Candid Photography Captures the Spirit of Urban Life in Budapest The candid street shots that make up A Stray Ghost and Other Stories are taken in situ over the course of three years, in the “beautiful, unique, but sometimes wild, crazy and heartless place: the city of Budapest.” With a summary like that, the Hungarian documentary and fine-art photographer responsible for the moving set, Tamás Andok, is clearly one with a nose for urban adventure, and an affection for his nation’s capital. Tamás started off his artistic trajectory with videos, slipping into the experimentation afforded by analogue photography around the age of 17, when he picked it up as a form of art therapy. “It was better than any kind of school,” he tells us, when we discuss the learning curve on which his work took him; the way he related to the world around him during this difficult period of his life was, for Tamás, significantly shaped by his work behind the camera. It’s left him with an artistic aesthetic that seeks out the voices of the streets around him, allowing them to speak by pitching his monochrome series as a “collection of visual short stories”. His work has rightly have piqued the interest of publications, magazines, and music labels worldwide. We wanted to get a snapshot of the life of the photographer himself. THE PLUS: You talk about your photos letting the voices or cities speak – what do you like about listening to a city? Tamás Andok: The voices of a city are always interesting. From a remote viewpoint it seems like a huge cacophony, and every city – or every part of these cities – has got its own voice, its own moods. Even the smaller or bigger cities. TP: What sort of variation in these voices do you notice, as a street photographer? AT: They are different during the day: sometimes Sunday is calm, everything is silent and peaceful, but on Tuesday morning it’s crowded and loud. But there are always interesting voices, and unique stories. TP: The series is very urban: are you more of a city-lover or a country guy? AT: In urban areas I’ll yearn to be in the country-side, in nature, sometimes it’s really torturous. But in the country after a while I start looking forward to going back the city. It’s a never-ending circle. TP: What’s the hardest thing you find about street photography? AT: If you find your own voice and style, there is nothing hard about it. Or, you learn to enjoy the harder things too: the searching, and exploring, and waiting. TP: Are you able to define your work for us? AT: Once somebody said to me that ‘these images are not realistic enough for photojournalism, but they are also not imaginative enough for fine art’, so I guess I fall between these two. The best definition I ever got was ‘magic realism’. TP: The images are candid and observational – are you more of an observed in life, generally? AT: I’m more of an observer. This kind of photography teaches you how to observe, to watch, and to listen; to find the tiny connections, processes, and details in the world, or in humans. TP: What advice would you give someone suffering from creative block? AT: No worries, be cool and patient, there are always ups and downs. It’s not a big deal, do something else. TP: And any artistic advice you wish you’d ignored? AT: Be open, but careful with all the advice you receive; people always like to stick their nose into someone else’s business.