Mag das Image der USA auch noch so angekratzt sein, sein krisenfester visueller Charme scheint den Mythos in Dino Kužniks Arbeiten stets hochzuhalten. Wir sprachen mit dem gebürtigen Slowenen und jetzt in New York lebenden Fotografen und Grafikdesigner darüber, wie man desolate Landstriche fotografisch in malerische Orte seiner persönlichen künstlerischen Sehnsucht verwandelt.
Another Era from series Shaped By The West, California 2018
Chapter How did your personal artistic style develop and what’s your background?
Dino Kužnik I think it was time, a lot of practice and me working as a graphic designer, that helped me develop my style. When I started photography, I was all over the place, doing street photography, journalism, retouching, studio work, et cetera. But all of that helped me to get experience and, in turn, I got more particular in what I was capturing and my work more refined over time. I usually went with my gut feeling, so I think I can say that my style just organically developed over time.
Chapter Certain artists, being on the road or your everyday life — what shapes your visual perception day-to-day?
Dino Kužnik I visually consume a lot of things, not to mention that we are all bombarded by imagery on social media on a daily basis. I love compelling visual series of photographs, but I am always on the lookout for interesting artists — not only in photography, but also in graphic design, illustration, film, music and so on. Also, the fact that I have a long history of working in graphic design, I would definitely say that it is something that shaped my perception and it still does.
Wigwam Motel from series Arizona Pastels, Arizona 2016
Chapter Your images often show stylized desolate landscapes, abandoned places — does stylization make one an image maker rather than a photographer?
Dino Kužnik That’s an interesting question. I would first and foremost call myself an observer. When I travel to photograph, I am actually translating my feelings into my captures and because of this feeling of freedom, positivity and joy I experience when I do what I love, you see my captures as strong compositions with a color palette that is positive and compelling. What I document is my observation of the subject that you are seeing. I never really thought about it as a stylized image, but you can definitely call it so. I don’t think labels are necessary though.
Chapter How does shooting on film effect your photography/image making?
Dino Kužnik It deeply affects the process of my photography. I shoot both digitally and on film, but I only reserve film for the shots I really like, or I think are worth it. Shooting on film makes me more precise and more aware of the things I am photographing. It really does slow you down and makes you more observant. I think that film shaped my style to a large part, which I then translated into my digital shots too. I experimented with different exposures and found one that perfectly complements my compositions.
Road Ends from series Shaped By The West, California 2018
Motor Motel from series Motel Stories, Caifornia 2015
Untitled from series Shaped By The West, Utah 2018
Bluewater Motel from series Shaped By The West, New Mexico 2018
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