Serge Narraj is a Lebanese photographer born in 1973. His works are some of the best regarding the use of geometries, compositions and color.
In this interview with him you will read about how he started his career as a photographer, his aesthetics, his view on social media and much more….
How did you get into photography?
I was registered at a photography course without my prior knowledge. It was the best gift anyone had given me.
“It is not about what you see but how you see it” is written in your bio. Can you explain the profound sense of this and what it tells us of your idea of photography?
Art should endeavor to show the universal in the particular. A photographer should be able to see individual arrangements which escape our standardized perceptions. And pushing other people to see through a photographer’s eye is basically the essence of photography.
« It is not about what you see but how you see it » is about using our third eye and having an added value to each scene we capture.
Your ability to develop an unusual reality for the viewer through particular perspectives is amazing. How much effort do you spend thinking a shot? What is your creative process like?
I just see it. I look at a particular scene and instantly know how I am going to shoot it. It is as intuitive as clear in my head. Sometimes a shot leads to another and I start following this creative thread step by step until the image taken reflects the message I want to communicate.
It is almost like a race between imminent data discovery and intuitive creativity.
What has this work on perspective taught you outside of photography? How much does this conception of the importance of the points of view inform your idea of reality?
I must admit that it is my job that first taught me how to work on perspectives (I am a lawyer). When I defend a client I do it through the most efficient angle. This led me to approach photography in a similar way by searching for the most satisfying point of view to capture a specific scene.
You can just imagine how this specific way of observing my surroundings has drastically changed my comprehension of reality.
Geometry, colors, light, and composition. These elements characterize the aesthetics of photography. What about the conceptual aspects? Is there a message you want to convey with your imagery?
The conceptual aspect is within each image because each photo I take has a specific story and message. Sometimes I realize that a group of images complete each other and form an indissociable series even if they were taken at different moments of my life.
Nowadays I have been focusing my attention on pictorial weight and its effect on the viewer’s comprehension of emotionally charged scenes.
“The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen” said the photographer László Moholy-Nagy. What do you think about this statement? Do you feel that in this sense social media are playing a positive or negative role?
It is true that we now view more images than anytime in the history of mankind. Today we are actively living Mohology-Nagy’s statement. Tomorrow would probably give space to a technology that would go beyond our classical comprehension of imagery.
Social medias are taking over our brains. The time we spend browsing is the time I used to spend doing outdoor activities when I was younger. And the most ironical thing about it all is that the positive and negative aspects of this “evolution” are interdependent.
A clear choice between positive and negative (and therefore illiterate and literate) is as vicious as what Moholy-Nagy predicted.
A piece of advice you feel like giving to people who would like to create shots like yours?
Try not to copy. Listen to this little creative voice inside your head.
A photographer who has influenced you?
Henri Cartier Bresson for sure. But I must admit that I have been more influenced by specific images rather than a photograph’s complete portfolio.
A living artist you want to suggest to our readers?
Next and upcoming projects?
I am working on several group and solo exhibitions starting September (Art Fairs or within my gallery in Paris). I am also finishing the work on a book on my photography with an English publishing house (Kahl Editions) that will probably be published in the fall. I am very happy to be able to assemble many pictures of mine in one book.
Credits: Serge Najjar
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