RK : Please Say something about you.
Moises : Hello I’m Moises Levy I live and work in Mexico as an Architect and photographer, all my life I’ve been surrounded by images I live through my eyes, I think visually.
RK : What are your favorite genres of Photography?
Moises : I have been landscape photographer for many years, but suddenly I felt the need to photograph human life, that’s how I become a full time street photographer.
RK : Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become a photographer?
Moises : When I was studying architecture I remember I wanted a camera to photograph the city, in that moment I knew photography was my passion, I always need to express myself visually.
RK : What was the first camera that you received?
Moises : I bought my first camera on New York when I was study architecture +30 years ago, and from there I never leave home without a camera.
RK : What camera & equipment do you use now?
Moises : I love cameras , I have a huge collections of old and new cameras, Rolleis, Mamiyas, Hasselblads Leicas etc.
For my landscape work I use primary a Hasselblad or Alpa Cameras with digital and film backs.
For my street work I use a Fuji XT20 and a Leica M10.
RK : If you were told that you could only keep one camera and lens combination, what would it be?
Moises : My Fuji XT20 with my Zeiss 21mm (32mm equivalent) is a joy to use !!!
RK : Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
Moises : I want to freeze special moments, sometimes is a movement or a gesture, something funny, or a hidden message …….something that talk about life in a beautiful way, I spent a lot of time searching and waiting for special moments, usually it becomes from the less expected place and time.
RK : Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
Moises : I love my Balance portfolio, I like to see silhouettes of men floating in the air, I like how perspective and proportion of human beings can change in a two dimension media, they become more symbolic, I think is something to think about in a deeper way.
RK : What does ‘street photography’ mean to you?
Moises : Life……what I love about street photography is to capture life in different moments, to capture the daily activities of men, I like to celebrate ordinary moments and create something beautiful from it.
RK : Is there something unique about street photography that differentiates it from other genres?
Moises : Street photography should be about man, about life, that’s what makes it special, and the spontaneous moments that become special, for Landscape photography your skills should be to make an adequate research about the places you want to capture, in street photography you need a lot of skills, you should be fast, creative, and you need to improvise at all times, it's much more complicated to create a good composition on the street because you have a lot of things going on.
RK : What do you think are some clichés in street photography you steer away from yourself?
Moises : I don’t like to photograph people in disgrace I think as an artist I should transmit positive moments.
RK : Who are some of your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence you?
Moises : I've always enjoyed the work of Elliot Erwitt, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Ho Fan, Raghu Rai and lately Vivian Maier.
RK : When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
Moises : In street the only thing I plan is the location, I like to go to places with clean backgrounds to create the kind of images I like , from there on everything is an adventure.
RK : What is your approach with the camera when you find yourself photographing strangers on the street?
Moises : Usually I try to be a tourist, (a simple man) hiding my camera and usually I never talk, but sometimes when I need to spend more time I try to socialize and become more friendly, sometimes I talk about my work and try to listen about her lifes.
RK : When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?
Moises : The beauty of street photography is that you have always surprises, you never know what you’ll discover and that’s very interesting, I try to be fresh minded and to create something new at all times.
RK : In a street picture, do you think the contrasts of light are important to tell a story or are just an aesthetic fact?
Moises : I think contrast images has become my photographic language I have been shooting for many years and finally I have build my personal style, I like clean BW images because they look like drawings and they express clearly my ideas.
RK : How does black and white vs color play into your work? Do you find them to be totally separate beasts—or complementary?
Moises : I think when an image is clear and strong you don’t need color, but sometimes color is the image, for me BW and color are different genres, usually I think in BW when I'm shooting, you need to have that perspective on the street.
RK : In general, it is increasingly common to use smartphones to take photos. And there are also those who consider their smartphones very seriously as photographic gear. What do you think about it? Do you use (or have you tried to use) a smartphone for your photos?
Moises : I’ve tried to work with a phone but I feel a lag from pressing the shooter and taking the photo, and that’s crucial in my work, I don’t feel too confident using my phone, that’s why I like manual cameras, I like to see all the controls on the camera.
RK : Do you have any tips for photographers to help them grow artistically?
Moises : Go to exhibitions, museums, see a lot of photos, paintings, sculptures, etc, try to define what you like and start making your own language.
RK : Have you ever been to India and anything you know about Indian Art & Culture?
Moises : I love Indian culture (and food !) I'm planning to visit India next year, I think the culture is deep and huge and people is so human and warm.
RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to make a bridge between National and International Art & Culture By featuring some National & International personalities who already have made their own path in their respective fields and we think your story and tips might help the newcomers to build their career. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your Indian followers.
Moises : You have a beautiful country and very special people, try to go for what you find more appealing to you and exploit it to your favor, I have learned that your best shots are so close to you that you can’t realize, I have been in very far places from home like Iceland, Portugal and China and my best shots are from Acapulco (Mexico), so close to home.
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