Inside this issue
Szabó Zsolt András
Szabó Zsolt András is a fine art landscape photographer based in Cluj-Napoca city, Romania. Dentist as original profession, autodidact as photographer, he started landscape photography successively, more seriously from 2003, first with film cameras, then switching to digital in 2007. His passion for mountains and wilderness has played the most important role in his becoming a photographer. He names J.R.R. Tolkien and Marc Adamus as his biggest sources of inspiration.
For Zsolt landscape photography is a creative art form; it is all about conveying a vision, an impression, but he strives to connect with viewers using photographic methods that eschew image manipulation. His portfolio of images represents real sceneries, mostly from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, and also from a few other locations.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Our childhood interests and early exposure shape us - in Zsolt’s case it was the landscapes of J.R. R. Tolkien that captured his imagination, and with a shortage of printed matter available (something that’s hard to imagine now) pictures and photos became especially precious to him. Career and hobby began in parallel, and he credits this with influencing his decision not to turn ‘pro’ along with the realisation that such a choice would not in fact increase the time he could spend pursuing his passion projects. Not surprisingly, these are often mountains and dramatic landscapes that could come straight from the pages of a book.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what that led you to study and do as a career?
I had a really beautiful Eastern European childhood; I was born and grew up in the Transylvanian part of Romania. From a very early age, I was attracted to drawing and every kind of picture. Back then, there was a shortage of local magazines and it was almost impossible to purchase magazines with pictures of any kind, so pictures and photographs became even more valuable to me, they were a real treasure. With time I become less and less satisfied with my drawing abilities; arts of any kind were not a stable option anyway, so in the end, I decided to attend medical university and became a dentist. Despite the fact that I had a camera during my childhood, and right after high school I even had a decent film SLR, photography only began to attract me later, by the end of university, so basically, right after it, I began my dental career and my photography hobby at the same time, in parallel, always making sure to have free time for photography. That worked out well for me, and probably this is why I never became a professional photographer - I knew well that for the creative part of my personal photography I would not gain even more time by becoming a pro.
What was it that prompted a particular passion for mountains? Was it this that led you to photography and does making images now come first?
I wish I could explain how my love of mountains came about :) I never gave it much thought; now that you ask, I don't think I know the answer. It started in childhood. What I know is that I grew up far from the mountains, but my parents use to bring me to the mountain areas sometimes, on summer holidays. It was a different world there: I was mesmerised by the size and beauty of it; it gripped my imagination; it was a place of adventure and wonder. Even as an adult the mountains are the place where I feel the best and where I can see (feel) everything more clearly.
Actually, the mountain trips were the reason why I started to take photography more seriously, I wanted to give it back, to show those experiences to others. My passion for mountains came first, they were some kind of main interest to me - probably that is why I was never interested to practice other genres.