Here I am again, and this is the third interview in a row. Yes, I know, I could be a journalist. 🙂
Today, I have in front of my microphone (or keyboard) Gašper Lešnik in front of my microphone, my longtime photographic Instagram colleague, who specializes in photojournalism. I really like his journalistic photos, because they are truly in the center of the action. When I look at them, I feel like I’m really there: Wow!
So let’s go!
Gašper’s Journey as a Professional Photographer: From Films to Digital Age
You can find Gašper here:
Hi Gašper, how long have you been working as a photographer now?
I encountered photography for the first time in elementary school, usually, on school trips I took photos of my classmates, nature, animals and something else… In 2000, I bought my first serious Nikon F65 SLR camera. I was still a pure beginner, I was interested in everything. Nature, people, animals, flowers, sunsets. Unlike today, back then we worked with films, we were limited by the exposures on the camera (24 or 36).
Since we were limited by the number of films at that time, we considered each time individually whether the thing was worth filming or not. Today, things are done faster, we don’t always pay attention to the number of shots, because today’s digital photography offers us an almost unlimited number of shots.
In 2003, I enrolled in NYI’s Complete Course in Professional Photography) via distance learning and completed it in 2005. I could mention the very serious beginnings in 2009 when I enrolled at the Faculty of Applied Sciences (VIST) – Photography, 1st cycle (Bachelor Degree).
Since 2012, I have been following socio-political events and collaborating with the weekly magazine Mladina. I also publish in other magazines, newspapers and books. I was noticed by the Slovene Association of Journalists Slovenia, where in 2020 I was awarded the Watchdog award for journalism.
What inspired you to become a photographer? What were your first steps?
My inspiration or role model was a local photographer, unfortunately, he has already passed away. He worked in the field of photojournalism, the field of photography that is closest to me, I enjoy journalistic photography and street photography as well. As I said, I encountered photography already in elementary school, whenever there was an opportunity I always took my father’s camera with me, he also always explained to me how to operate the camera, how to change the film, what to pay attention to, and how make the picture.
Are you a professional or an amateur photographer?
I have been a professional photographer in the field of journalistic photography since 2012, but I also work in the field of street photography. I cover press conferences and interviews, and most often I take part in protests, I would highlight two difficult and dangerous ones, the first happened on November 5, 2020,
and the second, also very “interesting”, was on October 5, 2021.
Both were anti-government in the beginning very peaceful, but later they turned restless and unpredictable. The main reasons were disagreement with the work of the government and anti-coronavirus measures, and protests that also took place elsewhere in the world.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
I don’t have a favourite motif, but I always try to look for interesting motifs with a message, something that catches the eye of the observer, for example at protests. It’s not just about the motives of the protests. You can find interesting things everywhere, both on the street and in nature. I just love to take photos, I love to live for photography.
What kit do you shoot with?
I use Canon equipment.
How would you define your photographic style?
I don’t have a chosen photography style. In the field of photojournalism, and journalistic photography, I avoid excessive colour interventions, without filters. Such photos must speak for themselves, and be made as they are without manipulation. But it is true that in some dramatic events at protests, I sometimes use darker tones to emphasize the drama, the tension.
In the field of street photography, I can afford a bit more post-production, I like to work there in a film style, and use film colours, film tonality. I like street photography to look like a movie scene.
Which editing software do you usually use?
Years ago, I used Adobe Photoshop to process photos, but now I’ve been using Lightroom for some time, mainly because of transparency, selection and final processing. Working with Lightroom is much faster and easier, which is known for a time, which is never enough, especially when I’m chasing a photo submission deadline.
John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
In my case or in the field of photography, which is primarily concerned with, the matter takes place through communication with the photo editor or magazine editors, but most of the time I learn about events from the media. Recently, however, I occasionally cover social events or interviews, in which case clients contact me either by phone, e-mail or via social networks.
How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working? What do you do in your free time?
I’am not a full-time photographer, just a freelance photographer. I usually get a call from a photo editor, or I find out about events from the media or friends, but there are special events that require journalistic accreditation. I usually cover 3-5 events per week; which usually lasts 2 to 4 hours per event. Exceptionally, sometimes I also work a whole day, but this is during the period of elections and other international events – for example, a visit by a politician from another country.
What would you do differently if you would start again?
I probably would have focused on the field of photojournalism sooner, maybe I would have attended some additional photography course, I would have established contacts with experienced photographers more quickly and, as a result, I would have tackled the challenges of photojournalism sooner. I wouldn’t change anything about the rest.
A professional photographer is also an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have many things in common. They read a lot. What about you? What are your favorite books?
As much as I have spare time, I like to read various books in the field of photography, and monographs of interesting photographs, I also like to read books in the field of the history of photography itself.
As for other books, I like to read books by local authors, and of course also by foreign authors. But it usually depends on my mood, I read more on vacation. I don’t have a favourite book.
What was the best advice you have ever received as a photographer? Do you have any advice for other photographers?
I used to always hear comments that there is no money in this field of photography, and you will not get rich. But a professor at college once told me that it’s always good to be close to capturing the dynamics because that’s what can make a photo even better. And I still stick to that today, no matter if there is an “enraged” police officer or a protester nearby. Is there tear gas in the air or a water cannon nearby? I will always be there where the “action” is happening. But there is passion, some desire to try to change something, to move something, some apparent force that drives us not to give up.
You could say that the field of photojournalism is addictive, you want to keep going back, again and again, no matter how dangerous it may be. It is precisely this danger, adrenaline that makes us even more alive. And what advice would I give to other, younger colleagues? First of all, they should get good shoes, as a photojournalist you are in the field a lot, I would also add that they should observe a lot, because by observing they can predict the course of events and avoid unpredictable situations. In other words, they should always try to be in the right place at the right moment to capture Bresson’s “The Decisive Moment”.
Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
- Banana Kong
- Toon Blast
Top 3 websites
Your last vacation?
Last summer in Greece, refreshing, calming, friendly people and beautiful scenery. Endless inspiration for good photos