So first, why don't you tell us about yourself?
As a journalist and photographer, living and working in Berlin, I own two ateliers: Efacts Media, founded in 1993, producing editorial content for print and online magazines, and Efacts Photography, founded in 2008, focusing on narrative photography, art, and high-end portraiture.
How did you get started in photography? And what role does Photography play in your life?
My father gave me my first camera, when I was 9. It was a Voigtländer Bessa - at that time one of the finest consumer 35mm cameras, and quite easy to use. Nevertheless, it was too complicated for me at that young age. But taking photographs was fun, and so I asked my Dad if he could buy me another camera. This time, it was a Diana. That was even more fun - and nothing could go wrong. So photography started to become important already very early in my life. Later, when I was at university, it became an essential part of my journalism studies, as I had to use a camera for documentary work. At that time, I was using a Minolta XD-7 - and loved its simplicity and accuracy.
Today, photography has a completely different meaning for me: it has become my preferred medium of art. Although I still have an atelier and some faithful clients – mostly actors and actresses –, I don't see myself as a professional photographer anymore. On the contrary: the idea of having to earn a living in such a competitive business environment is totally unattractive. As a consequence, I take the liberty to live the life of a part-time artist, whose other job is good enough to cover the expenses.
Why not? I tried digital for a few years, but it wasn't satisfying. And shooting film is cheaper than digital, if you consider the time you'd spend in front of the computer, editing otherwise unusable RAW files, and if you take into account that equivalent digital equipment would cost at least $25,000 to begin with. Needless to say, the look of film is much more authentic than any digital image.
Tell us about your current project
I am proud to say that a project I have been working on for a very long time has finally come to fruition. My show, Welcome to Twin Peaks - The Unseen Scenes, will be showing in the März Gallery in Berlin opening on May 19, 2017 and running through July of 2017. Twin Peaks was the defining TV series of the 1990s and for almost all similar formats thereafter. Now it's coming back. When film director David Lynch and screen writer Mark Frost announced they would produce Season 3 of the show to be aired in 2017, I didn't hesitate and immediately began planning a photographic homage.
After gathering some information about what Season 3 would deal with, I sat down with my creative team to outline the ideas of our tribute. We decided to focus on characters that played in the first two seasons – and added some imaginary parts and plots to the original story. In total, the series consists of ten pictures. All pictures of the series were recorded on film, using Kodak Portra 400 exclusively. They were produced with a Fuji GX 680 medium format SLR in various locations, with a combined staff (cast & crew) of more than 30.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
There are two projects in the pipeline: one is about Richard Wagner's operas - a series of large format (8x10) portraits of typically dressed and untypically undressed actors and actresses, recorded on Polaroid film. The second is actually ongoing, but yet unfinished. It's called "The Forgotten Land" and is a documentary series about the people, their lives and the region on both sides of the border between Germany and Poland. Later this year, I'm planning to write a few pages about that series; pictures and text will then be published in my next book.
Describe your Dream Shoot: If money and time were no obstacle, what would you do?
Designing, producing and publishing a photo novel that deals with the story of my book manuscript, a twisted 20th century tale of romance and war, heroes and villains, similar in style to Hemingway and the likes. The scope of the project is quite huge, as the manuscript has 280 pages. The task can be compared to converting a novel into a story board (with photos instead of drawings). But I'm confident that it will eventually happen in the not too distant future.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in Photography?
Only one: It's all about composition and content. Focus and exposure are less important.