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Karim Bouchareb : connecting to nature through fine art photography

by Editor Marius Cinteză
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 10th of December 2021


“By practicing the art of photography I’ve come to see the world differently and also my perception of what is important and worthwhile in life, changed.”  ~Karim Bouchareb~


Karim Bouchareb  is an Algerian fine-art photographer fascinated by nature and the magic of Earth. He started by taking friends and family pictures and end up realizing that the photography is not just a simple hobby, but a whole world full of secrets who challenged him to dig deeper and find out more every day!

I invite you to discover more about Karim and his amazingly surreal and dramatic works in the interview below!


'Inspired tree'


Karim, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!
I’m a photographer from Algeria specialized in fine art and mood photography. I work as a legal representative in a company operating within iron industry. I love nature, which inspires me and is a main source in my work and I also like art and music. Travelling and exploring new places and different cultures is my hobby and my ultimate goal is to capture the true beauty of the nature around us.


'Lovely boat'


When have you realized that you would like to start a photographic journey?
I started digital photography in 2015. It was something ordinary - I photographed special events at the level of friends and family and then I evolved to document sites and scenes; I always loved to take photos and wanted to share the beauty around me with the whole world. I was shooting without understanding the technique very much, but little by little I learned from my mistakes. With the time passing I discovered that the world of photography is a wide world! I have been tirelessly exploring the scenes of nature, trying to capture those magical moments and transform them into amazing pieces of art.


'The wild coast 2'


For many of us the photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with the photography?
Engaging with photography helps me cultivate the inner creativity and engage more meaningfully with the world around. This kind of practice has a way of activating the brain and stimulating the inner creativity that makes life more interesting personally. By practising the art of photography I’ve come to see the world differently and also my perception of what is important and worthwhile in life, changed - there is indescribable beauty of nature!


'The wild coast'


What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
I’m very attracted to black and white photography, this is why I consider my transition from colour photography to black and white as the biggest experience to me. I found that black and white photography attracts me the most; I have the opportunity to focus more on the lines, contrast and light. This kind of photography thus contains the simplicity and purity which I like very much!


'Covid 19'


How do you maintain and grow your passion for photography?
To develop my passion of photography, once I've reached some level of success I enjoy it as much as I can but I try to avoid becoming self-satisfied and I do my best to grow. I am also keen to benefit from my previous experiences and also to participate in photo forums discussion and photo exhibitions, as much as I can.


'Mystic river'


Can you please describe in a few words your photographer philosophy and mission?
For me it’s all about the feeling and mood of being there, of taking the viewer to the place of the photo to make him/her feel like I did when the shot was taken. When I experience these sensations as I am taking the shot, I know the viewer will do the same, as he/she looks at the image. One can say that when you ask people what mood they feel when looking at a given photo, you might elicit as many different responses as the number of people you ask. Whatever the case, do whatever you can to try to attract viewers to feel as they were there and experience what it was like when the shot was taken.


'Winter snow'


Your compositions are abundant in dark tones, mystery and drama. What makes you so drawn to this type of photography?
I'm a fan of the classical and dramatic art schools, which is reflected in my works. I have felt the intensity of the emotional charge that conveys my feelings, which I consider one of the secrets of the poetic in my works. As Einstein said: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science..."


'Moody seascape'


What do you think is the main challenge in your photography?
The main challenge is how to make a picture that touches the soul and create emotions. I think that the euphoria in which I took my pictures is no lower in intensity than writing a poem by a mood poet. Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving!


'The curious bird'


What is your most important advice to a beginner photographer?
In addition to the basics of photography, such as studying and mastering image composition and lighting techniques I would advise him/her to learn from processing tutorial videos, try to develop the own unique style, try to find the own vision… Also the other arts closer to photography must be explored. Finally: be creative! Do not try to copy others! Make your own masterpiece!


'Dusk till dawn'


Karim, what is more important to you: the story behind your images or the technical perfection?
I don't usually consider myself a photographer, but an art-maker. I think that something important in a picture is beyond pixels and graphs. It's just a distraction from making emotion and artistic feeling in the picture, so why do we get busy behind the technical perfection of the picture? What is the point of a technically distinct image without a story or imagination? We must control our emotions and our mindset in order to achieve the best results!


'Visual art and science Human'


What do you think are the secret ingredients for a remarkable mood photography?
Mood photography essentially relates to the lighting and the weather. I often based on a rustic character in my images where light and shadow interact, like old paintings; this style is often referred to as "mystical and poetic" photography mostly based on the contrast between shadows and light in the image, the goal being to create the soul and the drama in all these components. This technique directs the viewer's eye to a specific area in the frame and creates a dramatic mood by playing with shadows and light. Lighting, props, camera settings and the use of all work together to create the story you're trying to convey. Every image in artistic creation has deep roots in the unconscious, because behind this phenomenon that we observe in ourselves is a dark and unknown field full of psychological phenomena that we barely know about their complexity and altered repercussions.


'Duck on a misty pound'


Can you please tell us something more about your workflow from the idea until the final touch on the post-processed photography?

I always loved to take photos and wanted to share the beauty around me with the whole world. As a result, I became a professional fine art specialized in landscape and seascape photography. Planning a shot can take weeks or months; sometimes, I have to plan around my day job priorities, home and family commitments. There are many things to keep in mind and I have to plan the right time to leave when I photograph like inclement weather and ever-changing light; nature shots are different every time. Before I put on my hiking boots I try to make sure where I shoot and choose the time of day and lighting strategically. Morning and evening light is often best for taking pictures for me where the light is softer without harsh shadows. Also I keep revisiting places I’ve been to as there are always new ways to utilize a subject in a scene and think of new variations on a theme. When I'm at the location I don’t get stuck on one composition, I try explore every possible composition in the area. If you’re not ready you’ll miss lots of opportunities. I find it helpful to spend the extended time behind my camera to create these images because it allows me to better connect with my subjects. I create my art during the evening - this is the best time for meditation and relaxation for me and a perfect ending to my day. I choose my photo in raw format and start to create my digital art in the Photoshop or Silver Efex Pro. I can only imagine a result I want but I never know what exactly it will turn into in the end, I just create until I like the result. Sometimes I have to start it over again and again.


'Moody seascape'


Where do you look for to find inspiration for the visual stories you want to convey by your photo works?
Sometimes disconnecting from the world and connecting ourselves with nature allows us to find inspiration. It's a place for us to find what we have lost, and start to move forward again. Besides, reading some literature and art books helps me to focus and translate all the related signals into a creative form.


'Wild coast'


Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what is the gear you use (camera, lenses, etc.)?
My camera system is relatively old. I use a Canon 70D and the 18-35 MM f1.8 Sigma Art lens for 80% of my images. I'm not very obsessed with photography gear, I am of the opinion that the expensive cameras or Photoshop skills are not as important as finding your own vision in photography.


'Deep forest'


Karim, you were awarded many time so far for your creative works (Siena Photo Awards 2020 included). What does this mean for you and your career and how this influenced your artistic vision?

That’s very interesting - that award in the competition "Siena award" was something important and meant a lot for my career! I like to participate in competitions, there are many interesting works out there. I advise all my creative friends to participate in contests because when you see a lot of good works, your own work gets better and better over time!


'insomnia p2'


What would be your favourite photo from the last years? Please share with us the story behind it.
My favourite photo, without doubt, it's "The Stranger" that I took in the countryside mountainous located in Taref (Algeria). I have chosen this place very carefully, especially because it is isolated and has a lot of fog and the spirituality that I look for, along with the railway that make a good composition for the image.


'The stranger'


Who are your favourite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?
I cannot name one photographer only, there were several photographers that inspired me and represent a different niche in photography. I obviously can mention Ansel Adams and Michael Kenna whose works influenced me and my photography.


'Bird river'


Now, since we almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or photographic projects you would like to involve in the future.
For the future I want to exhibit my artworks and I look forward to working with galleries around the world and win more competitions and prizes!


'The last boat'



'Into the silent sea'



'Mystery lake'



'The village part 2'



'Loney tree'



'In the middle of field'



'Wild coast p2'



'inside the fogs, many of memories and facts'



'walking in the rain'



'Lovely tree'






'Travel to the infinite'


questa è la fotografia che mi piace di più di tutte
Fantastic images from you Karim, they all have a special atmosphere and represents clearly your skills and your unmistakable handwright ! Congratulations for that fine interview !
inspiring :)
Amazing works, congratulations.
Beautiful and inspiring
Brilliant works of art, talented and very finely crafted.
Excellent works and fine article ... congratulations !
Thank you, Luc!! :-)
txules PRO
congrats, fascinating gallery
Thank you for sharing your emotions Karim. It is a great source of inspiration for me. I admire your great work
Especially your work Waves is a strong artful statement for me ! Have my recognition!
Congratulations Karim.. It is truly a joy to watch the magical pictures of nature.
Beautiful work, Karim !!! Thanks for this fine interview and nice collaboration. Cheers, Yvette