Christopher Soukup aka Chris Soukup is a wonderful photographer from San Francisco. His photos have a cinematic appeal and everything from composition to technical craft is finely observed. His crispy bright and saturated colour photos compete with superb misty black and white minimalistic images shot at slower shutter speeds. Christ gave us this brief interview and allowed us to select some of his beautiful images for this post. Meet the artist:
Hello Chris! Tell us about yourself in brief:
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and currently reside in San Francisco. I work in the tech industry and while not working or photographing I enjoy city life and cycling.
Photography is my opportunity to do something creative and explore ideas that float around in my mind. Many years ago I was really drawn to the depth and texture that black and white photographs present. To me, they show an alternative reality and can evoke something far more emotional, than a typical color landscape or cityscape. To enhance the medium I pursue this through long exposures. Long Exposures are far from unique, yet still they capture things that are present and in some ways eliminate things that are. Every frame has an element of surprise.
The second style is cinematic photographs, they are images that appear to be a solitary movie still. While on the surface the two photographic styles appear to be very different and in some ways there are, yet they have some underlying similarities. The main connecting point is to present a feeling, a mood or the idea of what it might be like to be there, rather than just a representation. In both styles there is an emphasis on what is in the shadows as much as what is in the light, or at least that is my intent.
I had an interest in photography, especially black and white images going back about 20 years ago. It has only been in the last 2 years that I have put any real effort and settled on a couple of styles and subject matter. I have a demanding job and time can be at a premium, so most of my work is done during the weekends with some evenings spent doing processing.
Tell us about your photo-gear etc:
I shoot digital, mainly a Canon full frame DSLR. I use a variety of processing tools such as Lightroom, Photoshop and the Nik photo suite. At some point I plan on exploring film using a medium format camera, but I would guess I will always be mainly digital.
So much of what I do involves having the right conditions… mainly the right kind of light which is usually found on the edges of the day. Coupled with that is the weather, getting dramatic clouds, or the right tide level for seascapes. I usually visit a location multiple times to before I get something appealing. For cinematic work it’s almost all about light, usually at night and in places that offer some kind of a mood. Lately I have been drawn to more older locations, that have a vintage style.
I don’t think I am that different from many others. I follow people who interest me, and try to learn from their work while enjoying their photographs. I can’t say that I have any pulse on what is a current style or fad, it’s not a question that I ask myself.
What is the impact of photography on your life and attitude towards it?
Putting effort into photography has been very rewarding, more than I could have anticipated. Many times people quote that it’s not the destination but the journey. I feel I can really understand that through my photograph making. I have become more open minded, even when being more focused on a few areas. Personal improvement and growth is an important element for me, and I can see how being a photographer has helped me be more patient and to more easily see possibilities in other areas of my life.
Two things: First keep an open mind not just in what you do, but also that you can learn something of value from just about anyone. Second, is to have a balance with social media. The photo sharing sites can be a fantastic way to learn, to be inspired and to get some feedback. At the same time favs, likes etc can be addicting to some people and it can distort how you view the quality of your own work and of others.