Elegant but Edgy

Interview with Victor Koos – Photographer and Graphic Artist in Detroit, MI

In the continuing series of interviews with photographer friends of ours, we would like to introduce Victor Koos, who calls Detroit, MI home. We met Vic through the online photo site Flickr several years ago and have become good friends. We visited Vic and many other great photographers in August 2011 and are heading back up there in November 2011 to hang out, shoot another friend’s wedding and explore some of the interesting sights that Detroit has to offer.

Meltphace 6 by Victor Koos (VK3Photographix)) on 500px.com
Meltphace 6 by Victor Koos

Vic, we’d like to hear some of your thoughts on things, especially photography, Detroit, music and your ongoing projects!

  1. When and how did you get started with photography, and how did you get so good at post processing techniques?

VK: As far as I can remember, I’ve always had a camera in my hand. I got that from my Father at a young age. College is when I decided to take it more seriously and figured I should probably take some classes so I could develop my own prints. In terms of post processing, I think it is a life long ongoing learning process. I don’t think you ever get to a point where you say, “Ok, I can’t go any further.” That said, that makes it somewhat of a struggle. I look at techniques I came up with a few months ago that I was really happy with, and now see flaws. I guess I always feel I need to improve and that’s what makes me successful with the processing.

Rachel: Noise IV by Victor Koos (VK3Photographix)) on 500px.com
Rachel: Noise IV by Victor Koos
  1. What’s your favorite subject matter to photograph? What do you attempt to capture when you set out to shoot?

VK: That is probably the most difficult question for me to answer. I can say I don’t like shooting flowers or cats. As what I like to shoot? Really it’s what is in front of me. Of course I love photographing people. However, they aren’t always at your disposal. I spend so much time in Detroit, so I shoot what is there. I try to be honest. I shoot the abandoned buildings because I think they are beautiful in their own right. Of course they are part of Detroit whether I like it or not. At the same time I try to catch the hidden gems that people, even 15 minutes outside of Detroit, don’t even know about. To make it simpler, I guess you could say I like shooting my environment. Of course, its up to me not to get stuck in one place.

History by Victor Koos (VK3Photographix)) on 500px.com
History by Victor Koos
Own the Sky by Victor Koos (VK3Photographix)) on 500px.com
Own the Sky by Victor Koos
  1. We know you have some projects in the works, can you tell us a little bit about it?

VK: A while back I decided to start a photography book showcasing some of my work. Gradually the subject matter turned to a mix of design and photography. Visually, I want people to see sound in the imagery. Hence the title of the book is Visual Resonance, which was influenced by a project I was assigned to do back in school that asked us to show sound through images. Some of the imagery is going to be rather simple, maybe showing actual film noise, others will have more graphic elements added. The vast majority of the photos will consist of people who have volunteered to take part, all of which I am very grateful, since the book will be printed by blurb with all extra profits going to Autism Speaks.

Shannon: Noise by Victor Koos (VK3Photographix)) on 500px.com
Shannon: Noise by Victor Koos
  1. You live in Detroit, what are your feelings on the so called “urban decay” and what inspires you about the area?

VK: I have mixed feelings to be honest. It’s a double-edged sword. I love shooting the urban decay because let’s face it, Its almost like a fantasy world. One of which I wasn’t used to growing up. Then again, I question whether I contribute to all the outside negativity that is placed on Detroit by doing so. I post a photo of Hitsville USA next to a photo of the MCS (Michigan Central Station) and everyone wants to talk about the decay of the latter. What inspires me is with all the negativity; there is still plenty of hope. I love the art scene and the core group of photographers in the Detroit area. Its like no other. There is a lot going on in that aspect that I wish more people knew about. That’s why I loved the Palladium Boots documentary on Detroit with Johnny Knoxville. Say what you will about Knoxville, it was one of the more honest unbiased documentaries I’ve ever seen. Sure it shows the decay and ruin, but at the same time it shows the vibrant art scene and the young entrepreneurs Detroit has to offer.

It may never be perfect, it still can be great

  1. Where do you see yourself going with your work over the next couple of years?

VK: Wow. Another tough question. My thought process for my work is generally present day. I’m always in the now. With my work schedule, I lack sufficient sleep so its hard to focus forward. Hell, the outcome of a photo usually differs greatly from the original idea. Even if I said “Over the next to years I want to explore this” chances are I would explore “that”. Hopefully I don’t have a nervous breakdown and end up shooting flowers and cats.

Mia by Victor Koos (VK3Photographix)) on 500px.com
Mia by Victor Koos
  1. Tell us a secret, we promise to publish it!

VK: I prefer Miracle Whip


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images with us Vic!

Vic also happens to have a fantastic sense of humor and is an all around cool guy.  We are really happy to call him and his wife Rachel friends, and can’t wait to see them again.

You can see and follow more of Vic’s awesome work here.



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