August 9, 2021
Photography by Joshgun Suleymanov
Interview by Melanie Meggs
Hailing from western Azerbaijan, photographer Joshgun Suleymanov has been doing street photography for about ten years. He is the author of the project THE DARKNESS INSIDE ME and exhibitions called RETRO BAKU and JOSHGUN STREET. He is a member of the Azerbaijan Photographers Union. Joshgun's work has been published in Argentine Spanish and he is currently working on new publications.
“The perfect scene for me is the one I look forward to the most and feel that moment will happen. I am inspired by a lot of things...it can be in a song or a movie sometimes it plays a role in my mood or some of my worries.”
IN CONVERSATION WITH JOSHGUN SULEYMANOV
THE PICTORIAL LIST: Joshgun please tell us what your perfect street scene is. Where do you find your inspiration?
JOSHGUN SULEYMANOV: The perfect scene for me is the one I look forward to the most and feel that moment will happen. I am inspired by a lot of things...it can be in a song or a movie sometimes it plays a role in my mood or some of my worries.
TPL: What were the difficulties you encountered when you first started out in street photography?
JS: When I first turned to this genre, I didn't have much experience. I had a large camera and the bulky bag to carry it in...it was torture! And learning to overcome angry glances from people after I took their photo.
TPL: When you take pictures, do you usually have a concept in mind of what you want to shoot, or do you let the images just "come to you", or is it both? Describe your process.
JS: I think the concept is very important...then you will always have development. Such as looking for an abstract scene on the street and then waiting for the right person to enter the scene.
TPL: Do you have any favourite artists and photographers?
JS: Artists such as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Matt Stuart, Alex Webb, Vivian Maier and Fan Ho.
TPL: What are your thoughts and feelings about shooting individually with company when out on the streets?
JS: I rather shoot alone. The reason is because I am a heavy hunter on the street and distractions can ruin a unique shot.
When I don't take photos, it's as if my heart doesn't work...my eyes can't see..my life is very ordinary.
TPL: Talk to us about your equipment you use. Do you have a favourite focal length that you use?
JS: I am very pleased with the equipment I use at the moment. I use the Fujifilm X100s camera with its fixed 23mm f2.8 lens. It's a retro looking compact camera that is almost always with me. Sometimes I also use the Canon 6D with 24mm, 70mm f2.8 lenses. Using zone focus makes my work almost comfortable.
TPL: What are some of your goals as an artists or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
JS: To have at least three exhibitions in the state big museum and a small book to print. Five years later, to find myself in a similar agency.
TPL: Can you talk to us about your series of images of found objects on the beach? What are you communicating to your viewer?
JS: I try to go to the beaches every year when there are no special conditions...and a feeling almost makes me come there sometimes toys or a toy hanging from a polluted sea takes me away...and makes me pull them...I think people need to know the value of this temporary world given and given to them. They have to give up plastic waste...they have to leave a clean world for the future.