My grandmother gave me a push into the right direction to buy a camera while we were having coffee together on a Sunday afternoon. That was in 2007. From that moment on, photography has grown into an indispensable part of my life. Through photography I had the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people with whom I collaborated on great ideas and spent a fantastic time. Letting my imagination run wild and working with people, without being restricted by any external requirements is motivating me to go on. Photography means a lot to me, not only because it has changed me as a person, but because it just lifts me up, even if a day is not going so well. Just switch the camera on, switch the problems off and find myself again.
I’m autodidact. In 2007 I bought my first SLR camera. It was a Canon 400D with the Canon 50mm f/1.4. Since 2009 I am working only on people photography. I photograph only digital. In 2011 I bought my new baby the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. The 50mm and the 24-70mm are my favorite objectives.
I use the Canon 50mm f/1.4 outdoors only. If I work indoors I use the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Canon 50mm f/1.4 with a softbox from Proxistar 60 x 60 cm or a 95cm Phottix Oktagon Softbox with the Yongnuo YN-560 II speedlite. That’s it!
The only and important thing for me in order to make good pictures is to create a connection between the model and myself. If there is no connection I can’t take emotional pictures. That’s why the communication before every shooting is so crucial. With some models the connection is great from the first moment of meeting each other, but this doesn’t always happen. But that’s ok, too.
For me it is very interesting to work with the models until they trust me enough to let go. You can practically see how they become more themselves with every picture that I take. Other than that, I follow no fixed rules to take good pictures. Many things happen spontaneously. This is great, because from my experience, spontaneity brings the best results.
Good pictures don’t depend on the equipment, but on the eye to see the things in the right moment!
Heinz Hajek-Halke (1898–1983) was a German experimental photographer.
Hajek-Halke began with his first photo experiments in 1924, and was hired one year later by the news agency Presse-Photo (where he worked together with Willy Ruge). He also briefly cooperated with Yva (Else Neuländer). In 1933 Hajek-Halke was required by Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry to fake documentaries. He escaped, however, the grip of the Nazi party and moved as Heinz Halke to Lake Constance. There, he created scientific image series in the field of small animal biology. These were macro shots, which he made with an extremely large format camera. He also explored techniques of chemical and light manipulation in distortions and enlargements of his small subjects.
In 1937, Hajek-Halke travelled to Brazil where he produced, amongst others, a documentary about a snake farm. After his return to Germany, in 1939, he was conscripted by the German army and worked as an aerial and company photographer for the Dornier aircraft enterprises in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. After a short time as a French prisoner of war, Hajek-Halke started his own snake farm and made a living selling the snake venom to the pharmaceutical industry.
Chargesheimer’s photographic oeuvre includes both social documentary images of postwar Germany and more experimental endeavors that reveal his extensive technical knowledge of photography. Following World War II, Chargesheimer, who was born Karl-Heinz Hargesheimer, documented his native city of Cologne, photographing scenes of daily life and taking portraits of politicians and visitors to the city, including Louis Armstrong. “I want to photograph more and more of real life, so that I can show and explain to people things they cannot see for themselves, perhaps because they are too near them to see properly, or because they are afraid and run away from them,” the artist once said. In his more experimental works, Chargesheimer created abstract montages by applying chemicals directly onto photo paper and negatives.
Keetman’s extensive portfolio combined nature and motion studies, experiments, industrial and applied photography.
Peter Keetman (1916–2005) was a central figure in German post-war modern photography,
Characteristic of Keetman’s work is his continuous and imaginative exploration of the camera’s potential to create rather than just capture images.
Keetman’s photographs unite the period’s two main aesthetic currents: On one hand there is the modernist intention to form, experiment, and abstract – on the other hand there is the wish for a humanist relationship to the world as well as a turning towards reconstruction, the city, and nature, up to its most fundamental elements.
Keetman stated that he discovers the “great picture” in the smallest details – and translates them into abstract images.
His bold, black and white, high contrasting photographs become abstract as a result of looking so closely at unusual details of different items, often including mechanical structures with reflective surfaces.
I was born on January 7th 1971 in Erbach/Germany.
In 1991 after graduating from high school I decided to become a physical therapist which is my main profession today.
I have been living and working in Koblenz/Germany since 1995.
My passion for photography started in 1993 whilst traveling through the USA. My goal was to capture the stunning and varied beauty of the landscapes. This didn’t turn out to be quite as easy as I thought. My photographic failures motivated me to start learning. I taught myself in an autodidactical way with a Canon AE-1 Program camera with manual focus.
Having to set up the camera manually taught me how to be precise when adjusting the focus, metering and chosing the appropriate apertures.
In 1998 I purchased my first autofocus camera, again I chose a Canon which is the brand I still use today.
I started to show my pictures to a wider audience in 2005 with my first exhibition where I presented my early landscapes.
The decission to set up my first website in 2006 was also the start of my second line of business, nature photography.
My photographical subjects are landscapes, macros and wildlife.
I’ve also been teaching photography since 2016. My goal is to give people the opportunity to learn how to handle and understand their cameras.
My students learn all the aspects of photography including composing images and editing them with a computer.
Being at one with nature through my camera is my passion.
I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and love of photography with my photographs.
I feel rewarded when my pictures and teaching inspire those who follow my work.
Interview with Christian Zieg
Inhabiting a world of their own, Knop’s photographs radiate a boundless sensuality, time, space, and object seamlessly merge into one enhanced by a carefully restrained background, a timeless work of art emerges.
With my images I tell about me and my inner darks.
I am a photographer and visual artist from Germany. Mainly I work with self-portraiture, with different cameras and techniques, analog and digital. I am creating collages, mixing painting with photography and sometimes write little texts as an addition to my images.
My primary focus is on subjective and personal documentary, conceptual and fine art photography.
In various series and projects I deal with personal questions about identity, reality, perception and various forms of remembering.
In the process I am expressing mostly internal processes: The aching, disturbed and traumatized parts of life and identity are of particular importance for me in my work.
My visual language is associatively, lyrical and reduced and always with a spotlight on the personal, emotional and psychological meaning of an image
Ruth Bernhard was born in Berlin in 1905, and studied at the Berlin Academy of Art. After moving to New York in 1927, she began a career in commercial photography. Almost a decade later, she met Edward Weston, whose compelling images convinced her that photography was indeed a creative medium. In 1953, Bernhard moved to San Francisco where she continued to live and pursue her many photographic interests. Bernhard is associated with the history of Northern California’s wealth of eminent photographers, among them Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and Minor White. In a career spanning more than seven decades, she created an imposing body of work. Distinguished by their exquisite use of light, her images have been internationally recognized and acclaimed by her peers. Radiant still lifes and nude forms reflect her passionate search for the universal connection of all things.
Bernhard’s work has been exhibited and included in the permanent collections of major museums and universities in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico, and has been published worldwide.
Feininger combined an architect’s love of precision, space, and technique with an artist’s love of sweeping vistas. Although an American citizen, Feininger did not come to the United States until he was 33. Son of the late acclaimed artist Lyonel Feininger, he was born in Paris in 1906, and graduated with highest honors in architecture from schools in Germany. At the time, Feininger was using a camera as a reference aid in creating his building designs. The camera became his mechanical sketchbook.
Commissions were scarce for non-European citizens in the depressed economy. After a year’s work in France for the legendary architect Le Corbusier, followed by a struggle to find employment in Stockholm, Feininger turned his attention full-time to photography. He sold his first photos in 1932, moved with his family to the United States in 1939, and in 1943 became a staff photographer for LIFE magazine where he completed more than 430 assignments in a twenty year span.
Full of towering skyscrapers, broad swaths of road, and angles of geometric perfection, Feininger’s works are masterful in their technical excellence and panoramic grandeur. Such timeless images as New York Landscape Seen From Eight Miles Away in New Jersey, 1947 are notable for their harmony, balance, and grand scale. Through Feininger’s trained eye, the beauty and intricacies of both the natural and man-made world were magnified and intensified. From the broad span of bridges, exuding progress and power, to the symmetrical perfection of the skeleton of a carbon viper, Feininger’s images revealed a new aesthetic of order and geometric perfection. Even a seemingly utilitarian object like a doctor’s head mirror possesses mesmerizing, symbolic qualities when seen through Feininger’s lens.
Feininger had said that the city had attracted him since his earliest days as a photographer. But in time this love grew to include all the aspects of the city and its buildings, its people, its cars and traffic jams, its confusion and even its ugliness. I see the city as a living organism: dynamic, sometimes violent, and even brutal, he stated.
Peter Lindbergh is a German photographer and filmmaker. He currently maintains residences in Paris, Manhattan, and Arles. Peter was born on November 23, 1944 in Leszno, Poland. He spent his childhood in Duisburg.
After a basic school education he worked as a window dresser for the Karstadt and Horten department stores in Duisburg. At 18, he moved to Switzerland. Eight months later, he went from Lucerne to Berlin and took evening courses at the Academy of Arts. He hitchhiked to Arles in the footsteps of his idol, Vincent van Gogh. After several months in Arles, he continued through to Spain and Morocco, a journey that took him two years.
Returning to Germany, he studied Free Painting at the College of Art in Krefeld. In 1969, while still a student, he exhibited his work for the first time at the Galerie Denise René – Hans Mayer. Concept Art marked his last period of interest in art. In 1971 his interest turned toward photography and for two years he worked as the assistant to the Düsseldorf-based photographer, Hans Lux.
Peter Lindbergh moved to Paris in 1978 and started working internationally for Vogue, first the Italian, then the English, French, German, and American Vogue, later for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Allure, and Rolling Stone. His mostly black-and-white photographs, implement a pictorial language that takes its lead from early German cinema and from the Berlin art scene of the 1920s.
Adolf Fassbender (1884-1980) was born in Grevenbroich, Germany, a small town near Cologne. Before entering the military, he initially assisted a photographer in Freiburg, Germany and subsequently worked in Dresden (where he also studied drawing and painting), Vienna (where he began specializing in hand-colored miniature portraits), and Antwerp. In 1911, he immigrated to the United States. He was first employed by the Selby Sisters and in 1921 opened his own New York studio. For the next seven years, he produced commercial, illustrative, and portrait photographs, some of which were exhibited at national conventions of the Photographers’ Association of America. He closed the business in 1928.
At about this time, Fassbender became interested in pictorialism and began making creative pictures with the camera. He exhibited in pictorial salons for twenty years, beginning in 1925, when his work was first accepted by London’s Royal Photographic Society. He presented solo shows in 1934 at the Camera Club of New York and in 1951 at the Smithsonian Institution. He joined camera clubs in New York, received honorary memberships from groups elsewhere, and was a founding member of the Photographic Society of America.
Fassbender shared his techniques and theories by writing for the photographic press. He began in the early 1930s with a short series of articles in Camera about various control methods. His article “Why Bother,” about the importance of manipulating the negative, was printed over time by three different publications. Most significant was his book Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography, published in 1937.
After closing his studio in the late 1920s, Fassbender made his living as an instructor. He taught photography at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences from 1930 to 1935 and in the late 1940s at the Central Branch Brooklyn YMCA. He also conducted private and group classes at his Manhattan and New Jersey residences and lectured to camera clubs and professional conventions throughout the country. Over the course of his teaching career, from which he retired in 1970, he had more than 18,000 students.
Toni Schneiders is one of Germany’s most important photographers after 1945.
Together with Peter Keetmann, Siegfried Lauterwasser, Wolfgang Reisewitz, Otto Steinert and Ludwig Windstoßer, he founded the group “fotoform” in 1949. This group was a loose organization of experimental photographers, who took up an outstanding position within the artistic photography in post-war Europe. Stylistically, the artists tied in with the photographic experiments of the ‚Neues Sehen’ of the 1920s, while formally and aesthetically trying to strike a new path after the cultural barbarianism of the Nazi period.
The stylistic movement of ‚subjective photography’, which the group developed – characterized by formal abstraction and its pictorial claim – is, from today’s point of view, the most important contribution to the renewal of photography in Germany after 1945. It is not the objective rendering of reality which ‚subjective photography’ strives for, but the pictorial analysis and personal interpretation through subjective pictorial ideas. The result is a formally conscious structural black and white photography with stressed graphic values.
As such, the group succeeded to break away from the conventional, traditional form of photography of the time in an outstanding manner.
Since the beginning of the 1950s, Schneiders worked as a freelance photographer, concentrating on a combination of form and content.
With his camera, he captured motifs from art, architecture, landscape and industry – in diverse emotional moods, whether melancholic, poetic or serene.
From the end of the fifties, Toni Schneiders’ photographs document his tireless journeys which led him to Ethiopia, diverse European countries, Japan and South East Asia. In these works, he kept hold of his curiosity for “these things out there”.
Schneiders received the culture award of the German Society for Photography in 1999, together with Siegfried Lauterwasser and Wolfgang Reiseweitz.
Renger-Patzsch was born in Würzburg and began making photographs by age twelve. After military service in the First World War he studied chemistry at Dresden Technical College. In the early 1920s he worked as a press photographer for the Chicago Tribune before becoming a freelancer and, in 1925, publishing a book, The choir stalls of Cappenberg. He had his first museum exhibition in 1927.
A second book followed in 1928, Die Welt ist schön (The World is Beautiful). This, his best-known book, is a collection of one hundred of his photographs in which natural forms, industrial subjects and mass-produced objects are presented with the clarity of scientific illustrations. The book’s title was chosen by his publisher; Renger-Patzsch’s preferred title for the collection was Die Dinge (“Things”).
In its sharply focused and matter-of-fact style his work exemplifies the esthetic of The New Objectivity that flourished in the arts in Germany during the Weimar Republic. Like Edward Weston in the United States, Renger-Patzsch believed that the value of photography was in its ability to reproduce the texture of reality, and to represent the essence of an object] He wrote: “The secret of a good photograph—which, like a work of art, can have esthetic qualities—is its realism … Let us therefore leave art to artists and endeavor to create, with the means peculiar to photography and without borrowing from art, photographs which will last because of their photographic qualities.”
Erwin Blumenfeld proved himself to be one of photography’s greatest pioneers during his 35-year-long career, breaking new ground in formal experimentation, developing innovative concepts through his fashion shoots, and enjoying unprecedented commercial success as a result.
Blumenfeld’s entry into photography was somewhat serendipitous: in the early 1930s, while running a leather shop in Amsterdam, he uncovered a fully equipped darkroom behind a boarded-up door in a storeroom, allegedly left behind by a previous tenant.
So he began experimenting, eventually forging a path for himself as a portrait photographer and displaying his photos in the shop’s windows. His earliest creations – collages and satirical pieces created in the Dadaist tradition to channel his anti-war sentiment – are a fascinating insight into his work.
As his practice evolved, Blumenfeld continued to reject photography’s formal limitations, playing instead with double and triple exposures, solarisation and high-contrast printing to achieve his uncompromising artistic vision.
As Blumenfeld turned from art to fashion photography – he made his debut in Vogue with the help of fashion royalty Cecil Beaton in 1944, and his dynamic concepts and exaltation of women made him a favourite among the most influential fashion magazines of the day – these progressive techniques only continued.