France Street Photography with Karak Apok

France Street Photography

An Interview with Karak Apok

We welcome you to an interview with Karak Apok about his France Street Photography. After discovering some of his work we invited him to share with us some of his favourite photographs as well as interview him a little bit. English is not Karak’s first language, thus you will notice his French answers with a translation into English, by him. Little has been adjusted as we feel you can sense his true meaning without our interference.

Welcome Karak, thanks for agreeing to speak with us today! To start with could you introduce yourself and your photography for us please?

(Je vis dans le sud de la France et j’ai une cinquantaine d’années, je pratique exclusivement la photo de rue. J’ai toujours aimé prendre des photos mais je ne m’y suis vraiment mis qu’avec l’avènement du numérique.
En revanche, et vu mon age, mon “oeil photographique” est imprégné par les “vieux photographes Français”, les Doineau, Cartier-Bresson et Brassaï biens sur mais aussi Edouard Boubat et Willy Ronis dont je peux m’approprier le credo : “Observer,Ressentir, Recevoir”. Dans cette optique et plus près de nous, Koudelka, Elliott Erwitt et Garry Winogrand me touchent beaucoup. L’esthétique des films “noirs” américain de l’entre-deux guerres a aussi énormément nourrie ma jeunesse.)

“I live in the south of France and I have fifty years, I practice exclusively street photography. I always liked taking pictures but I started over with the advent of digital. However, and considering my age, my “photographic eye” is permeated by the “old French photographers”, the Doineau, Cartier-Bresson and Brassaï of course but also Edouard Boubat and Willy Ronis I can appropriate the credo: “Observe, Feel, Receive”. In this context and closer to us, Koudelka, Elliott Erwitt and Garry Winogrand affect me much. American Film noir’s aesthetic between two wars also greatly nourished my youth.”

We’ve noticed you through some of the street photography that you’ve posted up in the last little while. What is it about street photography that you enjoy?

(J’ai toujours aimé me balader le nez en l’air, tous les sens en éveil et capter là, une bribe de conversation, un regard, ici un geste furtif, une gueule, une émotion, une scène qui me permette de construire une histoire ou de reconstruire une réalité . La photo de rue s’impose alors d’ellle même et c’est ce que j’essaie de proposer, de petites portes entr’ouvertes sur l’imaginaire ou chacun peut projeter son propre récit ou sa propre histoire.)

“I always loved to stroll the nose in the air, all senses awake and catch there, a conversation snatch, a look, a furtive gesture here, a face, an emotion, a scene that allow me to build a history or rebuild a reality. Street photography then imposes itself and that is what I try to propose small doors ajar on the imaginary where everyone can project his own account or his own story.”

At Talk Photography we’re keenly interested in the stories behind the photographs! There’s a lot of work that is involved in getting the right photograph. Could you tell us about the work that is behind capturing nice photographs?

(Je photographie l’instant…à l’instinct ! Je pratique une photo ou la technique joue un role secondaire. Je suis surtout un promeneur attentif et comme je le disais plus haut je m’applique “le credo de Willy”: Observer, Ressentir, Recevoir.
Dans ces conditions, il est etonnant de voir tout ce que les gens peuvent vous offrir !!

J’essaie ensuite de faire un tri drastique des photographies “exploitables” car il y a vous vous en doutez beaucoup de déchet.

Viens ensuite l’épreuve du feu, le post-traitement! Il s’effectue alors une deuxieme sélèction car j’aime les N&B assez bruts, très denses et…toutes les photos ne le supportent pas!)

“Photograph the moment… on instinct! I practice a photo where technique plays a secondary role. I am especially careful walker and as I said before I apply my “credo Willy” Observing, Feel, Receive.
In these conditions, it is amazing to see what people can offer you !!

“Then I try to make a drastic sorting photographs “workable” because there is, you can imagine, a lot of waste.
After comes the test of fire, post-processing! I make a second selection because I like pretty gross black and white, very dense and … all the pictures do not support!”

Could you share with us your favourite photograph that you’ve taken and tell us about the back story?

(Hahaha !! Il y en à beaucoup et cela rique d’être long ! Mais je peux essayer pour deux ou trois.)

“Hahaha !! There are many and it may be long! But I can try for two or three.”

1) La nostalgie des roulottes/ Caravan nostalgia

(Nous sommes en début d’après-midi et je marche dans les rues désertes d’une petite ville du sud de la France. C’est le printemps.
Au détours d’une ruelle, a quelques pas, j’aperçois ce groupe de garçons étranges émergeant d’un autre siècle, d’une autre épopée ! Je m’aproche doucement sous le regard complice “du chapeau” et prend ce cliché quasiment au contact. Le garçon au chapeau allait à une fête costumé dans son lycée, le garçon du premier plan est un Gitan qui travaille aux champs, mon prénom “karak” viens de “Karaki” qui veux dire cigale en Tsigane…Vous croyez au hasard ??!!)

“We are in the early afternoon and I walk through the deserted streets of a small town in southern France. It’s spring.
The detours of an alley, a few steps, I see this group of strange boys emerging from another century, another epic! I aproach gently under the knowing eye “hat” and took this picture almost on contact. The boy with the hat was going to a fancy dress party in his school, the boy in the foreground is a Gypsy who works in the fields, my name “karak” just “Karaki” which mean cicada in Gypsy … Do you believe in coincidence? ? !!”

2) La femme laser/ The laser wife

(J’aime beaucoup la beautée en clair-oscur de cette femme et son attitude ambigüe ou le mépris le dispute au demi-sourire!)

“I love beauty in clear-oscur of this woman and her ambiguous attitude where disregard and mid smile are mixed.”

3) Le phantasme du prisonnier/ The fantasy of prisoner

(Prison désaffectée d’Avignon, elle est fermée depuis dix ans et lors d’une performance d’artistes plasticiens elle est ouverte au plublic. Elle est restée en l’état depuis sa fermeture, c’est à dire que l’odeur, puissante, est toujours la . Les crachats sur les murs délabrés ou pire aussi…Les garffitis, les noms…Ca pue la souffrance et la mort.
Soudain, déboulant d’une minuscule cour de “promenade” comme d’un puis de lumière apparait cette “beautée Vénitienne” toute en ombre et en transparence…

C’était tellement anachronique en ces lieux !! Je les ai comme entendu, tous ces hommes enfermés ici pendant plusieurs générations, dans un immence cri de désespoir faire un éloge à la beautée…)

“Prison’s Avignon disused, it is closed for ten years and during a performance of visual artists is open to the public. She remained in the state since its closure, ie the smell, powerful, is still there. Sputums on the dilapidated walls … or worse as the graffitis, the names … It stinks of suffering and death.
Suddenly, tumbling from a tiny exercise yard like a skylight appears that “Venetian beauty” all in shadow and transparency…
It was so anachronistic in these places !! I’ve heard all these men locked up here for several generations in a immence cry of despair to a eulogy to beauty…”

Are there any specific projects that you’re currently working on? Could you give us a sneak preview?

(J’ai travaillé recemment pour le festival photo “Les Azimutés d’Uzes” un diaporama de mes photos et de bref textes racontant ma “jounée idéale” de photographe de rue sous la forme d’un modeste “court-métrage” muet accompagné en direct par le vibraphoniste Matias Canobra, vibraphoniste de la formation “ Pierre Moerlen’s Gong.

J’espère reitérer ce type d’expérience melant photos, musique et textes pour raconter d’autres histoires ou même pourquoi pas, en improvisant à partir d’une banque de mes images les photos projettées créant un dialogue entre le ou les musiciens et les images à l’instar d’un orchestre de jazz! Tout est possible…même si c’est difficile!)

“I recently worked for the photography festival “Les Azimutés d’Uzès” a slideshow of my photos and brief texts telling my “ideal day” street photographer as a modest “short film” silent accompanied live by vibraphonist Matias Canobra, vibraphonist training “Pierre Moerlen’s Gong.

I hope to repeat this kind of experience mixing photos, music and texts to tell other stories or even why not, improvising from a bank of my images the pictures projected creating a dialogue between the musicians and images like a jazz band. Everything is possible… even if it is difficult.”

Thank you for joining us today, we look forward to seeing your upcoming photographs/ projects!

About Karak:

Be sure to check out more from Karak in the future. You can check out more of Karak’s photographs on his website. (It is in French.) You can also hit him up on Facebook.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog to learn and be inspired from your fellow photographers, the next generation of photographers, here with us at Talk Photography. Leave Karak Apok your thoughts and questions about his photography or about him down below in the comment section.

Contact us about your photography and projects any time.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Leave a Reply