my motivation

Jahaa… ewig nix passiert hier, ich weiss. Aber letzte Woche wurde ich auf flickr von einer Studentin der Fotografie aus den fernen US of A angeschrieben, die im Rahmen eines Projektes professionelle Fotografen anschreiben und nach allen möglichen Dingen ausfragen sollen. ;-)

Nun bin ich natürlich alles, nur nicht professionell, und ich wollte es auch nie sein, und das war auch das erste, was ich ihr antwortete. Sie wollte es aber trotzdem durchziehen. 

Und damit hier mal wieder was über Fotografie steht, und ein bisschen darüber, warum hier nicht mehr so viel Fotografie zu sehen ist… und ein paar Fotografien aus alten und neuen flickr-Tagen, hier meine Antwort auf die Frage nach meiner Motivation:

Hi xxxxxxxxx,

Ok, here goes… (sorry for the delay, I was down with influenza in the meantime)…

You wanted to know about my motivation when I go out and take pictures. To tell you the truth that motivation has changed considerably over the years.

If you go back far enough in my photo stream, you will notice that I used to photograph lots and lots of people… portraits and nudes. I guess back then my main inspiration was the thrill of capturing the emotion(s) of a scene and/or of the photographed person… as opposed to delivering the flawless, slick and polished fashion crap that’s flooding the interwebs by now.

Back then, I found it intriguing to produce portraits that are not idealised, even kind of ‘flawed’ in some way, because that’s what makes an image relatable and accessible for the viewer; that’s what helps them to start wondering what’s in a scene, what’s the story behind the picture, identifying with the model and/or the photographer.

Over the years I became more and more disenchanted with photographing people… mainly because there’s only one model forum in Germany (the so called “modelkartei”), and most of the folks there (photographers and models alike) have very narrow minded conceptions of what photos of people should look like. Read: flawless, slick, polished, devoid of any real emotion and: technically perfect. I mean, this is Germany, after all. With more and more ‘normal’ people on the internet it became increasingly difficult to find models who could appreciate my kind of photography. 

But around that time something happened that was both sad and a revelation alike: Tia, our faithful little black dog, who had been with us for the last seven years, died at the age of fourteen. And all the while I had been trying to capture people and their emotions and had been getting next to zero appreciation for it… she had been there, and she had been our best friend, loyal until the very end… and although I had taken some snaps of her, she never had been the center of my photographic attention.

Now that she was gone, I began to think of all the pictures that I had not taken. We grieved a lot, it was very painful, and I was sure I would never in my life want another dog and go through the same pain again.

Needless to say, that determination only lasted four months… and then Buba came into our life (an ex-stray dog from the streets of Bulgaria, where dogs are hanged, shot, gassed and drowned just for the fun of it). And this time around, from the very beginning, I was determined not to make the same mistake again and instead to try to capture every precious moment with her; to try and document how we grow together and get to know each other.

And now, after four years of Buba (and after welcoming another dog, Candor, into our pack), it surely feels to me like dogs are a thousand times more thankful and loyal than most humans. And picturing our life together, the way I see and feel it (emotions; there they are again!) is a thousand times more rewarding than posting non-mainstream fine art nudes and portraits in model forums and on twitter and on my blog, and getting two likes and one comment for it.

(yes, I still post picturs of my dogs on flickr, and it’s nice to get some appreciation from the dog people there… but I could entierely live without that, too)

These pictures of our dogs (and of our friends’ dogs), and of the nature and landscape surrounding us, are first and foremost for ourselves. So that we can remember and relive those precious moments. And the joy and fulfillment of doing that, that has become the strongest motivation of all.

Now for the technical stuff:

I assume you know all the basic stuff about shutter speed, aperture and iso, so I’ll just skip those… ;)

As for the equipment: I have shot film and digital, in more formats than I can count. Medium format, full frame, Polaroid, Instax, APS-C, APS-H, Micro Four Thirds… my advice would be: Find a camera you feel comfortable with, one that doesn’t get in the way of what you want to shoot. From my experience, it’s totally unimportant whether you shoot with a full frame DSLR or a small mirrorless. The important thing is that it feels good… my most ‘successful’ picture on flickr (not that number of views are any indication of artistic quality) was taken with a eight years old 12mp micro four thirds camera with an adapted, manual 30€ C-Mount lens… ;)

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask :)

Kind regards

Nachdem all das gesagt ist… ich weiß immer noch nicht, wie es hier auf dem Fotoblog weiter gehen soll. Der Name und die Geschichte sind zu schade dazu, es aufzugeben und zuzusperren. Aber, nun ja, hab ich alles oben in der Mail gesagt. Nun ja, mal schauen. Ich hoffe mal auf diese witzige Eigenart des Lebens, einem Lösungen aufzuzeigen, wenn man nur geduldig genug ist.

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