Hello Alex, welcome to The Gallery Magazine! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m a self-taught fine art photographer, from Israel. The main focus of my work is nature close-ups and animal photography; recently I’ve published a photobook, featuring some of my best nature-related works.
When did you pick up the camera for the first time and what was the story behind it?
Photography had always attracted my interest. For years I have followed many photographers and enjoyed their works, but never considered trying it myself until 2012. That’s the year I got a smartphone, and started playing around with its inbuilt camera. Often, when I’d go for nature walks with my dog, I’d take a few shots with the phone, simply because I wanted to share the beauty with my friends. After a while, one by one they suggested I try a DSLR. Even though the thought of working with a “real camera” was kind of intimidating, an opportunity presented itself and I started shooting with a Canon 1000D.
You have expertise in various genres of photography, which is your favorite genre and why?
As you can probably tell by browsing through my Facebook page and site, my main focus is nature photography; more specifically, nature close ups. I like to discover the beauty of little things and show them to the world. With macro photography, you don’t have to travel very far to find something unique; it’s enough to take a closer look at your immediate surroundings. Apart from that, I also enjoy animal photography, since it is great fun to try and capture the personality of different animals.
As a photographer what is the most important thing for you to explore and capture with your camera?
Well, photography often feels to me like a constant discovery of new worlds. There’s this feeling of amazement when I look very closely at something and suddenly see a fascinating pattern or a beautiful play of light. Sometimes, I find fairy tales and stories in seeds, dewdrops and plants. This sensation of wonder is very important to me and it’s what I try to capture in my images, in order to evoke that same sensation in the viewer.
If we peek in your camera bag, what would we find?
Until recently I worked with Canon 60D; but now you’d usually find a Canon 6D with a Canon 100mm macro lens and a Raynox DCR-250.
Are you currently working on any photography assignment?
Well, since I prefer to follow inspiration wherever it might take me, my main assignment is to simply pay attention to the details around me. Oh, and to always remember to take the camera with me.
What inspires you?
The joy I find in being out in nature often brings inspiration. Sometimes it appears while I’m taking a closer look at something, like a dry leaf and some moss for example. At other times, something unexpected, like a line in a poem, can bring forth an idea for a photograph.
Your photography feels magical. Could you talk a bit about how you see that magic in nature?
Thank you very much. I think everyone can see the magical beauty of nature. Most of us are familiar with a sense of wonder which we experienced when we were younger, while looking at something beautiful for the first time. A flower bud opening up slowly and turning towards the sun; the way dandelion seeds gently scatter in the wind; perfectly shaped raindrops resting on a dry leaf; nature is filled with little miracles for everyone to see.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
To begin with, any image I work on has to be perfect in-camera. Before I click the shutter, it’s imperative that the subject has something unique to offer; there are no distractions in the background; the light must be faultless, as well as the exposure; and of course, the composition must be interesting. This often means staying for over an hour with the same subject, to get that one shot just the way I had envisioned it.
I always shoot RAW and so, editing is a fundamental part in the process of making a photograph. My workflow involves both Lightroom and Photoshop and includes color correction; sharpening; curves; white balance; etc. I’m interested in presenting each image from a personal, artistic perspective both before clicking the shutter and when editing for the final presentation.
How has photography influenced your life in terms of mindset, lifestyle & attitude towards life?
Photography has definitely had a great influence on me. In general, it is a kind of meditation to me. While photographing something, I have to be completely focused, completely still and there’s a certain freedom in that moment of quietude. Even the process of finding subjects for photos is meditative in a way. It requires some openness to new and unexpected things and a lot of patience, to discover something that might make an interesting photo. So, I’d say photography has gradually made me more patient, more attentive to the various details of daily life, and simultaneously more aware of the bigger picture.
What are your goals or dreams for the future?
From an artistic perspective, my main goal is to keep growing and improving in my photography. I still feel like I’m learning as I go, and there’s always something new to try. From a more personal point of view, I prefer to live in the moment. In my experience, this is when inspiration and the best ideas spring into mind.
Nature Photography: Alex Greenshpun