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Interview with photographer Balázs Varga

Untitled (Pipe dream #16)

F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?

Balázs Varga: On a trip in the USA in 2007 I bought myself a camera to take tourist pictures, and I found myself shooting on the streets. Later I realized that “street photography” exists as a genre and I aimed to do something like that, between 2007 and 2014. After that I studied some art history from books and from the internet and started to work on projects.

F-Stop: The current issue of F-Stop Magazine includes images from your project “Pipe Dream,” can you tell us about this project and how it came about?

BV: It started with an experiment with black and white film, B mode and off camera flash. Later it turned out, that it means much more to me.

Pipe Dream is a visual record of a 4 years period of my life. These days were happy, but also lonely in a sense. I met a lot of people, and went to interesting places looking for something, that I didn’t even know what it was. Alcohol and drugs were also taking part in the story, which help to think less, and get closer to the subconscious . The pictures aim to get in connection with the viewers mind in the deepest sense. While making the pictures I was trying not to keep myself to a concept, just shooting from the gut. When I was editing the photos later, I tried to choose the ones which are the most timeless, and connected to the collective subconscious.

Untitled (Pipe dream #6)

F-Stop: Can you discuss your process for making these images or your creative process more generally?

BV: I usually start with a technical experiment that is exciting for me. Then I shoot for a while, and when I have a few interesting photos I try to figure out what I was after when I chose to shoot particular things. For me photography is an important tool to get in connection with my subconscious.

F-Stop: How do you choose what or who to photograph, what are you looking to capture?

BV: I’m usually not thinking, what’s more I try to think as little as possible when I’m shooting. I just shoot what interests me. I try to separate shooting from editing. When I’m in the editing process I’m thinking hard on what/why/how. Things clear out very slowly.

I’m interested in the subconscious mind and in dreams. Also I’m interested in people, culture in general, but what I’m focusing on at the moment is the nuances of Eastern European life. So I also have a subjective documentary side.

F-Stop: Do you have a favorite image in this series? If so, which one and why is it the image that speaks to you most?

BV: For me the first image from the series is very important. The one where someone is balancing on a monument. I wasn’t really present when I shot that picture, I was in a hurry, and forgot about it too. Later it turned out that there was magic present.

Untitled (Pipe dream #1)

F-Stop: Are you working on any other projects currently?

BV: I’m usually working on few projects at the same time, some fall out, some get completed. For me a project on takes about 3-4 years. Now I’m mainly working on a series of self portraits with color flash gels.

F-Stop: What photographers or other artists inspire you?

BV: I really like the postwar Japanese photography especially the Provoke artists. I like Anders Petersen, Martin Parr, Chris Steele Perkins, just to name a few. Surrealist and abstract expressionist paintings have a huge impact on my art as well.


To see more of Balázs Varga’s work, visit his website at www.nebulonphotography.net or check out the Portfolio 2020 issue of F-Stop!

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