Q: Dear Assaf, first of all we want to congratulate one more time for achieving incredible success on B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2016! You won the 1st place in the Conceptual and Photo Manipulation Category and 2nd Place in The Fine Art Category! Your work was well noticed on this competition. Did you expect this?
A: Thanks, I was really honored and thrilled, and no, I have to say that I didn’t see it coming.
Q: W are so happy to have you here and find out more about you and your work. Can you tell us more about you? How old are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
A: I am 32 years old, born in Israel, living and working in Paris for the past 8 years.
Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph “L’Enfant Terrible”? What’s the story behind this photograph?
A: the picture is a part of a series called “Modern fairy tales” that feature different scenes from modern realty, a mix of personnelexperience and observation.
L’Enfant terrible is my favorite picture from the series (and one of my favorite pictures on general) as I think that I find my childhood in this picture, a bit naive, a bit disappointed, at the corner misunderstood.
Q: Your work is quite diverse, from fashion photography to still life. What do you like to photograph the most?
A: The things I like to photograph the most are emotions, and especially the darker spectrum of them, the subjects can be divers but I am always looking after the same row emotions. In the past few years I am focusing my work on portraits, I am searching after the “micro expressions” of a person, a small story in the eyes or lips that give deepness to a portrait.
Q: What kind of music do you enjoy the most?
A: I am a huge music fan, and I am trying to explore new genres all the time. On my playlist you can find a diversity of jazz from Israel, psychedelic folk from Iceland, Brazilian Bossa Nova and 60s-70s funk. But I have one record that I am putting on almost every time when I shoot, Ardour by Teebs, I find that the emotional ambience of this record is exactly what I am looking for when I work.
Q: Do you like to travel? What’s your favorite place?
A: I love traveling, When I was younger I have spent half year in Africa and one year in Asia, it was my love for traveling that had lead me at the end to Paris and that opened my mind and inspired me at the beginning of my career. I can’t say that I have a specific favorite place as what I love the most is the sensation of being away.
Q: Who are some photographers that you admire?
Q: What inspires you?
A: I am inspired a lot by literature and cinema, but what is inspiring and intriguing my the most are stories of people I don’t know, I just love walking and watching the small mimics of people around and imagining there life.
Q: Where did you learn photography? Do you have a formal education in photography?
A: I have started my way in photography when I was 14 years old with a film camera, so without any formal guidance, at that time I did mostly photo journalism and I could spend hours in a place waiting for the right person or light to get in to my frame, with time I understood that I would be able to express myself better if I would just create my scenes, and so I have done a bachelor degree in photography here in Paris to master better creating and lighting a seance.
Q: What equipment do you use?
A: I am shooting with canon 5D mark 2 and all must all of my lightning is done with Hensel studio strobes.
Q: What’s your favorite lens?
A: the 24-70 2.8 from Canon, it was my first professional lens and till today it is still the lens I use the most.
Q: What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Can you explain your work flow?
A: I am using Bridge for the editing part (that sometime is the most complicated) and then I am doing all the work on Photoshop. I almost never look at the pictures on the same day of the shooting as I believe that it is really important to take same distance and get detached from the emotions that came up during the shooting. Then I am spending a lot of time looking at the image and trying to analyze what will make it better and what is just unnecessary.
Q: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
A: usually I am really hard on myself, and almost all the time once a shooting is over I am asking myself if I really went till the end with my abilities and idea.
Q: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
A:I wish that I have had more knowledge about artificial lights.
Q: Do you sell fine art prints?
A: Yes, I am selling numbered signed prints in exhibitions and directly to art collectors.
Q: You do a lot of photography exhibitions. What do they mean to you? How did you enter this market? Do you have any advice for photographer how to be more present in galleries?
A: Exhibiting once work is one of the most rewarding and difficult moment for me at the same time, it is then when your soul is exposed to the big public, for their appreciation and criticism. I am fascinated by the way that my work can (or cannot) make others feel. And it’s always interesting to discover people opinion and interpretation regarding your work.
I have entered this market pretty match by chance. Once I showed some prints to some friends in a café in Paris when a friend of a friend passed by and offered me to do an exhibition, and since then it just kept rolling.
The biggest advice I can give to a photographer who is interested in fine art is to be unique and to find his proper visual signature. Fine art photography is becoming more and more present in galleries and there is a place for all styles and formats, and in now days when we are overflowed with images people are looking for a unique and honest voice.
Q: How do you know you made a good photograph? Do you ever get any inner sensation and simply know “This is it”?
A: Yes, but it is rare, usually It takes me a few days to appreciate my own work.
Q: In your opinion, why is so important for photographers to enter quality photography competitions?
A: When you are working in the creative field, you are nurtured from the people around you, there’s nothing more important than having your work out there for the eyes of others, a quality photo competition can do exactly that.
Q: What do you think about entries and in The Second Half of B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half that you took part in it?
A: I found that the quality of the images is extremely high, and I am more than honored that two of my pictures are shown side by side with such a remarkable selection.
Q: Your favorite photography quote?
A: “Photography is a kind of virtual reality, and it helps if you can create the illusion of being in an interesting world.” Steven Pinker
Q: What would be your message to other photographers?
A: Search for your unique voice, do it emotionally,not intellectually.