The truth is rarely straightforward: photographer András Ladosci embraces this as he presents an alternative take on documentary photography. He seeks and displays the truth in his work – but not necessarily through a realist lens – and thus his images resonate with an often surreal intimacy. Ladosci is intensely interested in people and how they can be affected by life and by art – especially by his own art. We talk about his extreme focus on the viewer, how their reaction to his work feeds into his own creative process, and about being a quiet observer who wants to capture the unguarded reality of things.
What drives you to take photographs?
When I take photographs I feel good.
You’ve spoken of a desire to seek and find the truth behind the subjects of your images. What kind of truth sparks your creative curiosity? Is it a uniquely personal truth related to subject/photographer, or a more universal truth?
I always appreciate the honesty in people; the honest person themselves, or certain gestures that evoke truth. Insincerity makes me extremely disappointed. Therefore, the intention of my images is to find a piece of truth in the moment, in a movement, or to capture a sense of honesty in the looks of my subjects. It can be a personal, even private truth, but it can also refer to something absolutely universal at the same time.
Your work ranges from soft, intimate moments to surreal, almost synthetic-looking compositions. How do you compose your work? How often do you plan shots, and how much is down to serendipity?
When I compose my work, I like to create as much contact as I can between the subject and myself; this helps me to make the viewer feel a certain feeling or to evoke a certain mood. Seeing the photo as a spectator can take me somewhere. I usually plan a situation, but I treat these ideas like ideas should be treated: with flexibility. When I am there, at the final space with the subject, anything can change. Honestly, more than anything, I like to amuse myself when I create things. That is why, if I do not like it or if I am not interested in my work, it will not be good.
A lot of your portraits see the subject gaze directly back at the viewer. What is the most important thing to you about the relationship between subject, photographer and viewer?
I would like the feelings created by my pictures to connect the observer and myself, to put us in touch with one another. To be in a cooperative relationship with the viewer is so important because if the spectator can incorporate some aspect of my ideas into a personal thought, that is beautiful for me.
The lack of context in your more surreal images often creates a sense of mystery, and you’ve also spoken about the responsibility of the photographer not to take their audience for a fool. Is the viewer’s perspective an important element of your work?
To be serious with my spectators is very important to me. It is more about finding the truth than anything else because we can be light-hearted, obscene, sad, aggressive or anything – it won’t matter until what we show is not some fake garbage.
You also play with distance, showing extreme close-ups and wider angles. How does the relationship between detail and vagueness interest you?
I like to play with distance: it is the result of my lifestyle, my personal approach. Usually, I am the observer of things, which can be anything in many forms.
The interplay between natural, unnatural and even supernatural also seems to be at play. Do you have an interest in science fiction? Are you more interested in fantasy or reality?
I am interested in science fiction, like The Matrix or artificial intelligence. However, within my projects, I work much more with reality than fiction.
Who are some of the creatives that have influenced your work?
Some are Baki Áron, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jim Jarmusch, Marton Perlaki, Peter Puklus, Katelin Arizmendi, and Mate Balazs.
You were recently a semifinalist for the New Vanguard Photography Prize. What does it mean for you at this point of your career?
I am happy for sure, and I am excited to see what is next.
And what is next for you?
I have just exhibited my new series at Unseen Amsterdam and I am going to show it as well in New York, with the New Vanguard Photography Prize. Besides this, I hope I can have some work published in magazines.