Bela Borsodi was born in Vienna in 1966 and commenced his photographic career after studying graphic design and fine art. He moved to New York In 1992, where he received much acclaim for his unrivalled ability to capture beauty and amazing still life photographies. Bela creates and develops most of the sets himself, as they are an integral part of his imagery and conceptual process. In 2013 he began to work on short films as a director. The photographer now lives in New York, working on editorial and advertising projects for major magazines and companies including New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Elle Accessories, GQ China, Glamour, Wired Magazine, Stern, Süddeutsches Magazin, H&M, Lafayette, Selfridges, Swarovski etc. For more images visit his website www.belaborsodi.com.
Whom do you look up to?
I don’t look up to people who I admire and respect but rather try to engage and learn from them. I admire people who are kind, intelligent, brave and passionate.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
There are many people who have inspired me, or who gave me chances to explore new things, who have supported and challenged me, some who knew better than myself of what I am good at and also what I am not good at and who then encouraged me to find that out. Also people who showed me how things are done and who pointed out what can be discovered beneath the obvious. I am very thankful to all of them and hope that I can be such a person to others.
How did your art career start? What made you want to become an artist?
I started my career once I was out of the womb. Both of my parents are artists and they gave me the necessary confidence to follow my interests. Contemplating my work I often realize how funny it is that in principle I still do the very same work now which I already did as a toddler. Nothing really too drastic has changed since then, just that now I am more calculating and that I have responsibilities. Of course now I know so much more and I had a lot of time to think and to explore things, but that is really only a marginal difference from when I started.
Quotes and Wisdoms
How do you define creativity?
Creativity is an overused and often very abused word which I therefore do not like very much. Many people stress this word with a romantic view, either to comprehend or to explain what they otherwise can not express. The word “creativity” often becomes a protective shield for the “creative” people to have an excuse and a legitimation for their processes in the lack of having better answers, and for the “not creative” people to possibly grasp their romantic ideal of getting closer to accept and understand what the “creative” people (might) do. The nasty trick of using this word is that although being vague and basically saying nothing it still gives the feeling of importance and of value to describe something which often is actually quite banal. To me “creativity” simply means to do (=“create”) something, probably to produce something new. The word “creativity” itself means nothing to me and is not magical, only what one actually does could be magical.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
That I can support myself by doing what I want to do.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
A romantic realist, or a pragmatic idealist … something along that.
Do you have a favorite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
I believe that there is nothing that cannot have the potential to be interesting. Every topic, every situation, every thought and every person can become interesting if you look closely into it and explore it. Everything can reveal something about itself that is fascinating and endearing. The most boring topic or the most boring person might have surprises waiting for you if you engage with a curious mind. If you can make them speak to you sincerely and if you have learned to listen, they might even reveal more mystery than the things that are obviously attractive at first glance. What is interesting depends on oneself looking at things. It is what we choose and what we engage with that becomes interesting.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
If you seek you won’t find, but if you do you are already there.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
That I had much more powers than I thought that I had.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
If something more interesting came along. In this spirit I want to finish this interview with a quote of the great Oskar Wilde: “I can resist everything except temptation”.
All images © Bela Borsodi