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Karim Bouchareb's mysterious and nostalgic work

Interview / tutorial by Editor  Michel Romaggi in collaboration with the author Karim Bouchareb 
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 29th of June 2022


Karim's photos are full of mystery and nostalgia. His landscapes, most often empty and misty in an uncertain light, plunge us into a dreamlike world. I asked Karim to open the entry door for us.


“First attempt”


Can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you became a photographer?

My name is Karim Bouchareb, I’m Algerian, and I’m an art vision photographer. I also work as a legal representative in a company. The beginning of my photography journey began six years ago. I started by taking phone shots, simple pictures, often from nature and especially whenever I was visiting the home town of my ancestors. I was keen to be out with my phone. The mist there is wonderful, and it obliterates background intrusions and emphasizes the sober shapes of the trees.


“Lonely tree”


What does photography mean to you?

To me, photography is more than a hobby. I find it an outlet to express my inner feelings. In a few words, I’m trying to create my own world and translate my thoughts and  philosophy into creative images full of emotions.


Why did you choose B&W in most of your work?

Black and white photography has a special charm and lustre, as it is characterized by neutrality and professionalism. It highlights more the details in the image and directs the eye to the essence away from distracting colours.

From an aesthetic point of view, the reason why I prefer this type of photography lies mainly in finding and discovering the missing angles, as it depends heavily on the contrast between light and dark which make up the story of creating an image. I love the drama, the mystery, the passion and atmosphere you get out of it.


“Deep forest”


What equipment do you use?

Photography equipment is very important for every photographer. In my case,  I use a Camera Canon 70D with sigma art 18/35 mm F1.8 lenses, plus the standard photography equipment such as a tripod, filters, flash, remote control etc.


About the picture “First attempt”, why did you choose this title?

I chose this title for a most obvious reason: it was my very first picture in this kind of creative photography. I'm striving to reach a level of excellence in this field like many great photographers such as Simona Sas and 1x member Daniel Castonguay (dankastudios) have achieved. Of course, I also love street photography which fascinates me a lot.


 “Mountain range”


What did you intend to convey through it?

I wanted to make it clear in this picture that the road of life is very bumpy and difficult. The period of youth will not last forever, and its vitality passes in a fleeting moment, so we must seize these moments before we grow old. One can achieve that by doing beautiful things, the way to make the best out of life. 


Under what circumstances did you take this photo?

It happened very spontaneously and the picture was telling the story by itself. The characters were not at all pre-orchestrated. You can’t control your environment, but you can control the camera. You are the one who decides about the exact moment to take a photo. Additionally, I think it's really important to be sure to take all your pictures in a respectful way.


What camera settings did you use?

Settings: Lens 1.8 mm, iso 200, f2/8 aperture Shutter Speed 1/13s.

Multiple images and more layers in Photoshop.
When shooting, I'm always trying to use the camera in manual mode and unfocused; I'm adjusting the aperture so you have plenty of light.


What was the post-process to get this misty, vintage effect that we can see in some more pictures of yours?

The “misty” look in my images is probably the result of some internal reflections caused by strong light entering the lens or is due to the choice of the shooting places. The effect is especially visible during a cold winter, full of mystery. It might also be a consequence of raising the level of brightness in the post process.

The use of effects on photographs appears beautifully, especially when paired with a grape green, blue, or brown (vintage), which gives your photos a feeling of nostalgia and a warm burgundy colour inspired by the effects of mysterious old films. I'm using Photoshop to create adjustments, layers and blending styles to create multiple image manipulations. I want my work to look a bit like a painting. The main purpose behind the latter was to give the image a visual foundation, which can help draw viewers into the mist.

To make my photos look misty, vintage, and dreamy, I follow these steps:
I plan the shoot ahead of time for the best results.
I Reduce the clarity of the photo using Camera Raw
I Add a radial blur filter
I Increase the exposure and vibrancy
I Add the Orton effect
I Add Old textures with grit and grain
These steps give me a lovely, soft, dreamy haze, more drama and emotions.


“The wild coast”


Thank you very much for sharing with us a bit of your photographic universe; dear Karim.


Thank you for sharing.
Mind blowing images
Very interesting interview, lovely photo selection, many thanks Yvette and Karim.
Proud of you dear teacher ❤️
Proud of you dear teacher ❤️
Proud of you dear teacher ❤️
Proud of you Karim your special concept is mystery
Thank you for these details which allow us to better understand your creations. Congratulations for this article.
Thank you, Karim, for this presentation of your outstanding and original artistic vision! Congratulations! Thank you, Yvette, for introducing us to Karim's work!
Many thanks for your appreciation, Ludmila!
Congratulations on this excellent magazine article! Thank you for sharing your great work and the explanation of your working method!!
Thank you for sharing your work and skills Karim! You've got a lovely play with light in your images! Thanks Karim, and also Yvette!
Thanks a lot, Gaby !
appreciate the blur and tips on technique. fantastic
With pleasure I read this article! I really like this blur, I see and don't see that it gives you a chance to dream what will be there. It's a gorgeous image style that touches the heart. Thank you for sharing your valuable work and thank you Yvette and Michel for your inspiring introductions to members
Thanks a lot, dear Francesca !
With great pleasure I read this article! Karim, I am always amazed by your work- I love this blur, this "fog" that overlays almost all your images! It is a wonderful style of images that always touches me deeply! Thank you for sharing and thank you Yvette and Michel for giving me a wonderful start to the day!
Glad this makes your day, dear Susanne !