Ever wonder what is the difference between a photographer and a photojournalist? Or maybe you are looking into turning your photography skills into something serious for a career.
Today, I am very honoured and fortunate to speak to an extremely talented photojournalist, Albert Khachatryan to understand his passion and how he is making an impact in the photography world.
Thank you, Albert, for being generous in sharing your story with us! Please do describe to us what you do for a living?
I am a photojournalist and also a photographer in the news sphere. I take photos of events that people see every day on the Internet or TV. It can seem very easy, you walk around with a camera and shoot what’s happening, but in reality, everything is more difficult than it seems.
What is the difference between photojournalist vs a photographer?
Very good question. The photographer can adjust his model as it needs, and this makes his business much easier. Try suggesting to a policeman, who disperses the demonstrators to pose for your good frame. I think the idea is not very good, right?
In photojournalism, there is an unwritten rule that we do not ask anyone to pose. We find our angle of filming ourselves to convey the atmosphere of what is happening.
Also, a photographer in another sphere can take a photo in ‘RAW’ format, then edit it. In any case, after editing something will come out. But try to shoot ‘ jpg’, and shoot so that you do not edit later.
According to the laws of photojournalism, minimal editing of a photograph is allowed so it will be necessary to forget about mystical filters and retouching.
I have no right to judge anyone.
What makes you want to pursue your career?
I often think about it. Do you know that feeling when you know why you were born? I do not see myself anywhere else, except in photojournalism. The frenzied pace of life, extreme and dangerous shooting and the thirst to see everything itself never gives me rest.
Art is in the eye of the beholder. Some may appreciate your sense of beauty while some may not. What do you say to those who don’t appreciate your work?
I have no right to judge anyone. I am always ready to listen and accept criticism from adequate people.
How and where do you get your clients?
I think this question is relevant for freelancers and for me now too. When I worked for a news agency, I did not have this problem. You need to be active in social networks. Now there are many platforms for photographers. You will be noticed if your work is good.
How did you come about this job?
I always dreamed of a good camera. I was 15 (now I’m 24) when I was given the canon 600d, I did not even know how to change the lens, although before that I shot on a film old camera, with manual settings.
After I bought the camera, in a year I found a job in the online news company. It happened somehow accidentally. I went with my girlfriend to this office that she was interviewed. The director of the company saw that I had a photo camera on my shoulder, and suggested that I shoot for them, although I had no experience at all. And thus my career began this way.
What is the career prospect for this job? And what do you see yourself doing in five years down the path?
I think to see my photos in a list of well-known news agencies, very nice. Starting with the local editorial office and getting to the point where I’m at the Associated Press, Getty Images, European PressPhoto Agency etc., it’s really cool.
How do you find satisfaction in your work?
If it is a question of aesthetic satisfaction, then I get a thrill from every second during shooting, more than at the final viewing of the photo. I think this is mania.
Many people think that there is no pity in media workers
What does passion mean to you? Are you pursuing your passion aggressively?
Based on my previous answers, it is clear that I treat this with passion. But there is no aggression in it. Passion gives me strength, for the future
What kind of skills do you need to do what you do successfully?
There are a lot of things. Starting from a good photo technique and finishing with comfortable clothes. In our work, we must always monitor everything that happens in the world.
You always need to learn new things, watch photo galleries, not imitate them but just learn. You need to be able to correctly photograph, correctly convey the meaning of what is happening, so that the viewer could understand that, without reading the text.
What is a happy day for you at work?
You will not believe. I’m happy when I have something to shoot. Good or bad, anyway, work day and night in extreme conditions. I do not want to open this topic much.
Many people think that there is no pity in media workers, and this is often a topic for discussion. For me, the best of my days were in 2016, a few days of shooting the war. I know, maybe this is strange.
Any last words for someone who aspires to be a photojournalist?
Never give up, you must always remember that somewhere there is always someone better than you. Don’t stop at what has been achieved, strive to do something important, important for yourself and for people.
With every shooting, I think that I am here, no one else, and I must do everything possible and impossible to show people the reality.
About Albert Khachatryan
I was born in the dark blockaded Yerevan (Armenia) in 1994. This year has been one of the most difficult for Armenia, suffering from the cold, the lack of fuel and food. And I am the representative of the generation that grew up in the light of an oil lamp, and enjoyed every hour, carried out by electric light. That is why, perhaps, we cherish what we have now so much. I learned to see beauty in the most ordinary things, in everyday aspects of life. My eyes used to snatch from the bustle of the current days the beauty of my hometown and its inhabitants, the pain of loneliness of old people and an innocent glance of a child. Photography is my way to report true, undistorted reality, the reality is that I see myself.
One year ago I changed my living place. Now I live in Belgium and I’m trying to find a way to continue my work here.
I like also shooting on the phone.