20 Questions for Haik Kocharian
This week we are featuring Haik Kocharian, a photographer who came to Dot Editionsfor exhibition printing for his project with African Services' Positive Kids 3. The exhibition was a benefit event for African Services, a grassroots organization that provides HIV services in Ethiopia. To read more about his experience with this project, go here. The images included below are from his project, Part of the Past.
What is your earliest memory of making art? I was born into an artistic family, both my parents were professional theater actors, my father was also a painter so I guess art or experience of art has been with me since day one.
What is your first experience with photography? A friend of mine gave me an old 35mm photo-camera and said "do you want this, I found it in my garage?" I was 17 years old, the rest is history.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned about your art practice? That art must serve a larger purpose of inspiring others and improving the lives of those in need of help.
From whom did you learn it? No one really, just started walking around New York and shooting everything and with time I stared to develop my own sense of style.
How did you learn photography? I studied photography in Brooklyn College.
How did your career start? I accidentally met a art dealer and showed him my portfolio, he liked it and offered to do a solo show at his gallery, just like that.
What were your difficulties starting out as a photographer? Developing a voice, a style, a signature, something that can be recognized as my own. That takes a lot of effort and time. Nothing in art happens over night.
How did you develop your style? Shooting a lot, everything, people, objects, building, streets, landscapes, everything, and slowly developing a sense of what works.
What artist do you most identify with? My early influences include Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Frank
What is the most important idea in your art? Touching people's hearts.
What qualities do you think makes a good artist? Love and devotion towards their work
Do you take photographs every day? I think about the project everyday, preparing in my mind all the logistics, both creative and technical, then I start shooting which can take somewhere between 1-6 month or longer.
Do you ever find yourself in a creative block? If so, how do you get out of it? No, I've never experienced creative block.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? My inner drive, my internal conflict, my sense of the world around me.
What turns you off? Fear, laziness, dependence.
What is your biggest shortcoming as an artist? I don't have time to think of that, too much to do and learn.
How has your work changed due to the photography industry's evolution? It made it easier, I love computers as much as I love darkroom.
What has been your most difficult learning curve as an artist? Developing the inner strength to succeed.
What advice do you have for emerging artists? Just create, and have fun with it, the rest will come.
What have you been working on recently? Currently I have completed my next exhibition proposal titled "Release" which was photographed in India and revolves around the subject of cremation.