A. Tamboly is an award winning, internationally acclaimed photographer based in Berlin. His photograph “Curvilinear” won first place in the category “Architecture: Interiors” at the International Photographer of the Year competition. A.Tamboly is the first artist we’re interviewing for our Winners Gallery of all the contestants that have won first place in the competition.
Seeing a single image from an artist gives you a glimpse of their talent, passion and vision. We had a chat with A. Tamboly about photography, creativity, inspiration and his successful career in photography. Stay inspired, and keep on the lookout for artists that are going to answer some of your most curious questions.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey with photography.
I started photography at a young age, as a matter of fact my father was a photography enthusiast and I gained my initial knowledge about photography from him. Since then my path crossed many milestones, starting with my studies at the Faculty of Applied Arts and my decision afterwards to work as a photographer. Since 200,3 I have been working as a freelance photographer and I participated in more than 50 exhibitions and developed a worldwide client base.
How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
I just woke up one day realising that this is the thing that I would love to do for living, since then I did my best to make it work for me.
How important is formal training for a photographer and how do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I believe this is different from person to person, it depend on the character of the person and what fits him/her best as a learning method. Some people are better at self education, learning by doing while others need this kind of formal training or education. I believe a healthy mixture between both is the best. I learned a lot at the university but this was only the base knowledge, hence I learned the most important things through experience and learning from mistakes.
What’s your philosophy in regards to your work?
I like to show the viewer new things or new experiences from my point of view. My portrait photography is often concerned with gender bias or racism and how we see other people different from us.
Among your projects, which series or a single photograph is your favourite? What’s the story behind the project or photograph?
I have actually more than one favourite but I would pick my portrait project “Eve’s Glory”. This is a portrait project portraying women of different ages, ethnicity and different backgrounds wearing uniforms from the time between 1870 and the 1930s. The idea behind the project was to see how we would see this change in gender roles after 100 years from the first world war and how the viewer perceives it now. These classic male officers that were portrayed were not only a portrait back then, it was a demonstration of power, aristocracy and social status.
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What are some of the themes you explore in your works that are personally very close to you?
If we talk about portraits, I like to tackle some subjects like cliches and what people typically expect to be true based on their feelings with some irony and humor. For architecture it’s a different story, I enjoy unique buildings where I could discover a new dimension and depth. I’m fond of the “no gravity” concept most of all, it’s the feeling of being lost in space not knowing exactly what is up and what is down.
What are some of the things you hope your audience will take away from your works?
I hope to educate the public indirectly about some existing problems in our environments and I would love people to look deeply in my work and feel inspired, detached from reality sometimes in the sense of discovering a new perspective or point of view.
What is your favourite part about being a photographer?
I love the freedom that my job offers, I work alot on travel projects and doing that what I love and combine it with my job. It is something many people dream of achieving, I’m really grateful for that.
Who were your biggest influences, where do you seek inspiration and what are the 3 things inspiring your work right now?
I’m a big fan of the pioneer Ansel Adams, his images are still magical to me. Henri Cartier Bresson is my favourite in natural street portraits, he had the advantage back then that people were not so sceptical about street photography like today. My three inspiring things or concepts right now are freedom, well being and mind power..
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, intellectually or emotionally?
My motivation to continue taking pictures lies on that I still haven’t achieved my ultimate goal and I think that the motivation either emotionally, intellectually or economically, I see that if you do love the thing you do and go that extra mile, then you will get there on the intellectual and economic level as well.
Would you say photography is more liberating or restrictive than other artforms? Do you pursue other artforms?
It depends on what kind of photography. But in general I see photography as liberating, there are endless possibilities of what you can do with photography, although I consider some very interesting, I do consider some as junk or garbage. Sorry for the expression, but I’m just being honest here.
What do you consider your biggest success in your career so far?
Being internationally recognized for my work is the biggest success I achieved in my career, being considered as one of the best photographers living today is not an easy task, especially with the mass of media produced every minute.
What makes a memorable photograph, in your opinion?
The concept is what makes the photograph memorable. Many photographers are technically talented but when it comes to the fine details its the concept that would add the extra weight and meaning to the photograph.
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
Never give up on your dream. If you want to make a career with photography, then you should be emotionally prepared for the long path you are taking. It takes quite some time to develop your own style and get to where you want to be.
Could you share with us one of your favorite editing tools or tips?
I’m not the editing freak actually. I don’t use Lightroom for instance, I just use Photoshop.
How was your experience with participating in the contest International Photographer of the year? How do you feel about your accomplishment?
It’s a good experience, I won the main title for architecture in 2015 and now I’m being one of the winners again – that’s a great accomplishment. Aside from IPOTY I was finalist at the Hasselblad Masters Awards 2018, Felix Schoeller Awards 2017 among other achievements this year.
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