ROMMY GHALY.

AN INTERVIEW.

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You seem to have a huge interest in the life of the city. Why is that?

I grew up in New York and always loved city life. Cities are humankind’s greatest collaboration, places where everyone comes together and belongs and can be a part of something bigger than themselves. I love to observe the way communities and lives evolve in cities, both good and bad. It’s a pleasure to photograph.

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What is your best and worst experience as a photographer?

I can’t name any one best or worst experience. When I occasionally capture candid moments, I inevitably get caught, yelled at and threatened. On the flip side, those moments can often result in the best photos; the most honest moments.

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How would you define Photography, what does it mean to you?

Photography to me, in the broadest sense, is the crossroads between reality and art. I can walk down the street on any given day and experience reality as it exists, but when I lift that camera up to my face I’m, for a brief moment, crossing over into the realm of something less real. The ability to see and capture something that is more beautiful/interesting/painful than it appears in our everyday reality is the essence of photography.

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Is there a specific camera you never go out without? If so, which one and why?

I collect old cameras, so I often switch it up. But if there’s one camera I’ve been going out with the most, it’s definitely my Rolleiflex 2.8E. It takes the best photos of any camera I own and happens to be one of the oldest cameras in my collection.

You’ve lived in many different cities. Do you feel affected by the culture of each city and how has that changed your view as an artist?

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My entire perspective is fuelled by the fact that I’ve lived in many different cities. From New York, I took in the street culture. San Francisco helped me to better appreciate urban beauty and great food. Stockholm taught me about great urban design. Berlin immersed me in the arts. Living in Vancouver, I tend to see things differently than others do, probably because I’m seeking out the things that make this city different from the others. So my photos tend to be less traditional than those I typically see of Vancouver.

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Could you give us a list of 10 things that have been an inspiration to you lately?

My musical inspirations have been Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, and Thelonious Monk. I’ve been reading lots of Beat literature by Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg. I’ve been admiring lots of photography by Wallace Berman, Sanne Sannes, Daido Moriyama, Norm Wong, and Ren Hang. Sorry, I think that’s 11.

Interview by Callikrati Oleg Nozdryon

http://vancouverish.com/

http://rommy.gha.ly/

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