I always wanted to be a photographer.
This wish was already clear at the end of my school years.
For me there were no alternatives after I saw for the first time how a white sheet of paper, which is put into some kind of liquid, creates a picture as if by magic. A lasting impression in the mid-1980s in a school friend’s improvised lab.
I gained my first practical experience in the studio of Henner Prefi in Frankfurt, who was later my professor and mentor during my studies at the FH Darmstadt. A good time, exciting and thrilling. And even then, not a nine-to-five job. You have to love and live this profession. In many ways, then, it is a calling.
And for me, still as exciting and thrilling as the first day.
The focus of my training at that time was in the area of still life and product photography. At some point I wanted to have people in front of the camera.
Today, I do that mostly. Portraits and generally referred to people photography.
In private projects I also like to photograph houses, trees, rivers, clouds or simply landscapes. Or things that are lying in the street and that maybe no one but me notices anymore. I experiment with multiple exposures or whatever the technique happens to yield. I can get excited about spontaneous image effects, so I don’t have to be strategically meticulous about a project. I’m a friend of the coincidence . At least with personal work.
At work I am highly focused, passionate but not pedantic. Well, maybe sometimes.
I like close ups. Even in my portraits. I would like to immerse myself in faces, perceive their history and make it visible in my pictures.
That’s why I always wanted to be a photographer. With no alternative.
ALLEGRO by Anton Corbijn, Schirmer/Mosel, 1991
The first book by Corbijn in a very handy format to have always with you!!! For me at the time a little pocket bible, an inspiration that suddenly revealed new approaches to portrait photography. Classical portraits next to very experimental works. But it is better not to speak of classic when one considers Corbijn’s work. It’s different, it’s special. I wanted to do that too and most of all I wanted to know how some of the pictures were done, from a purely technical point of view. Exciting tasks that I wanted to solve. This booklet was the initial spark for me to an admiration for this photographer that continues to this day.
25 years later, Anton Corbijn signed my small copy of Allegro at his vernissage at the Galerie Anita Beckers in Frankfurt. He seemed very pleased and almost sentimentally touched that the book is still receiving recognition. He told me to take good care of it. It’s now “out of print” and I pay close attention to it.
PASSAGE by Irving Penn, Alfred A. Knopf/Callaway 1991
Irving Penn is for me the perfect photographer, a universal genius of photography. Passage is the reference book for me. This book covers almost all areas of photography. At least the ones that were interesting to me at the time and probably still are. Penn is a magician. He manages to unite all genres within his photography, truly portraying flowers and other products, turning faces into stillifes, and giving frozen foods a face.
For me a very important work, because it combines everything that can actually be photographed in a wonderful and poetic way. Penn is also meditation for me, though. I find peace in his motifs. His images have certainly shaped my unagitated approach to photography.
COINCIDENCES by Sarah Moon, Arena Editions, 2001
Sarah Moon is pure poetry. Melancholy, illusion, romance, dream.
She takes you out of the sometimes harsh reality into a world of wonder and fantasy. Into a world of one’s own desires and fears.
Sarah Moon paints emotions. She photographs the soul. I’m a firm believer that you can’t just photograph her subjects – you have to feel them.
I’m almost inclined to say “this isn’t right”! Or, to quote Poe (hopefully it was Poe!), “All that we see or seem is but a Dream within a Dream.”
Your camera has a life of its own, a heart.
Coincidences has me running, searching, and maybe finding.
This is a book I need to sift through from time to time when reality gets too real.