Interview with street photographer George Stastny

I always found reflections to be very captivating, almost like peering into another reality.

George Stastny is a talented black and white photographer. He studied other classic street photographers and he’s based in Edmonton, Canada. His work will be featured during RAW Artists Canada PREMIERE showcase on March 5th in Edmonton. Showcase information can be found here – https://rawartists.com/edmonton/premiere

Who are your favorite black & white street photographers? Why?
I have studied the works of Brassai, Weegee (Arthur Fellig), Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Garry Winogrand, and Vivian Meyer to name just a few. The list of my influences and inspirations goes on and on, but I would say the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson (HCB) was, and still is, what inspires me the most and I try to emulate it as much as possible in my photographs. He took documenting daily life and made it in to a true art form. Each frame he presented told an interesting story that was not just pleasing to the eye, but really drew the viewer in. His use of light and shadow, frames, layers, leading lines, mimicry, and the like were, for the most part, well thought out and it showed through with his unique vision. HCB was an observer, he did his best not to interfere or get a reaction from his subjects. He wanted to capture ephemeral and spontaneous moments that best represent the scene he was observing, to capture what he called “the decisive moment”.

What do you look for while composing your shot?
I look for lines, geometric shapes, frames, humorous juxtapositions, and reflections of all kinds. But of course these would not matter without good light to work with. I usually find an interesting location that has some of the previously stated criteria, then I frame the shot and wait for the right someone to complete the scene. It can be very hit or miss. I have had days where I would be at a location for hours and still not capture what I had envisioned, I also have had days where I get the shot on the first try, but even then I still stick around to take a few more photographs, just to be sure I got the moment I was after.


What is the role of reflections in your work?
I always found reflections to be very captivating, almost like peering into another reality. They can make a relatively normal looking scene more abstract, and give it more of an artistic flair which draws the viewers in. By adding a reflection to a photograph, you are expanding on what makes the scene interesting in the first place. And depending on what is in the reflection, it can give you more lines, shapes, and other compositional tools to work with.


What do you have planned for the RAW Artists Edmonton showcase on Thursday March 5th at Union Hall?
I will be displaying a small selection of my street photography, mainly taken here in Edmonton, in a few different sizes already framed. The photos will be printed on 100% renewable paper such as hemp, agave and bamboo, so if someone decides to take one home, they can feel good about making their place look good. I will also have a few copies of my Street Journal booklet, with inspiration and exercises for those looking to improve their photographic vision.

Artist Profile:  https://rawartists.com/georgesphoto

 

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