JRP: Ivor Karabatkovic is a young photographer specializing in photojournalism. I happened to come across him on the Fred Miranda site. His images are captivating to say the least. I am happy that he consented to share his thoughts and photography with us.
Thanks Ivor for this opportunity to talk with you.
Ivor Karabatkovic: Thank you for this opportunity to tell my story!
JRP: You are currently a student. What is your major?
Ivor Karabatkovic: I’m a photojournalism major, and hope to graduate from Ohio University. I’m currently attending a Community College outside of Cleveland to get my English and Math out of the way. It will be about a year until I can transfer to OU (if I’m accepted, of course!).
JRP: How did you get started in photography? Is it something that you have always wanted to pursue?
Ivor Karabatkovic: My dad was always into photography and has a Nikon FM3a that I sometimes used as a kid. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in High School where I became involved with my high school paper and fell in love with sports photography amongst other genres like Macro and Landscape photography.
I used to play sports but then had knee surgery before entering High School. I figured sports photography would allow me to think and anticipate like I’m in the game. To capture the peak action instead of running up and down the court or field like a maniac. I actually get more of an adrenaline rush taking photos than playing the sport.
JRP: Photojournalism … what motivated you to pursue that kind of photography?
Ivor Karabatkovic: I have a long background with a lot of experiences so I like hearing what other people have gone through and portraying that in some way. To be able to inform the viewer or reader is a powerful tool, and I’m able to do so with my photography and writing. There’s nothing more satisfying than telling a story through images, or sometimes getting a story within a story that is overlooked. Possibilities are endless. You just have to take things in with a wide angle view.
Ultimately, my goal is to provide people with meaningful, captivating work that informs as well.
JRP: What was your first assignment like? How did you approach things then and what do you do different now?
Ivor Karabatkovic: Oh man! Memories! It was a high school volleyball match and I had a DSLR camera that our school paper used and I had no idea how to use it. I found myself going blindly to events without knowing much about the events. Now I know almost all of the rules of all the sports, and all of the players and coaches and their antics. I guess it comes with spending time with the players and coaches. I’ve been lucky that the players have all been friends and classmates that I grew up with, so I know all the personalities.
I think the biggest thing that I do is I try to have a game plan for sporting events, whether it be a significant stat or record or achievement. If you have a solid peak action photograph, an overview of the event and also a high emotion or a goofy shot you’ll be set. Variety is key because the viewer won’t be bored.
JRP: Looking in your camera bag what would I find?
Ivor Karabatkovic: Well being a student there’s not much money going into my gear right now. I work with a Canon 20D, and an EF 200mm f/2.8 L prime. I also have a Sigma 15-30mm lens, a Sigma 75-300mm 4-5.6 lens, the 18-55mm Kit Lens that came with the camera, and the Nifty Fifty (50mm 1.8).
The 200mm stays on my camera most of the time. I used to do my sports shooting with an OLD Canon 70-210mm f/4 until I lost it. The thing was released in 1989, the same year I was born. My results were not bad indoors shooting at f/4.
I guess it’s knowing your gear and its limits and how to achieve what you want to achieve with the gear that you have. My budget is always tight.
JRP: What type of editing software do you use?
Ivor Karabatkovic: I use Photoshop CS2 and Lightroom for RAW images. I’m really happy with LR right now, even though I rarely shoot in RAW. When you’re shooting high school baseball it’s not as important to shoot RAW as it is when you’re shooting a Presidential Candidate rally.
JRP: In photojournalism you must work with deadlines. How does that affect your production?
Ivor Karabatkovic: It boosts my production. I love working on deadlines because they help me get things done. Right now I’m extremely tired because I covered a Barack Obama Rally in Cleveland on Saturday. I spend Sunday editing photos, had two assignments on Monday, and then will be at the NBC Presidential Debate on Tuesday from 7 to whenever it’s over.
Then I have to edit those photos. Meanwhile, I’m a full time student and have to balance my homework and going to school in as well.
JRP: What has been your most memorable assignment to date?
Ivor Karabatkovic: I would have to say when Barack Obama came to Cleveland in February of 2007 right as he announced he was running for President. I had turned 18 years old on the 22nd of February, received my US Citizenship on the 25th of February. I saw Barack on the 26th of February, and I had a good feeling about him running back then. Everyone laughed, and now I sit back and get the last laugh. My intuition was right.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Ivor Karabatkovic: There are two tips. 1) Shoot tight, crop tighter … because it’s really effective to portray emotion, effort or movement that way.
Second it would be to shoot through the action. There are a lot of times where you can get a picture of a dunk for instance, and while checking to see if you got a photo of it miss the celebration in the stands, on the bench or on the court.
JRP: What advice would you offer to a young photographer starting out in photojournalism?
Ivor Karabatkovic: I’m really bad with advice. I’ve taken one photography class and that was my senior year of high school (I wanted to learn Darkroom Techniques). What I do is not what the average photographer does, but it works for me.
The main thing is to learn your equipment and what it can do. Learn more about the subjects you’re taking pictures of and most importantly emotion and detail are the biggest factors in story telling. If you educate yourself about the different techniques, you’ll naturally deviate from them and find something that works for you. It will help your photography at the end of the day.
JRP: Ivor thanks again for sharing your thoughts and photography with us. It has been an extreme pleasure to talk with you.
Ivor Karabatkovic: James thanks again for the opportunity.
JRP: To view more of Ivor Karabatkovic’s photography please go to these links: