Attila Őzse photographer is a true example that creativity and discipline are not mutually exclusive qualities. In fact, it is the routines built in his life that make his talent to unfold possible. It is Attila, who comes to KAPTÁR every morning at the same time, works through the day, yet the result is full of creativity. Oh, and on that note, he’s the photographer of KAPTÁR too!
We’ve known you for a while now, and I couldn’t agree more that there are not many such fanatics like you around.
It is photography that seems to be the key driver of your life. Is this correct? Well, it is a fact that the family camera was always in my hands because it just interested me so much. I started at the age of 17 and was continuously taking pictures of everything. There was full night when I was taking pictures of a snowy street in Gyöngyös and arrived home in the morning completely frozen. This all made sense when after not too successful graduation I finished a machine manufacturing school and started to work at a factory. It was like a punch in the face. It was then when I realized what adult life means exactly, when your mom does not put your lunch in front of you every day and when you have to make a living working hard day by day. And it was so clear that I don’t want to do this like that and started thinking if there is a way to make some money with photography and how this works. I used to ask price offers from pro photographers using fake email addresses and was sitting stunned in front of the computer: this is how much money you can make if you make your way up the ladder? So, I gathered all my money, bought a new camera and left the factory.
Seems obvious so far, but this is when the complications start.
I was lucky because a friend of mine found me with an opportunity. A hotel was looking for a regular photographer so he hired me as a subcontractor. The only problem was that I had no photo school background for this, but a good accountant and a smart lawyer could help me out so I can work legally ever since. So, I managed to leave the factory and land in a 5-star hotel, which was a total culture-shock… One time I – being a well-mannered boy from Gyöngyös – picked up a fork that fell on the ground and gave it back to the guest. The waiter politely apologized to the guest then led me away. The complete hotel kitchen was laughing for a week on me helping a guest eat his 40.000 forint lunch with a fork from the floor… But otherwise, this job provided me fix money for more than three years plus I could take on other jobs as well, but most importantly could learn and develop. Are you a fully self-taught photographer? Yes, actually I am. I don’t really like to learn things that I am not sure I’ll need. I always try to learn exactly what a specific job requires. But in the hotel, I was making pictures pretty much continuously, in all settings, in all kinds of light, season, so it’s proven to have been a great school.
Then you had a swing by the movies to if I am not mistaken.
Yes, I was making commercials but when I had to make a decision if films or photography, I decided on photography. Of course, movie making was very useful because it is a big difference compared to photography, it is a thousand times more complicated. In addition, it was there where I realized how important business planning is. So, right after I made up my mind I also decided to learn about marketing, how to make a business plan and stuff like that. I went to different courses and learned a lot. I prepared my first detailed strategic business plan last year and got so into this way of thinking that now I am capable of planning ahead for 2-3 year terms. I expect all that knowledge from last year to begin to reap rewards.
I think all the photographers who prepare a business plan would fit in a small size room. It is not really typical.
There are some who say I am already a businessman, but it is not true that I only focus on the business, I also see lots of creative values in marketing. If I find the inspiration and I enjoy doing it, then I am happy to work. And if I do not succeed, I never try to blame others or the circumstances but want to learn from it as much as possible. But to be honest, I don’t fear failure. And the fact that you started a photographer search website proves it best. Does this still work? It is still available but we are not developing it anymore. That was such a huge screw-up, I was ruined for almost half a year. I made all the mistakes possible. I lost pretty much everything, even had to sell my car but I realized that you always have to stay focused and should never lose track of the path. Actually, it wasn’t photography itself that mattered when I was younger but to have something serious that I do that makes me happy, in which I can grow further each day. It was then when I decided to always prepare a plan each year that kind of also allows me to think over and reconsider things at least once a year in December. But I will never jump in and out of things, you should never do that.
Is there any special field of photography that you’d consider your favourite?
I am not doing photography because I love it so much but rather because of the great people that I get to know because of it. To tell you the truth, I am actually seeking inspiring people. I am more than happy to go do gastro photography if the chef is someone exciting, someone, I can learn from. Now I enjoy creative portrait photography the most. This is a new service I do, where I finish only with a single photo of the person but it perfectly represents what this person does for a living. For example, recently I made shark-like portraits of the salespeople of Otthon Centrum1 using wild angle close-ups and they catch perfectly what real estate agents do.
People tend to imagine photographers as kind of lightheaded, yet you arrive at the same time here each day, we can always count on that.
I need system and order in my daily life very much, especially because otherwise I would easily drift off. I wake up every morning at 7.30 am, arrive at KAPTÁR at 9.00 and start working. If I stayed home, my day would definitely fall apart. On that note, I also had to learn and understand this whole coworking story as well. You need to understand what the difference is between a café with wifi and a coworking space like KAPTÁR. It took me almost half a year to realize that besides settling into my place each day, there are also other people around me here. And then a new world started to unveil for me because I was never really a networking type of person. A community that gives you so much more, both businesswise and personally.
If you want to check out Attila’s work: www.ozseattila.com