Suren Manvelyan, photographer, on his picture, ‘Listening to Snow’.
GB Tell me why you chose this picture.
SM I suppose that this is one of my best photographs. I think I managed to achieve a balanced composition and capture the emotion of the moment at the same time. When you look at the photograph, first you notice the face of the man, then you follow his sight, then go down to the right corner and after then come back to man again via the line of the curved fence. And so on. That is why your sight remains in the frame of the photo. I can look at this picture for a very long time. And emotions create the atmosphere of the picture in the way that it is filled with adoration and admiration.
GB Do you know the man in the picture? Does that have an affect on the beauty of it for you?
SM I know who is he, but I don’t know him personally. It does not affect the beauty for me.
GB The title is so evocative. Do you think that changes our perception of the beauty of this image?
SM The title is a reference to the emotions that the man is experiencing. In fact, in a way, it’s an explanation of the source of the emotions. It seems to me that he is not only looking but also listening to something.
GB Is our human interaction with snow more beautiful to you than snow itself?
SM If nobody sees snow it is not beautiful! Beauty exists only through the person who admires it.
GB Was beauty one of your aims in taking this picture? Is that something you think about much in your work?
SM I didn’t have time to think about anything when I took this picture, because I needed to capture the moment. It was only for a second or two that the man stood there.
GB What makes something worthy of the word Beauty to you?
SM For me beauty is in the harmonic interaction of every ingredient of a picture. With this one the composition, light and shadow, emotions, actions, intentions, colours, subject, the story, the movement of objects, all work together.