Passion, Dedication, Artisitc Vision

Dmitry Demchenko

California street photographer, Dmitry Demchenko, came to photography by way of filmmaking. Currently a student at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Demchenko’s work has been exhibited in Santa Monica and Los Angeles at venues such as the Lark Gallery, and Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. His range is exceptional, his passion undeniable, his street portraits unyielding. And, it is no secret. Dmitry Demchenko is making his mark in the world of photography.

Photography is a unique way to feel the elusive." Dmitry Demchenko

Kujaja: How did you get involved with the type of photography you’re doing now?
DD: I was a film student at Santa Monica College in California when I decided to take Photography to learn more about cameras. I quickly learned that just like filmmaking, photography is a great way to tell stories and express my artistic vision. I started doing photography for my class assignments and one of my photographs got selected for the 34th SMC Annual Photography Exhibition the same semester, which was a huge boost of motivation for me. I got involved with photography so much that I was spending all of my leisure time with the camera and continued taking photography classes. Photography also helped me to get into Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. I submitted a video about my photography when applying for the university. It is very rewarding and encouraging to realize that my effort and passion for photography have resulted in me becoming a represented artist at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA) in Downtown Los Angeles and the Lark Gallery in West Hollywood this year.

Kujaja: Can you identify a unifying theme or recurring thread running throughout your photographs?
DD: I think photography reflects your inner world. And just like your feelings and mood, the unifying theme and recurring thread can also change all the time. Moreover, I think it’s always interesting to experiment with different themes and ideas, and see how they are going to come out.

Kujaja: Who are the photographers who have influenced your thinking, photography, and career path?
DD: I like many photographers such as Sebastião Salgado, Michael Kenna and Richard Avedon, but I wouldn’t say that they’ve influenced my thinking, photography or career path. I think it’s very exciting to find your own path and stay true to your own artistic vision and things that interest you. I think it’s acceptable to draw aspirations from other people’s work, because they reinforce your own vision and help you to perfect your personal characteristics, but you should never try to repeat someone’s vision or choose the same career path.

Kujaja: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
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From a Distance

Bun Lee

Quoting Daniel Rice, “There are places which exist in this world beyond the reach of imagination.” Bun Lee’s photography is the manifestation of his words. In a world overly cluttered with man and his intrusions, Lee leads us into the genesis of creation, silently... unobtrusively. His compositions are concertos that celebrate the unaltered beauty of planet earth. Travel then, to this place of landscapes and nightscapes… beyond imagination.

I am a time lapse and landscape photographer. I developed my love for nightscape photography over the last few years. My background is video production and motion design which came long before my passion for landscape and nightscape photography. I am now in constant search of places where I can feel the vibrations that resonate with nature, especially in the dark."

Kujaja: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your history?
BL: I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I moved to Canada about 25 years ago and now live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Kujaja: Do you have formal training?
BL: I have training in video production though none in the field of photography. But a lot of the concepts and basic rules still apply to both worlds, such as lighting, composition, rule of thirds and leading lines. Another important aspect that affect my skills in photography is my post-processing background. Having a background in teaching compositing really gives me a great advantage when learning new techniques related to photography.

Kujaja: Who photographers who have influenced your photography and career path?
BL: There are way too many photographers that have influenced me and I don't know if I should have a long list to answer your question. But with the digital age we are in, anyone who posts their work online could influence others.

Kujaja: You also teach, everything from camera basics to filmmaking programs at the Cannes Film Festival. When and how did you transition to education?
BL: To keep the long story short, I taught at a film school in Vancouver for about 6 years. Adobe had a student filmmaking program at the Cannes Film Festival and I became one of the mentors of the program. Later on, I became part of a non-profit organization called 'Real Ideas Studio'. This all happened before I got into the world of photography.

Kujaja: How did you get involved with the time lapse and landscape photography and which do you enjoy the most?
BL: I've been in love with time lapse long before I got into landscape photography, ever since I had my first point and shoot camera that had a built-in interval timer. Over years of shooting time lapse, my eyes have been trained to observe minor movements when I get to a location. So, I can identify what to capture faster. Between time lapse and landscape, it's really hard for me to pick one that I enjoy more. I guess who I'm shooting with at the time really changes the dynamics of that. If I'm doing a solo trip, I do like the freedom that shooting time lapse gives me to be able to enjoy the scenic moment I'm in. Some like to arrive at a location at the perfect time with the best lights available, take the few shots they want and leave. But I like to sit down, slowly taking in the environment, discovering everything that surrounds me. Why hurry when you are within and part of such magnificent views.

Kujaja: You identify yourself as a landscape photographer, but you also shoot cityscapes and nightscapes. What is your preference?
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Beaux Street Art

Christopher Reuter

German street photographer Christopher Reuter is a right hemisphere junkie, so it was only a matter of time before he picked up a camera. Unlike the average street photographer, Reuter, a singer, writer, artist, and Urbane Dance choreographer, brings something completely different to the street genre. He has a sense of the rhythm and the shapes of the street that allow him to choreograph his frames in a way that is relatively uncommon in street photography. Through this choreography, he has produced a magazine worthy collection of what I'd call, Beaux Street Art.

I have been working as an Artist since the age of 13. I was raised in a small village of about 1000 people. As a kid, I drew all day long, including at school. There was really nothing but art that’s held my attention in all the ways that it has; like dancing, singing and writing. I have been a professional choreographer in Urban Dance for the last 11 years and I never thought there’d be anything that would compare to dance until I made my first pictures. Today, photography is the most incredible way to express myself. The feelings I have, how I see my surroundings and, of course, capturing true emotions forever. This is why I love the streets. No faking. No playing. Street is the real deal."

Christopher Reuter

Kujaja: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
CR: For me as a photographer, it’s kind of hard to focus on only one thing. When I am on the street taking pictures, I am often distracted by many different things. I often have to tell myself that I can’t do it all at the same time. Another challenging part is to get shots that differ from others. I don’t like taking images I have seen a thousand times before.

Kujaja: Do you think a photographer must have ‘natural talent’ to become a great photographer?
CR: There are many things you can learn, at least how to get along with your camera. But I think there has to be a talent inside yourself to make good pictures. As you know it’s not the camera but the human behind it that makes the photograph. So I would say, yes.

Kujaja: Which photographers have influenced your thinking, photography, and career path?
CR: Of course I like the Newton, Bresson kind of images and style, but less influence works better for me. I think it is important to have a more open mind about everything.

Kujaja: Who inspires you other than photographers (artists, writers, music, architects, and philosophers)?
CR: All art inspires me. I listen to all styles of music. It could be Heavy Metal one day and a slow, cheesy romantic song the next. It all depends on the situation. But what inspires me the most is how humans act, what they talk about, how they think, and what is important in life. It’s just amazing.

Kujaja: How do you choose the places where you shoot?
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A Place in the Sun

Ray Bilcliff

Both a retired professional karate instructor and PADI Scuba Diving Instructor, Ray Bilcliff now devotes himself to nature photography. A favorite location is near his home on the North East coast of England. The leap from karate international Grandmaster to nature photographer might seem huge, but consider Gichin Funakoshi’s words, “The ultimate aim of marital arts lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants”. If Bilcliff’s photography is an illustration of that principle, he has reached the summit. His work is breathtaking. His use of light, unparalleled.

I started photography in the year 2000 when I was working as a scuba diving instructor in the Cayman Islands. I started with a small camera by Sony, a DSC-1 and 3mp. It was their very first camera. I wanted it to take pictures just casually on a day to day basis, but I soon got hooked. When I looked at the pictures I was taking I could always see a way to make them better but I had to learn more about photography to do this. I watched every YouTube video on all aspects of photography. As Sony got more into the camera market they introduced better cameras so I upgraded as much as I could afford to. We all know that a good photographer makes the picture, and the camera takes the picture. But a better quality camera will always take better quality pictures. I think the greatest help I had when learning was through the YouTube videos, and then shooting everything I could see, then doing it every day." Ray Bilcliff

Kujaja: What were the difficulties you encountered when you began your photography journey?
RB: Getting from 'A' to 'M' on the camera dial, and understanding what the journey was all about. But the toughest part of photography is understanding light and exposure. That journey will never end.

Kujaja: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
RB: First is patience. Second is imagination. And third is going out when the weather is bad.

Kujaja: How do you deal with unsuitable weather conditions?
RB: Check with the local weather forecast and be on location when the weather is about to break. This is when the light is at its best. And it is ALL about the light. But in stormy weather one must take care of oneself and equipment. Get out in the golden hours and do it every day.

Kujaja: Which photographers have influenced your thinking, photography, and career path?
RB: No single person comes to mind but I look at lots of photographers work and when I see a great work I will really try hard to figure out what makes it so great.

Kujaja: Can you identify a unifying theme or recurring thread running throughout your photography?
RB: Exposure and light is what my work is all about.

Kujaja: How do you choose the places where you shoot?
RB: When I see an image that catches my eye it will probably be from a place I want to go to. There are some places that just have to be visited at least once in your life.

Kujaja: When you are out shooting, how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
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Search, Define, Reframe

Frank Kemmerer

Frank Kemmerer's work is a collection of breathtaking architecture, towering geometry, vintage vehicles, analog equivalents, fabulous flora, and masterful macros, stitched together with a smile and an undeniable affection for life. In Frank’s words, “My personal photographic manifest will never be finished, I am still on my way”. In his search to reframe and redefine photography… to switch it up, to reorder the status quo, Kemmerer continues to dazzles his viewers with each and every one of his unforgettable frames.

For me, photography is a unique form of expression in my daily life. My pseudonym for my photographic works since 2012 is LIVE IMPRESSION. My personnel photographic manifest will never be finished, I am still on my way. Photography is not only witness of the now, it also helps us in learning to see, to reframe, to question the status quo, to switch the position, and to understand the conception. Photography accompanies us on our way and challenges us to involve and to fulfil one’s self and give an impulse to the community. Photography is a daily search, the freedom to reframe, the challenge to create, the ability to document, the power to define the hero, to focus on the detail, to color the scene, to bring light in the dark. Photography is the language of the world and needs no words to express. The internet gives us the technique to share, the ability to comment, to meet the smallest and largest places and things, the cultures and styles. It’s a gift to enjoy. It is a school of seeing. It is a reminiscence of the past. It makes us responsibility for the future by using our senses, by using our brain. So let’s continue writing the photographic story together." Frank Kemmerer

Kujaja: What type of photography do you enjoy most and why?
FK: I love monochrome work and the Polaroid and classic film tones. Monochrome places more emphasis on the composition and the lines in the capture. With the Polaroid tones and some classic film simulations, it’s possible to create a captivating mute shot.

Kujaja: How did you get involved with the type of photography you’re doing now?
FK: The starting point was a business trip to Hong Kong in 2012. Equipped with a small point and shoot Nikon, I decided to invest in a DSLR and some lenses. The workflow, then, was based on a camera, my iPad and the internet. Today I mainly focused on architecture, street, and some personal work with my family and friends.

Kujaja: Do you have a unifying theme throughout your photography?
FK: Many of my captures are defined by a special point of view. I love to integrate architecture directly with the sky using the lines of the building façade, using this to compose a captivating light, shadow and line constellation.

Kujaja: How do you choose the places you photograph?
FK: Most of the time the camera is my daily companion. Thus, the places are generally random. The randomness challenges me to find interesting compositions everywhere.

Kujaja: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
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