Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Pari Dukovic Interview

23.02.2015
Vol. 5

Pari Dukovic was born in Istanbul and is of Greek descent. He was introduced to photography by his father, who gave him his first camera. Pari came to the United States to study photography at Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating, he moved to New York City and developed several bodies of work.

Currently, Pari is the staff photographer at The New Yorker. His work has been exhibited at Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, and his first solo show was at Giacobetti Paul Gallery in New York. In 2013, Pari was listed as one of the photographers to watch in The British Journal of Photography and as one of the most influential young creatives in New York City by Refinery 29. Pari was also part of the PDN 30 photographers list in 2011. Pari's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Zeit Magazine, GQ, Le Monde M Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Wired, Rolling Stone, Time, and Esquire. His studio is in New York City. One of your interview’s you have mentioned in the early age you influenced form Ara Güler’s one of the books. Do you think he is still an influence for you? Is there any photographer that you find closer to you and follow? How much do they effect you? Ara Guler was one of the first photographers that I was exposed to. I was born and raised in Istanbul and he is certainly somebody who made his own mark in photography and everybody is very familiar with his body of work. I think there is a difference between being influenced and informed when it comes to doing your own art. Having your own style means having your unique response to a subject matter. I am constantly looking at art and that is not just photography; it is sculpture, painting, music and performances. All art forms borrow something from one and other. Photography is an art form that has the ability to capture a moment and create an instantaneous sketch of that situation visually. It is a very powerful tool. I am now mainly looking at painters such as Francis Bacon. I am truly fascinated by his work. We know that you are still making Analog photography. We are wondering in printing process do you have any digital help? Can you talk about the process? Today, almost every single image that we see in magazine, online or in gallery it has gone through a level of digital manipulation. I use technology to help me achieve what I would have done in the darkroom but with extended control with the help of digital technology after the negative has been digitized. I think what is essential here is that printing is also another stage of producing art that could enhance what somebody is trying to achieve visually. Usually for selecting photographs they say it is better to make a selection with others. Even we are hearing some artists are working together with their companion. After making your photographies are you getting any help? Someone who knows your work and what you respond to can definitely help you with a selection process of a big body of work. However, I prefer to do the first cut myself as there is a certain feel I am going for in my work and want to edit the work as a selection of images that translate my vision at its best. I work with photo editors very closely such as at TheNewYorker and they help me edit my work in many ways. For example, the director of photography at The New Yorker, Whitney Johnson has been a great supporter and mentor since she has helped me develop my photography in different ways.
A Photographer have been asked once: Why are you taking your pictures this much contrast? He replies: Because Life is too much contrast. Is there any meaning of the contrast which even sometimes becomes a graphical effects in your pictures. For me, it’s no different than chiaroscuro. The painter Caravaggio is the master of this. In my pictures contrast is vivid and present because I choose subject matter and shoot in situations where I see that visual rhythm. Contrast or tonal depth could also bring a certain kind of energy to a photograph. For me every single element of a photograph has to do with emotion and that could be something about the tonality, the color, darkness and lightness. “Kiss Kiss, Shoot, Shoot” and “Burlesque” series reminds us Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills” and Nan Goldin’s work. In your other series for documantary photography. In your other series we see other dimensions, more colors, details and nudity. What is your inspirations for these Works? Burlesque was my very first attempt in color photography. I started shooting color about 3 years ago and felt passionate about what I was getting. I was looking for an element in color work that could bring a similar excitement like in my bw work. First I had to find a subject matter that screamed color to me. One night a friend of mine took me a to a burlesque show. The theatrical aspect of the show, the beauty of the make up and clothes strike my attention. Next time I went, I grabbed my camera and took pictures. I was thrilled with what I was seeing because it was a world where there were such beautiful and poetic colors. We know that you are making photos in Fashion Shows. Can you compare documentary photography with fashion photography? To me it is all the same. At the end of day I want to do a good photograph that I respond to. I never saw fashion as a different kind of photography. It’s a platform where there is so much beauty and fantasy. Can you talk about “Punk Chaos” Project? It was originally a collaboration with The New Yorker that was published as a multipage portfolio in the magazine. The Metropolitan Museum had planned a show on the history of punk culture and clothing in fashion. When I was brainstorming ideas in relation to the exhibition at The MET to present to The New Yorker I wanted to work on a punk story that was totally independent from the fashion element of the punk culture. After researching worldwide many punk communities and with the help of Human Rights Watch, I narrowed it down to a few punk communities based in Burma and Indonesia that had a real cause that they were fighting for. Punk communities in developing countries had the most integrity as a group since they had a significant cause they believed in that they wanted to fight for.I spent two weeks traveling in Yangon, Jakarta and Banda Aceh meeting and documenting key members of several punk communities. Susan Sontag wrote in her book “Regarding the pain of others” : The art of Photograph, is the one big art which doesn’t give any priviliege to the ones who spends years to have Professional education and experience, when you compare with not educated and and unexperienced ones. What do you think about that? I think education is very important. It has to do with having a well rounded foundation. In photography first you need talent for people to notice your work. However, if you are talented it is experience and a driven personality that could build on that foundation. Education could simply be a platform/opportunity to practice and gain experience to refine your craft. Especially, if somebody wants to pursue a career as a professional photographer the ability to execute and deliver on the spot is something that only comes with experience. I think we are constantly educating ourselves throughout many experiences in our life. As a Final question is there any suggestions you can give to the people who is interested about photography and want to get the education. Photography is a life long commitment and exchange. It is key to focus on projects that you are truly passionate about only then the work will have a different view because it would be your take and emotion part of that visual story.
Vol. 5
Eda Kabasakal Interview Sabiha Tansuğ Interview