At his young age Jost Franko has already been awarded “Best Reportage” at the Slovenian Press Photo competition in 2010. Gomma got in touch with this promising photographer to find out a bit more about his crafts and beliefs.
Luca Desienna: Hi Jost, what’s photography for you and how did you get into photography ?
Jost Franko: Its the way of life for me. It always surrounds me, everywhere that I go… When I’m photographing I get completly devoted to it and I personally believe if you are doing something with such passion and enthusiasm, that becomes your personal understanding of freedom.
It all started when I was 14 as a need of expressing myself and it rapidly became the primary thing I was focused on in my life.
At your young age what are you looking for in your shots?
Emotions. (with the visual/photographic asthetics aside)
All of your images are black and white. Why?
Probably because of the motives I shoot. It gives them the timeless feeling and forces to focus on the motive itself, I guess.
Some of your shots are really beautiful because they seem stylistically mature and infused with youth at the same time, how can you juggle between these two? Are you aware of this ambivalence ? Is there behind a structure, an awareness or you just flow with your camera through the moments?
I don’t know, I was alyways hanging out with older people. I connected easier with them. It might be the same with my photography. I never actually thought of that.
I never wanted to photograph the way that I photograph, that just (subconsciously) came a long.
How would you define your style?
Classical. Not just for the fact that I shoot film. I don’t use any extreme wide angles, no fast cameras… I’m aware that it will (soon) be necessary to start using digital equipment but I will try to force myself to keep the analog work flow.
Are you influenced by any other photographers?
With the 20th century geniouses aside;
Larry Towell’s book The Mennonites-Very simple and classical images-, James Nachtwey- War Photographer; his Inferno book- and Magnum Photos generally were a big inspiration to me.
What did it mean for you winning the Slovenia Press Photo reportage of the year when you were 16?
That was a big shocker for me :)
It more or less opened the world of photography. I meet a lot of people that I otherwise wouldn’t, it also led having my work exhibited at New York Photo Festival etc.
If you had the opportunity what or who would you like to photograph?
I want to cover conflict areas, doing long term projects on social problematics… pretty much a wide spectrum of stuff. I want to feel open for anykinds of documentary projects.
What’s your approach with the current "digitalization" of photography?
I’m not too fond of “digitalization” because the standards in photography lowered too much as a result of it. I think that people generally don’t seek for quality anymore and that doesn’t concern only photography. Photojournalism is changing and I feel unfortunate to not be a part of its glamour (/its “golden era”)
What are the major problems for a photographer at your age trying to entering the photography world?
Your age and lack of experience in the field.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently focused on the Shepherds story; a long term project which I started doing last year.
I’m doing a lot of researching at this point for my next story.
Where do you live at the moment? Do you feel inspired by the place you live or you’d like to move somewhere else? And if so where?
I live in Slovenia. My mentor always told me to seek for stories in my hometown. I (now) agree (and understand) that. interesting things are always surrounding us, it’s just harder for one to notice them if they are in his/her hometown/country.
I’m planning to go to college abroad and my personal vision is working for foreign media/agency so that would probably mean moving/travelling a lot.
At 18 do you believe it will be possible to live by taking photos?
I try that not to affect me. There are always ways if you are fully committed to something…
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