Daniel Kordan - Russia
1. Daniel, you grew up in a lake region near Moscow, Russia. Please tell us something about your childhood and it`s influence on your photographic work. How did you find your way from studying at the „Institute of Physics and Technology“ into the world of art?
Yes, it was amazing time. We lived in a small town close to nature. So I could always go into the wild with friends to camp, build a tree-top house, swim across lakes. I really enjoyed being in the nature. Then I studied arts when I was a kid - in a special arts school. I think it influenced most my life. My parents insisted that I should take a practical work - engineer, programmer etc. But eventually even after studying physics (not to mention it was quantum physics) I returned "back to the basics", to what I enjoyed most: arts and nature, came up together in beautiful synthesis of photography.
2. Taking a look at your pictures feels like being in a world of dreams. It`s a beautiful world consisting of warm colors and perfect moments. Would you describe yourself as a dreamer? How important is the ability of imagination for an artist?
Our planet was given to us to explore it. We are here not to produce money for money, but we are here to feel, listen and explore our beautiful world. When I see first rays of sun, beautiful colors in the sky, they inspire me to move forward. These are simple things that drive me: sunsets and sunrises, walk in mountains, sounds of waterfall and singing of birds in the trees. I just feel happy and in harmony in the nature. And even more happy when I am able to share the beauty of our world with others and inspire them to travel and feel the same.
People need to dream, that makes our world different from machines and think about what really matters in our life. Photography helps people a lot. And feel of it is my source of inspiration.
3. Processing is an important part of your work. How did you find your unique style? And how did you learn to control all those powerful processing tools?
My style developed with years. First, it is the way I see and seek for compositions, second, it is my color representation, the way I see and feel the color. The major part of photography depends on post-processing these days. My workflow is quite special, and different from other photographers. My PS techniques involve luminosity masks, color correction with curves, masking and using layer blending modes. I do not like oversaturated and hdr-like photos with huge amount of “clarity”. Instead, I keep the low contrast with high details amount. Thus, I do not have absolute blacks on my photos. I shift blacks towards midtones, maintaining color and details in blacks. It's hard to write about it - that's why I created a comprehensive 11+ hours landscape photography course at DanielKordanTutorials.com
4. The history of art is as old as mankind itself. Especially photographic art changes very quickley today. A significant contribution comes from the internet and social networking. What do you think about the influence of our modern world on photography and art in general?
I love to influence people being into the wild. Some people are stuck in circles of life: work-family-work, and simply forget to enjoy nature themselves. Nature brings peace and joy to your soul and mind. I receive hundreds of messages per day from people who are grateful for inspiring them and widening their horizon. Sometimes they just need a little help, inspiration to make a step out of their cage of circles.
5. You traveled many countries, warm regions as well as colder ones. The diversity of your portfolio is stunning. So it`s obvious to call you a world traveler. Unlike focusing on one area, is traveling something that inspires your work in the best possible way?
I like to explore, but I also love to return in the same places each year. I have several places where I feel like at home. These are: Tuscany, Lofoten islands, Patagonia, Baikal lake, Kamchatka. When you work constantly on one project, you may achieve great results, contribute to the place you love. This is the way your portfolio may form, through a constant work. My main topics are Mountain and Seascape photography. For example, each winter I return to Lofoten islands for seascape and northern lights photography. Sea will never be the same, and even well-known locations can be different in ever-changing dramatic weather, while the sea creates different patterns and textures on the sand.
6. Nowadays photographers often follow their idols and easily travel remote places. Your pictures not only show those popular areas but also some new discoveries. For example your Japan portfolio is particularly unique. How important is traveling fresh regions for your inspiration? Is it difficult to find something unspent?
Photography takes me around the world. It opens new horizons, helps me to make amazing friends all over the world. It is motivation to travel, seek and explore. There are no white spaces left on maps, but there are lots of white spaces left for photography. Due to thousands, millions of photographers there are iconic places - more for posing and "checking in", but there are lots of awesome places left unexplored for photography. Let's say, Greenland or Russia. So many beautiful landscapes, but to tough to organize. I really love challenges! That's why I prefer to travel and plan my trips in a very unique way.
7. There`ve been several awards and publications in your photographic career. What does it mean for you making your work available to the public this way? How important is the internet world for reaching a wider audience?
I am not keen on participating in contests. I understand that it's very important for growing in community, but it's not a main goal for me. My goal is to enjoy the nature and inspire people. So sometimes "marketing" and contests are a burden for me - but it's essential part of showing your works to public. I do not like to challenge and compete - that's not my goal.
8. Which artists have been your biggest source of inspiration?
I love to study classic paintings, like Monet, Rembrandt, Ayvazovsky. Painting are my main source of inspiration. Let's say when I'm in Paris - I can stay for a long time at Orsay gallery just studying color and compositions.
9. Leading workshops is a main part of your photographic life. Please tell us something about your passion for teaching people in remote regions of the world. Do you also enjoy traveling all by yourself from time to time?
I really enjoy teaching people. That feels your life with sense and idea. Even if we have stormy weather we can share knowledge, and I might spend time in a useful way. When I'm alone I actually start missing my groups and good company of photographers. Of course I have only a limited time for myself during workshop, but I love giving my knowledge to other people and making amazing friends from all over the world.
10. Final Question: This project is called "Vision and life". What do the terms "vision" and "life" mean for you, Daniel?
My entire life is dedicated to finding a "vision" - to find and express my photography to other people. It's a visual language that bonds people together and sorting out their priorities in a wonderful way.