“You can’t translate everything into photography, but if you carefully select your point of interest it can be sharp and effective.”
Bogdan Radenkovic (born 1989) is a contemporary photographer from Serbia.
In this interview he talks about one of his latest projects called “Manufactured Landscapes” and explains what he means by the term ‘camera brain’.
Interview with Bogdan Radenkovic
Bogdan, you often use photography as a means to explore personal issues, as can be seen in “La Nausée”, for example. Is that the case, too, for “Manufactured Landscapes”? What is it about?
Actually, ‘La Nausée’ has two components that are intersecting.
I see it as a visual representation of the matter Sartre exposed in the novel with the same name, on the other hand it’s pretty subjective, and diary-like (the novel is also a fictional diary).
Manufactured Landscapes is my latest project, and basically the only one where I do not manage my subjective concerns, I tried to assess the post-communist architecture.
After you’d decided to take on the subject, how did you decide on the question of how to resolve it photographically, so that form would match content? Why do you consider photography a suitable means to deal with personal matters?
Talking about music – you can do literally everything, be abstract as much as you want, do whatever you imagine.
Photography, however, is a medium that exactly reproduces reality, photographer is one who frames it, and shapes it that way, it’s still a representation of reality, but with the way you frame it, it can acquire an altered, subjective meaning.
A two-edged sword, you cannot go too far, but on the other hand it’s a unique medium for expressing reality, you can’t translate everything into photography, but if you carefully select your point of interest it can be sharp and effective.
What reaction do you like to provoke in people who look at your images?
I really don’t try to think as a viewer.
Obviously that’s a bad habit, but I love to present it in that way that will fit to my concept and that often leaves space for misinterpretations.
At the beginning of each project one often has some kind of idea in mind as to what the result could be like. Sometimes that changes along the way and the result is quite different. Was that the case with “Manufactured Landscapes” and if so what did you learn during the project?
I made sketches for the vast majority of photos that I took, I go to some place, put on paper what I like and what I don’t want, think about the angle, time of day, weather.
When those terms are met, I come back with camera and often make only a few photos, trying to be as precise as possible, without improvisation.
Susan Sontag once said “The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own”. How has photography changed the way you look at the world and what have you learnt about yourself?
“We obviously have a limited storage for visuals in our ‘camera brain'”
When I talk to people I’m often distracted with thinking only about the frame, pull out the camera and interrupt them just to take the photo.
I love to call it ‘camera brain’, it increases one’s ability to capture a huge amount of information in every moment and by time you develop some serious memory issues, we obviously have a limited storage for visuals in our ‘camera brain’.
Every photographer is going through different stages in his formation. Which “landmarks” do you recall that have marked you and brought you to the place where you are today as a photographer?
I’ve started pretty young and until my early twenties the photos I took aren’t worth mentioning.
Afterwards I had that nice inspirational phase when I made all those photos and the style is pretty coherent on all projects.
Now I’m in some kind of dip where I don’t take any photos, just thinking about new projects, I want to bring everything to a more complex, higher level.
Also, I’m working on my new photography book these days.
Last but not least, let’s switch roles: Which question would you have liked to be asked in this interview about your work that I didn’t ask? Please feel free to add it – as well as the answer.
Q: How to do an interview about yourself without using “I” five times in every sentence?
A: I have no answer to that one.