting artists.
I recently stumbled on the book “One Goal” by Allison Davis O’Keefe. I love this project. It could be the most stunning journalistic essay on a topic close to my heart, hockey. I’m waiting for my hard copy to arrive in the mail.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
I think I’ll leave the advice to those that have been doing this longer than I have.