Interview with fine art photographer Ákos Major

Interview with fine art photographer Ákos Major
International Photography Grant 2019

Akos Major – born in Gyöngyös, Hungary, graduated from Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (MOME) in Budapest, with a degree in Visual Communications. He worked for ten years as a senior art director in a Budapest-based Publicis ad-agency. Now he is working as a freelance designer.

Website: akosmajor.com

Balaton, Hungary, 2012 © Akos Major

How did you get interested in photography? Do you have an educational artistic background?
I have, I studied graphic design and visual communications, like, my whole life. At secondary school, we learned the basics of darkroom techniques, but to get really interested in photograpgy, it took a few decades for me. I worked as Art Director at an Ad Agency, and after a couple of years I started to seek something that calms my mind, still challenges my creativity. I found photography, bought my first dslr, started to take pictures. After four years, I sold my digital stuff and switched exclusively to film.

Where do you get your creative inspiration from? Is there any other artis or photographer who inspired your art?
Of course I get a lot of inspiration by browsing the internet, it’s just so convenient and effective. But, and it’s entirely true, one must visit galleries and exhibitions as often as possible to see and feel photographs (and every kind of art) in real life. I’m pretty open for new stuff.

How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph or series of photographs? Do you have any preferences regarding cameras and format?
I’m not a particularly careful planner. Up until now, all I need was 120 film and my trusty Mamiya 7, and I’m good to go. It’s really convenient: don’t need to download data from memory cards, carrying chargers, no sensor dust, whatever. Not even lens, I use the 80mm, nothing else. For family photos, there’s a shitload of cameras I love: the Leica M7, the Pentax 67II, compact film cameras, the Hexar, and so on. I’ve tried a lot of cameras in the past, then sold them: the Makina 670, the Hasselblad 503CW are stellar cameras, they’re just not for me. I have a large format set as well, a beautifully handcrafted Chamonix with some classy Fujinon and German lenses – a joy to use, but sheetfilm is ridiculously expensive. Like, I can buy a world-class lens for the price of 2 packs of film, which means twenty photographs. So I started eyeballing with digital, again. Actually I own the GFX50s now, learning again, how to shoot digital.

Abu Dhabi I, 2013 © Akos Major

Where is your photography going? What are you currently working on and do you have any photographic plans for future?
I always have something in mind, but for now I’m focusing on projects that ties me here in Hungary, mostly. These years aren’t really for travelling, I just want to be around my girls the most. Pretty much left to photograph here, honestly. I’m settling now, but I’m aware when wanderlust calls, you gotta go, no matter what. No problem with travelling with a two-years old, though – it’s just something way more different than before.

What are your three favourite photography books?
I don’t have specific ones I could call favourite, I’m always keen on buying photo books. Besides the obvious and must-have publications, I always interested in take my hands on contemporary fellow photographer’s books. I purchased Drake’s Folly from Dan Mariner and Sébastien Tixier’s Allanngorpoq lately, both are lovely stuff. There’s a new one, called City of Rivers, which I’m going to buy next.

What do you do besides photography?
I’m a pro graphic designer with a diploma. For now, a 24-hours dad, mostly.

Budapest, Hungary, 2015 © Akos Major

Thailand, 2013 © Akos Major

St Peter-Ording II, 2014 © Akos Major

Slab City, CA, 2016 © Akos Major

Sfax, Tunisia, 2013 © Akos Major

San Francisco, CA, 2016 © Akos Major

Paks, Hungary II, 2013 © Akos Major

NYC, NY II, 2014 © Akos Major

Monument Valley, AZ, 2016 © Akos Major

© Akos Major

Istanbul, Turkey, 2013 © Akos Major

Imperial County, CA 2016 © Akos Major

Death Valley, CA, 2016 © Akos Major

Caorle, Italy, 2013 © Akos Major

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International Photography Grant 2019