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"Green Silence" by Daniel Kovalovszky

Jan 04, 2018

Daniel is a Hungarian photographer with a profound attachment to nature who creates visual narratives that are harmonic, intense and thoughtful at the same time. In his series 'Green silence', Daniel presents a smart collection of images where repetition and harmony make us think about the vastness and superiority of nature. Inspired by painting and nature itself, Daniel's vigorous and beautiful photographs invite us to explore our surroundings and calmly observe what they offer to all of us. Following we present an interview that we had with Daniel: am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us? DK - My name is Daniel Kovalovszky. I was born in 1979 in Budapest, Hungary. After graduating from high school I studied portrait photography and photojournalism in Budapest, and have been working as a photographer since 2001. Between 2001 and 2010 I made several documentary photography essays, mostly about aging in Hungary. Over the last few years I have become deeply interested in landscape and portrait photography, working on long-term and conceptual projects. I like cooking and hiking in the forest of Hungary and Slovakia. At the moment I'm working on a new photo series in which I'm investigating the fragility of human freedom and democracy by visiting the historically important scenes of the Hungarian communist dictatorship in their present state. I am visiting the darkest corners of this to-this-date politically divisive and socially not sufficiently addressed era, that is the world of prisons in Rákosi’s time and the early Kádár period. I have identified the timeline to be examined from the opening of the first labour camps in 1945 to the amnesty in 1963. I think that it is not a minor responsibility to approach this sensitive theme with the tools of any creative artist because this is one of the most debated and complex periods in the history of Hungary, therefore several independent historians help me with the authentic presentation of the details during the work. am - How did you start in photography? DK - Until the age of 17 I had been planning to train to be an instrument maker after graduating from secondary school, but when I came across my father’s old cameras and a photobook by Andre Kertesz, I immediately felt I had encountered something new and mysterious, which pushed me off the beaten track. I see photography as a medium which helps me to understand how I can get along in this world, and how the things that I allow to affect me can shape me from inside. am - What inspires your work? DK - I find that painting is more inspiring for me than photography. Especially the works of Ferdinand Hodler and Alexandre Hollan, and the contemporary Hungarian writers and poets I read must have an influence on my work. All those things that culturally affect me somehow influence my work, among them this series. am - What is “Green silence” about? DK - My relationship with nature was already defined when I was a child. My parents often took me to hike in the forests, which was at the same time calming and frightening, but it definitely gave me positive energies. We used to go to the pine forests of the High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia a lot, which I saw as an endless impenetrable space as a child. I wanted to evoke also this endlessness in my series, and perhaps I could accentuate this idea by the rhythmic placement of trees in my pictures. I am experiencing and watching the nature that surrounds me. I closely pay attention to the passing of time, the connection between nature and me, and this silent monitoring of nature somehow therapeutically dissolves into my photography. I am attempting to find those “perfect” details of nature that are deeply hidden from our all-devouring civilization. am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists? DK - Ferdinand Hodler (painter), Taryn Simon, Nadav Kander (photographers), Joze Gonzalez, Radiohead (musician), Attila Bartis (Hungarian writer). am - How would you describe your visual language? DK - I usually intend to create a visual harmony already during the creation of my works, both in the use of the tones and the distances. I consider strict selection and the dismissal of unnecessary elements important. The shabby and sterile colors of the photographs help separate the theme from its reality. In the work 'Green Silence' I had no intention to create conventional masterpieces taken from nature. I didn’t want to take advantage of the cheap and easy opportunities offered by nature. All I wished for was to give myself over to solitude, to the strange metamorphosis of time as it was slackening its pace, to the tiny shifting of nature where nothing happens apart from the demonstration of the infinite. am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go? DK - I think I would go to see Southern France or Alaska. They have quite different cultures but both places could be very inspiring for me. am - What’s your favourite movie? DK - It is hard to tell you. Films are important for me. They can open up gates and provide opportunities for thinking and telling unfinished stories further. These stories sometimes overlap with my own personal stories. Nowadays I prefer Danish movies. They have a weird sense of humor that I love. I think ‘Adam's Apples’ was the best film in the past ten years. am - What are you reading at the moment? DK - These days I'm reading an old Hungarian cookbook including very good recipes from the '40s. am - Can you recommend us a photo book? DK - Taryn Simon: 'Paperwork and the Will of Capital'. am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

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