Moises Levy in conversation with Rohit Vohra

in APF Interview/Best of street photography/photography/Street Photography by

Moises is an established architect who lives in Mexico City and loves all graphic related works. He has been producing Fine Art Works since 1990. His true passion is capturing human condition. We met up with him recently and this is what he had to share.

RV : Hi Moises, good to have you with us today. Could you tell us a little about yourself, your photography and your journey so far?

Moises : Hello I’m a deeply passionate man with a profound interest for images, space and light. I work as an architect and photographer in Mexico City, I try to mix both works with balance as one leads me to the other. My first steps into architecture and photography were when I was 14 or 15 years old, almost 40 years back, since then I live and understand my life through my eyes.

RV : You are an established architect living in Mexico, please tell us what motivated you to hit the streets for the first time?

Moises : Looking back I can say that my first images were at the streets, mainly traveling, but I couldn’t find very well how to approach street photography. I felt lost in a universe of possibilities and then I started exploring other genres as landscapes and architecture until I felt I should grow as an artist and express more emotions from life and the human being and that’s how the street become my main work space.

RV : You call yourself a Fine Art photographer and it seems you enjoy all genres. If you had to pick one out of still life, landscape, street and architecture photography what would that be and why?

Moises : For now I’m only shooting streets, I’m living a period where landscape doesn’t excite me too much. I’m searching for clever moments with coincidences, magic, and a story to tell, and this only happens on the street. On my landscape photography man was nowhere to be seen, now, the human being is always the main subject on my images.

RV : Who are some of your favorite photographers when it comes to street?

Moises : I’ve always enjoyed the work of Elliot Erwitt, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Herbert List, Ferdinando Scianna Capizzi, Josef Koudelka, Abbas, Attar, Ho Fan, Raghu Rai, Mario Giacomelli, Vivian Maier, and my friend Stanko Abadzic.

RV : Please tell us about your selection process, what are the things you primarily look for in a photograph when you are making a selection?

Moises : For me, photography is an extraction from reality, and when it’s captured it has its own life, it becomes independent. I always look for it to be visually attractive, balanced, with a story to tell and that it creates an emotion on the viewer.

RV : Since you practice many genres, would you say your genre has an influence on your choice of camera or do you use the same camera for all genres?

Moises : Shooting landscapes and architecture is very different from street photography. Time runs on a very different speed. Setting up the gear for landscape photography can take up to 10 minutes and just one long exposure photography takes from 3 to 5 minutes. Besides, I use medium format cameras, a tripod, filters and lots of accessories that can weight up to 20 Kg. when I shoot the streets I use only one camera and one lens.

RV : What are your thoughts on color vs. black and white? Will we ever see works from you in color?

Moises : Of course you will. For me B&W is a more powerful and conceptual tool when you are working with visually clean shapes. Color helps an image when it isn’t strong enough, because when the image is pure you don’t need any color. Though recently I’ve captured some images where I can’t seem to convert into B&W because part of the message is in the colors.

RV : As a photographer, what’s the most memorable place that you have shot in?

Moises : I’ve been in amazing places photographing landscapes and architecture. Some of them are Mexico, Iceland, China, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, England, USA, Belize, Cuba and in all of them I have stories of the places but not of the people and that led me to street photography. I was recently in Cuba and photographing its’ people has been a memorable experience. Everyone has a story to tell.

RV : Silhouettes play an important role in your works, is it a conscious decision or just a limitation of place and time?

Moises : That’s a question that I asked myself recently. Since I was photographing landscape and architecture, silhouettes were an important part of my images and when I went back to street photography I realized that the high contrast images were the most powerful for me, and they also leave something to the viewers’ imagination. It is also something that I acquire by seeing the work of Mario Giacomelli, his work inspired me into B&W and high contrast images. It gets me closer to the drawing that as an architect is part of my vocabulary.

RV : What do you hope to achieve with regards to your photography?

Moises : I’d like to keep building my style as a photographer. I believe that when someone is young they work and work without questioning much. When you grow up you realize that you need a visual vocabulary so you can explore and tell your story.

RV : Lastly, for someone starting out in the field of photography and wants to try his hands on various genres, what would your advice be?

Moises: My advice would be to start on street photography, even when it’s the most difficult of all genres. There, they will learn all the basic concepts of photography, such as knowing the space, depth, light, speed, and emotions. When they master all of these everything else will be easy and enjoyable. Lastly, Never stop looking for all kind of art.

You can follow Moises Levy on his Instagram HERE

In conversation with Rohit Vohra/ APF

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