Interview with Daniel Antalfi
BIFA 2020 Winner, 1st Place, Professional Event category – “Ode to Fighter“
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background?
My name is Daniel Antalfi. I am a professional photographer, I was studying photography in a private institute and literature at the University Vienna. In my final master thesis, I was investigating the connection between photography and literature. In 2018, I won the first Austrian Leica Photography competition, which was followed by a yearly cooperation with the company Leica. On an everyday life basis, I am a studio/event/theatre-photographer. As an artist, I am trying to discover the language behind photography, expressing emotions and feelings through my personal narrative.
Q: What was your last project and what inspired you to start it?
One of my last projects was a series about a Hungarian theatre class. The kids at the age of 17-18 were rehearsing two different plays, and I´ve been with them through a year of the process, trying to figure out how a play builds up. I wanted to catch the moment when a young actor/actress realizes his/her true character and gives up her/his real-life identity. How a short, Hungarian schoolboy turns to be Thor (one of the plays was about nordic mythology). Eventually we made a small exhibition in their school and they graduated.
Q: What genre of photography do you enjoy most?
Basically I love every kind of photography, from studio portraits to sport shots. A great still could be made in every genre. But if I would have to highlight my personal favourite, that would be the genres around art. Cinema photography, theatre photography, concert shots, a series made for a novel, or made about a painter during his/her creating process. Everything that is connected somehow to other art forms.
Q: Your work Ode to The Fighter provides us a glimpse into the world of Muay Thai. How did the idea come to make a photo series about these fighters? What inspired you?
I´ve always been a huge fan of the Kickboxer movies. It was clear to me that if one day I make it to Thailand, I have to be a part of an event like that. Before my trip I was emailing many of the boxing stadiums without any success, but when I arrived there, it was pretty easy to get in. No one really cared about my camera either, so I could work free. I wanted to draw an explicit picture about a night like that, focusing on the sport. Reflecting the beauty and the brutality at the same time. That night was a beautiful, dreamlike memory to me.
Q: You won the Events Photographer of the Year 2020 title. What does winning this award mean to you?
It is an honour and a great confirmation to me. It means I am good at what I’m doing and I have to keep doing it.
Q: You must have travelled to many interesting places in your work. What place would you say was the most interesting for you and why?
Honestly, so far I´ve been travelling mostly in Europe. I´m not that really into travel photography, I believe a good photographer finds great motives in an empty room too. But it is true, Thailand was like a dream to me. Next to Thailand, Russia was my second furthest destination so far, which I´ve enjoyed a lot too. I think I mostly enjoyed the attitude of the people towards photography. Unlike European people, the Russian and even more Thai people were smiling at me and wanted to be in the picture as they realized I’m taking a shot. They were proudly participating. This was a different kind of connection.
Q: What would be your dream project in photography if there were no limits and you could travel anywhere, photograph anything/anyone?
I love movies. My dream project/work would be in Hollywood. Shooting for the film industry, portraits of the actors and actresses, on- and behind-the-scenes. Or working for a football club like Real Madrid. I think I could find some really interesting perspectives of the artists or the athletes.
Q: What advice would you give to photographers just starting out in this industry?
Find your voice. I think there are so many of us nowadays, that the most important thing is to do things differently. To see things differently, a way only you can see them.
Q: Are you working on something new right now? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Right now I am living the “boring” life of a professional photographer. Tons of events, family portraits, seminars. But whenever I have some free time I am working on my analog portfolio. There are some great festivals I would love to get in with some of my series. I am using 5-6 different cameras, discovering a lot of different films, and trying to build up my own, personal, analogue narrative style.