Cape Town, South Africa
I am Duran Levinson and I am a visual artist.
What was the first feeling you had when you entered Thailand?
I was super excited to visit Thailand for the first time. I got to make a few connections through my Instagram before going there so it was exciting getting to meet new like-minded people, who were able to help me on my photographic endeavors in Bangkok.
Was there something unique when photographing the people of Thailand?
Thailand has such a beautiful culture and history and everyone is pretty friendly. I had a great time in Bangkok, as it's just so busy and crazy. It can be totally overwhelming but with so much activity it makes a great place for someone who is interested in street and portrait photography.
What was the best food you tried on your trip?
It has to be Pad Thai. I probably ate 20 within the month I was there. It doesn't get much better than a super spicy Prawn Pad Thai street-food.
What can you tell us about lifestyle photography?
Lifestyle photography lets me capture a real-time moment in any setting, which can result in an engaging image. What captivates me most is meeting people, hearing their stories and capturing their photo in a way that makes me remember their traits, not only visually but on an emotional level as well. I like to be challenged while travelling and believe in opportunities presenting themselves at the strangest of times.
Sophistication is a combination of manners, respect, understanding and good communication, all the basic traits of a decent human being.
How do you condition your reality as a photographer to reach your creative peak?
I put an immense amount of pressure on myself when creating something I believe in. I constantly ask questions and try finding answers in the final product. With photography the questions I ask myself add up every day.
Can a photograph really tell a story? Can we accurately portray anything when by nature the medium is framed and manipulated to create an image the photographer wants you to see? There is an inherent problem with pointing a camera at anything these days.
Life can be pretty terrible sometimes. It can also be beautiful most of the time. There’s many ways to tell a story but the way in which it’s presented will lead to the viewer responding with a certain emotion.
Manipulating an image further to try and force an emotion out of someone doesn’t really work for me. I know what feels real to me and what I connect to visually so I try carrying that theme through my work.
What cheers you up?
Travelling, capturing moments on film that feel special, skateboarding the streets of an unknown city while listening to punk rock. Also, pizza.
Travel inspires me most because every time I visit a new country I gain a new perspective. I usually end up going crazy trying to see and shoot as much as humanly possible and it generally leads to a lot of self-actualization and deeper understanding of art and the human condition.
The magic of Cape Town lies in its ridiculous beauty. It’s easy to get over the city you live in, especially when you hit a wall, but it doesn’t take much to bounce back here. I feel like Cape Town has the best of everything Africa has to offer. Dope scenery; super chill people, amazing weather, and a melting pot of cultures, ridiculous poverty, political failure, and good wine.
Artist are able to go deep in their mind in order to show the world a different perspectives of reality, what actions do you take to catalyze your mind to take you to these places?
I try not letting preconceived notions interfere with my creative process. I don’t want anyone to tell me what I can and can’t do creatively.
I try surrounding myself with like-minded and supportive people who I can rely on for honest feedback and criticism. I was recently in Rwanda working on a new project and decided I will not be put off by anything people would say to me.
I was told I’d be arrested so I went to a protest, I was told I’d be killed so I went into the ghetto, I was told I’d get Malaria so I went deep into a jungle. None of those things happened and the final result turned out pretty well so I just went with it. Obviously there is a limit but rationality and reminding myself that I am literally nothing helped me free my mind of the smoke clouding my goals. I feel like positivity, mental preparation and a good mind set can lead to any future goals I have being achieved.