I like to think that, as with any great work of music, I strive to capture and depict order, harmony, and balance in my photography. Our physical world can so often seem to be chaotic and disordered. I am very much a mystic and, therefore, believe it is the true task of any artist to channel into physical existence art that uplifts and edifies the soul. That is very much in contradistinction to the prevailing zeitgeist of our time, which often posits that in order to be “relevant” art should be “controversial” – depicting only the dark underbelly of society.
It's Showtime, Darling!
Oriental Lily In Black And White
Sacred Geometry 141
Los Angeles Skyscrapers
Vase With Ornamental Pear Blossoms
Interview with Endre Balogh, Photographer, Los Angeles, CA USA
EWW: What are the major challenges you face in both your photography and digital art?
Endre: I have spent the majority of my life touring the world, giving concerts as a violin soloist and chamber musician, only coming to photography and digital art relatively recently – well after the advent of digital technology. I try to bring to my visual art the same discipline and attention to detail that serves me in my concertizing career. Since photographically I am largely self-taught, my challenges have centered on learning and developing new techniques of shooting and post-processing in the digital format.
EWW: I am curious to know what qualities of your work would others comment on first?
Endre: People frequently will tell me that my photos look very “painterly”. I think that may come from the fact that I have always loved and been inspired by great master paintings like those of Rembrandt and Vermeer. I certainly am influenced by “classical” ideas of color, composition, and lighting.
EWW: What qualities of your work would you comment on first?
Endre: I like to think that, as with any great work of music, I strive to capture and depict order, harmony, and balance in my photography. Our physical world can so often seem to be chaotic and disordered. I am very much a mystic and, therefore, believe it is the true task of any artist to channel into physical existence art that uplifts and edifies the soul. That is very much in contradistinction to the prevailing zeitgeist of our time, which often posits that in order to be “relevant” art should be “controversial” – depicting only the dark underbelly of society.
EWW: You have several galleries in your portfolio. Do you have a favorite? Why?
Endre: It is very hard for me to choose a favorite gallery. I find aesthetic beauty in so many aspects of life that I love to shoot everything from architectural studies and landscapes to animals and portraits. On my website, though, two areas that I have worked in particularly stand out. The first are the several galleries devoted to my flower photographs – both in color and black and white. Flowers, for me, are an endless source of inspiration – gems of God’s handiwork – that are often stunning in their brilliance and natural geometry. The other gallery is devoted to my digital artworks called “Sacred Geometry”, which are mandalas intended to evoke in the viewer a profound level of soul understanding. To date, I have created 765 “Sacred Geometries” and in many ways – structure, balance of design, harmony of color, etc. – their creation closely parallels my interest in shooting “portraits” of flowers.
EWW: Your galleries show both color and black and white. For you, when is it best in black & white versus color?
Endre: For a photo to work well in Black and White it has to have strong graphic content and a wide range of contrast – from very dark to very bright – all balanced in a pleasing way. I experiment with turning almost everything I shoot into Black and White and sometimes I’m surprised by how a dull-looking photo can suddenly become a dynamic shot simply by removing the distraction of color. That is particularly the case with my Black and White flower photos – so much so that in 2010 “Shutterbug” Magazine asked me to write an article about Black and White flower photography, which they printed along with one of my photos on the cover of their annual “Expert Photo Techniques” guide. I’ve also printed a coffee-table collection of 80 of my Black and White flower photos – titled “Black and White In Bloom”. I find that in many cases, working with Black and White can be the most evocative way to present a photo, and beyond just turning a color photo into monochrome, there are so many creative ways to tone and enhance a photo that the possibilities with Black and White are virtually endless.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there themes that consistently run in all your work such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Endre: Having just gotten through talking about how much I enjoy Black and White photography, I must say that vibrant color is a trait that generally runs through my photographs and artworks. I also am very concerned with sharp detail and how, through composition, the viewer’s eye is led to linger on what is important in the shot. I find that there is almost no scene that doesn’t have something that can be minimized or removed in order to enhance the overall story that I am trying to communicate. For me, clicking the shutter is simply a means of gathering information – a starting point, if you will – from which I can begin to work on creating the final, idealized version of what I see in my mind’s eye. I do a lot of work with Photoshop in very minute detail, making sure that there are no tiny distractions anywhere. It’s very similar to the type of work I would do with preparing, say, a Mozart Violin Sonata for performance. In my work, attention to detail is really what makes or breaks a performance or a photo.
EWW: Do you think it is important for photographic artists to have their own website, in addition to other gallery organizations they appear on? If so, why?
Endre: Absolutely. My website (which I’m planning to break up into several smaller ones, since it is so extensive at the moment) is how I mainly show off my work. Anyone in the world with a computer and Internet access can visit my site and enjoy exploring my artwork. In addition, my site is set up so that anyone can purchase a version of anything that is there for him or herself in almost any imaginable size or configuration. Literally, there is something there for everyone.
EWW: What role does social media play in your marketing and promotion. If you do use social media platforms, which works best for you?
Endre: Unfortunately, I am still somewhat of a troglodyte when it comes to using Social Media for marketing and promotion. I post everything that I upload to my art site also to Facebook and Twitter, but beyond that I need to buckle down and get myself an Instagram presence which, I’m told, is very effective as a marketing tool. The idea of starting all over to upload lots of photos and artworks to Instagram, is pretty daunting, though, and I keep imagining that by the time I get around to it, Instagram will have already gone out of fashion.
EWW: Do you have any advice for individuals just starting to explore photography or digital art?
Endre: Photography and related digital art is an endlessly fascinating endeavor, only limited by a person’s inherent talent, imagination, and willingness to explore. My first advice to an aspiring photographer would be to look at and study as many good photos and artworks as possible, in order to get inspiration and guidance. There are so many wonderful photography sites that it is easy to become immersed in photos of all sorts. Thinking about and absorbing what works or what doesn’t work in a photo can be really transformative to one’s photography. Beyond that, it’s essential to become well versed in Photoshop, which is the industry-standard “digital darkroom”. It is so complex and powerful that I’m certain even its inventors don’t fully appreciate what it is capable of. I create all of my purely digital artworks entirely in Photoshop. Lightroom is another essential software. In some ways it overlaps Photoshop but it also processes photos in different and unique ways. Fortunately, for someone just starting out, tutorials exist on how to do anything imaginable. But applying the information in those tutorials will be a lot easier if there is a basic working understanding of how these programs work.
EWW: Just to wrap up this interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?
Endre: As I have stated before, I have one main goal underlying all my art: to capture and express beauty and harmony. One of the ways that the Divine Essence manifests in our physical existence is through Beauty, and it is Beauty that most easily speaks to our souls. It’s my hope that people visiting my website will find it to be an island of solace and spiritual renewal amid the turmoil and unrest that often seems to pervade day-to-day life.
URLs: This is a short documentary about my violin career and me:
This is a YouTube video of about 40 of my flower photographs underscored by a performance I gave on the radio commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
This is a link to the book that is entirely illustrated by my photos and artwork: