Pastel colors reign supreme in Karen Khachaturov‘s dreamy conceptual worlds, and it’s a delight to get lost in the surreal imagery. Her journey to conceptual photography may have started only four years ago, but the 26-year-old photographer from Yerevan, Armenia, seems to have established her own creative style and visual flavor. Her formula may seem simple: curious characters, a splash of pastel hues, and a generous helping of clever, surreal elements. However, merely slapping everything together into hodgepodge won’t guarantee you’ll get the same eye-catching results.
The interview below with Karen may be short, but it is sweet, giving us some clues into the inspirations and influences behind her work. David Lachapelle, Tim Walker, and Miles Aldridge, to name a few. It’s also inspiring to learn from her that even if you’re not so much into gear (whether by choice or circumstance), it’s still possible to achieve excellent results by working with what you have, persevering with projects, exploring ideas, and studying work that resonate with you.
Digital Photo Pro: Hello Karen! Please share with us something about yourself and what you do.
Karen Khachaturov: I am Karen Khachaturov, and I’m a 26-year-old Armenia-based conceptual photographer.
Digital Photo Pro: How and when did you start as a photographer? How did you discover the genre and style that you are doing now?
KK: I started photography in the end of 2014. I was quite inspired by my friend. Lately, I started doing conceptual photography but it all started from my self-portraits.
Digital Photo Pro: Tell us about your go-to gear/favorite camera + lens combo. What makes them the ideal tools of the trade for you?
KK: I am not big fan of tech and what comes to photography I don’t really pay attention whether I shoot with an expensive camera or not. Most of the time, I even shoot on my iPhone, though my main camera is a Canon 7D with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I also love to shoot on 35mm film cameras.
Digital Photo Pro: Do you have a routine to keep yourself sharp and inspired for the kind of photography that you do?
KK: Among the first things that inspire me to create is of course music, movies, and other artists.
Digital Photo Pro: Who is/are your influences for photography and/or other creative pursuits? In what way/s have they made a mark on you and your craft?
KK: David Lachapelle, Tim Walker, and Miles Aldridge are the photographers that inspired me to start doing conceptual photography. I especially love the colors they use, as well as their ideas and compositions.
Digital Photo Pro: For you, what makes a compelling photograph?
KK: Good color match, soft light, composition, character, and of course, the concept.
Digital Photo Pro: What’s one photography advice that you wish you heard while you were still starting out?
KK: The best advise that I have been given is not to spend too much on equipment and spend instead on projects so I can make my portfolio grow.
Digital Photo Pro: Lastly, what’s one advice you can give to those who are just starting out and are yet to discover the genre and style they want to tap into?
KK: My advice would definitely be to work a lot and do research on a lot of works. Also, I want to give the same advice given to me: if they have a budget, they should use it to shoot for a project.