The Brussels Street Photography Festival interviews Barry Talis, the 2018 winner of the BSPF Series contest, and also a guest on the upcoming 2019 edition. This interview was included as part of his prize package.
A brief introduction
Barry Talis was born in Bender, Moldova and currently living in Tel Aviv, Israel. Awards, exhibitions, Barry’s work stands tall and talks for itself. Barry has an immense understanding of natural and artificial light, he delves in and out of the realm of religion exploring human nature and bringing us along for the ride.
How did you become interested in photography in general, and street photography in particular?
I began photographing because, like most street photographers I felt some lack, and needed to express myself. With time I understood it was a sort of meditation for me, something grounding, to help me be more in the present moment.
What is it that you wish to say through your work? What is your purpose in pursuing photograpy?
Photography helps me express my strong emotional states. It is less about an agenda, and more about expressing feelings and experimenting with an artistic medium.
What is it that draws you towards religious communities in your work?
I love exploring the old fashioned way of living everyday life. It is like going back in time to a more virgin earth. I find that Hassidic rituals evoke deep emotional experiences that we no longer have, a way to experience in our western secular life.
You use a close-up flash and very often too, what is the idea behind your technique?
The flash is a creative tool for me, I get bored with regular documentation, so I experiment with different lighting tools to achieve a more surreal feeling. I love when there is a surprising element in the process.
What does a day of shooting look like for you?
Everyday is very different. Sometimes it’s a compact camera while I am running errands, and other times it’s a full day of shooting with heavy equipment.
Can you give us some more context regarding your series that won the 2018 Series Contest of the BSPF?
My winning series is about private moments of a religious and ecstatic experience during ceremonies and rituals. The photos were taken employing a long exposure technique, which creates chaos, and flash lights that underscore the main objects and figures
The BSPF is organising a workshop with Barry Talis. It will focus on being mindful while practising street photography, and will include the introduction of a theoretical framework alongside with group discussions, shooting photos with Barry in Brussels and also a photo review by him. The workshop will be held from October 3rd until 4th. More information and the registration form can be found here.
You can view more of Barry’s work on his Instagram.