THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Q1 - Can you give us a bit of background about yourself? Who are you, where do you come from, what have you done to date?
I was born and raised in a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere in western Germany - 600 people, a couple of cows, some horses. I moved to Berlin with some of my closest childhood friends in 2000 when I was 20. Since then, I managed to build a career in communication and storytelling. Today, I’m an independent communication strategist and content creator. Working on social, political, and cultural issues. Other than that, I co-founded two independent print magazines in the last couple of years - a German language cultural magazine and an English language magazine about Syrian arts and culture in exile. During my younger adult years, I played guitar in a couple of post-rock bands. Oh, and I had a bespoke wine import/delivery business between 2010 and 2014 as a side project. Cheers to that! :)
Q2- Do you call yourself a photographer?
I wouldn’t even call myself a photographer. It’s still a new field for me, I got my first serious camera last year, and I still feel like I’m just messing around with visuals. That doesn’t mean that I’m not spending a lot of time doing it and dedicate myself to it. Once you start to focus on a certain aesthetic while taking photos it’s hard to walk the streets without seeing something that’s worth taking a photo all the time. It can be obsessive. That makes me obsessed full-time in photography and a dedicated part-time photographer.
Q3 - What are your hobbies?
Well, I spend a lot of time eating, drinking, and cooking and thinking about eating, drinking and cooking. Sounds like a cliché, I know. But it gives me so much joy, when I eat and cook with friends, kids, or just prepare a solo dinner on a Sunday afternoon while sipping a Negroni. I could totally live the life of an Italian mama (note to myself: that’s for the reincarnation Wishlist!). Wine is particularly important for me and right now I’m having a big love affair with natural / low intervention wines. Traveling is essential to my happiness and so is music which includes playing the guitar and the ukulele. I could add “reading books” to this list but that would make me so goddamn ordinary… food, travel, books… oh, Christ! At least I’m not doing yoga…
Q4 - What camera equipment do you use?
I’m using an iPhone 6s and a Olympus OM D E M10 Mark 3. A perfect camera for someone who’s is a total rookie, like me :) Lot’s of automatic presets, but also all the opportunities to manually adjust all the pro stuff.
Q5 - What does photography mean to you?
It took me almost all my life to figure out that it can be a one of my creative expressions. I only started considering it being a real thing around 18 months ago. It now means a lot to me: documenting the surreal beauty of everyday sceneries, getting lost while taking photos, working on the post production, learning new skills, connecting with a community of likeminded people. I also learned that when I take photos, I engage in the moments more intensely and more sustainably. That came as a surprise because in the past I almost aggressively harassed people who took photos while traveling or being at a dinner. I always thought it’s a pointless distraction from really(!) enjoying a moment. When Instagram became a thing, I made a huge point of giving a shit about it. Well, and here I am, your social photographer :)
Q6- Why do you like taking photos?
I like the idea of photographing a moment and then tweaking it as much as possible, until it’s almost surreal. I call it “landscapes on steroids”. I add my imagination as a layer on top of the original photograph. How pink can pink be? How pastel could a sunrise be before it gets unrealistic? I add my interpretation to the reality. Photos allow me to share the way I see the world.
Q7 - What is your favourite photograph?
Damn, that’s a hard one. A couple of years ago Manhattan suffered from a major electricity blackout. Back then, someone took a photo of Manhattan from a helicopter or whatever…the photo displays lower Manhattan in pitch dark. There’s something magical, fragile to this photo that gives me the chills time and again.
Q8 - Do you think photography is art?
I think photography can be a tool you can use for artistic expression. But I wouldn’t say taking photos necessarily is art. Like cooking can be utterly artistic but also just a way to feed (or poison!) someone…
Q9 - If you had to inspire someone to pursue their art. What would tell them?
There is nothing more liberating and satisfying than artistic expression. It does extraordinary things to your brain, it opens paths to new thinking and unexpected perspectives. It also helps a lot with dealing with emotions no matter how bright or dark they are. It brings joy to other people and it allows you to grow with your art. It makes you part of a community of like-minded creators. I hope that’s inspiring?
Q10 - And finally - what do you think about wefofo?
When you guys approached me last summer, I immediately loved the idea. I know what it takes to find a good printer and to advertise and distribute a physical creative product. Having a platform that takes care of all those things is super helpful. From a client’s perspective: People want unique things to decorate their homes or offices and they usually don’t have the money to buy expensive art. I think platforms like wefofo offer an accessible path to a new world of photography for everyone. What’s not to love about it?