A little while ago Karolina Khocico Kratochwil asked me if I could imagine to answer a few questions for her blog: https://thecloudbuster.blogspot.com/
I felt totally honoured. I really liked her questions because I could feel that she is really interested in who I am and what I do! Take a little timeout and read our interview!
In your bio you mention in your photography you chase for the „perfect moment” – what is it in your view? Have you experienced many such moments in your career?
The perfect moment - well that can be all kind of moments. And to be honest - it's only the perfect moment for me. Sometimes it is a smile, or an intense look. Sometimes it is a glimpse of sunlight or a bird perfectly placed over a lake the second you release the shutter. Sometimes it is just the right person or a beautiful place. The only important thing is, that it feels right to take the picture or to look at it afterwards. These "perfect" pictures just mean a lot to me and some of them decorate my apartment. ;-)
As I am a photographer I will show you what I mean...
Just to show a few ;-)
You’ve worked with many bands so far – you have a special bond with Diary of Dreams and Zeromancer. What makes the special connection possible? What are the other bands you are particularly keen on photographing?
Oh, that's going to be a looooong answer :-D
You are right I have a very special bond with Diary of Dreams.
I am taking pictures since I am 12 and I made some funny shots of school bands and youth club punk and metal concerts in my early days. But working seriously in the music industry all started with Diary of Dreams. I met Adrian some day at a barbecue, not knowing that he was a musician. He became a really close friend of mine. When he presented his music to me I fell in love with Diary of Dreams straightway.
In those days he had just finished his first album "Cholymelan" and I was in the middle of my photography apprenticeship. From that day on we worked together and we still do. That's special and it means a lot to me.
Adrian also connected me with other Bands for example like [:SITD:], .com/kill, Coma Alliance and Diorama. It is always interesting and inspiring to work with such talented people - especially with Adrian and Torben (Diorama). And they are extremely funny people to hang out with :-)
Zeromancer is definitely a great love of mine!
Not only Zeromancer but also Seigmen and Ljungblut. All three bands are connected to each other and each one of them has a very special place in my heart, in particular Zeromancer ;-)
To be honest, I discovered Zeromancer by accident. In those days I was supposed to take pictures of The 69 Eyes for Sonic Seducer Magazine. For me it is needless to say that you show respect to the support band. To be there in time and take some pictures, no matter who they are. And what can I say - it was Zeromancer! Playing one of their first shows in Germany ever. I bought the Clone your Lover CD that night in 2000 and became a massive fan. One year later I had the chance to take some portraits of Alex Møklebust and Erik Ljunggren in Cologne during the promo tour for Eurotrash, again for Sonic Seducer Magazine.
Since than I took pictures of several Zeromancer concerts and got to know the guys. In 2012 I travelled to Norway to take pictures of my first - but definitely not my last - Seigmen concert. Until now it’s been 12 ;-)
I did my first Zeromancer backstage reportage in Berlin in 2013 and second one is coming very soon ;-).
The backstage reportage of Seigmen in Berlin and the one of Ljungblut in Oslo followed in 2018. Over the years Kim, Alex, Noralf, the rest of the bands including the crew and I became friends. I really appreciate this friendship and the support I get from these Norwegian guys very much! :-)
You asked what makes these special connections possible.
In my opinion the most important thing is that you truly love what you do! To give your very best at any time! Most of all it is important to treat everybody with respect and be mindful. You should never take it for granted that you get the chance to work with such talented people. And don´t take yourself (or the others ;-) ) too serious.
You seem to love Scandinavia – Iceland in particular – what made you travel to that region and what do you find so attractive about it?
I definitely LOVE Scandinavia, can't deny that :-)
The nature of Iceland and also of Norway is astonishingly beautiful and divers. You can explore totally different landscapes in a relatively short period of time.
In Iceland you can walk on a pitch-black beach on one day, gaze in amazement in front of a glacial lagoon the other day and clime the colourful hills of the highlands the third day. Every single place you look at is outstanding!
Unfortunately, Iceland became frustratingly crowded over the years. There are so many tourists - I know that I am one of them :-(. They are being carried from one attraction to the other - running around in massive (very loud) groups, taking selfies 24/7. Some of these people really miss the respect for the nature and that isn't only sad but also difficult for this special and vulnerable environment in the fare North. Hopefully the Iceland hype will calm down a little bit soon, because I miss that place a lot!
Norway stole my heart! It has breath taking fjords and fjells, beautiful little islands, shores and many great waterfalls. The Lofoten is a very unique place and I deeply fell in love with Spitsbergen when I had the chance to visit it.
After a few visits I started to like Oslo - yeah it needed a little while - but now it nearly feels like coming home. Maybe that's due in great part to the many amazing people I know in Oslo and Tønsberg ;-)
Besides Iceland and Norway, I have to admit that I totally underestimated Denmark. Copenhagen is a great city and there are many historical castles and beautiful places in Denmark. The Faroe Islands are wet but amazing :-). Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden are also great cities.
My plans - to travel to Greenland on day is definitely a dream of mine!
Unfortunately, that's not exactly easy and it costs a fortune!
But some day...
In the end I never get tiered of driving around in Scandinavia and there are still many places to explore. I love getting to know new places or visiting well known once. Going for long walks or just sitting in the middle of nowhere looking at the amazing nature. I can't deny that I am a fan of the cold, dark and lonely places on earth. Sadly, these places are often very wet :-D
A friend of mine once said that I have a truly northern soul. I love that idea!
You’ve been active within the scene for a really long time – what does it take to keep the passion on?
Not to get bored or frustrated?
To be honest I am kind of bored and frustrated. Not of the scene but of taking concert pictures for magazines. At festivals there are sooo many photographers in the pit and nearly everybody in the crowd takes pictures with the phone (yes - I do that myself when I am not working). Everybody wants the pictures to be published immediately! I can understand that but it's really stressful. Working 10 to 12 hours on a festival day and edit the pictures in the night only to repeat the whole thing the next day is definitely not my kind of business (anymore). 20 years ago, it was something very special to take pictures of a concert. In the pit were three or four experienced photographers and that was it.
Digital photography makes everything so much easier. That's definitely not a bad change! But most of the time I am pretty sure that it makes no difference if I am at a festival show among 20 to 40 other photographers or not. If you like you can take a look at hundreds of pictures anyway. And most of the time one of my very talented photographer friends takes pictures so I can be sure that there will be some good ones to look at!
Therefore, I decided last year that from now on I only take concert pictures for my own pleasure and of bands I deeply love. That was a hard but definitely good decision.
Do you prefer studio sessions or concert photography? What are the biggest challenges you as a photographer face in each of them?
I don’t really have a preference. Concert photography is uncontrollable. That makes it interesting and frustrating at the same time. Sometimes the lights are perfect but the damn musician never comes to the right spot :-D Sometimes the musician look awesome, everything is perfect but the stage is pitch-black. That can be very frustrating and if the music wouldn't be that loud you could hear me curse very often while I am in the pit. ;-) IAMX is a band I really love. Chris is an amazing musician and the whole band is damn good looking but it is nearly impossible to get a good IAMX picture (at least for me). It's dark and Chris likes to hide behind all kind of gear. FRUSTRATING!!!!
Studio sessions are great. You can prepare yourself, the lights and the setting. You plan the shooting and in the best-case scenario everything works out as planned. Unfortunately, I had to give up my studio a few years ago. But you can create a studio like setting on location. That's what I really love. To create an atmosphere with the light and the people you work with on a special location.
What, apart from travelling, is you hobby? What relaxes you the most?
I love to go for a walk. Just strolling through a forest or around a lake. Unfortunately, there are no beaches close to my hometown, that would be perfect! :-(
I love reading, especially crime and historical novels and like to watch series like Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Vikings, The penny dreadful or Downton Abby ;-)
The thing what relaxes me most is definitely my bathtub!!! I love to read in my bathtub - even when it's 35°C on the outside :-D
If you were to give one advice to people who just take first steps in photography – what would it be?
Just try! In these digital days it is so much easier to give it a try. Find your one way to look at things. Love what you do!
But don't try to make it for a living, that can be very difficult and frustrating.
The best and the worst place you were taking pictures in are…
Best place - Iceland
Worst place - there are no bad places - but taking pictures in the cold or in the pouring rain can feel very bad, no matter where.
Do you feel you live your life to the fullest now? Are there any other things you’d like to start doing, and plans for the future?
It's difficult to live your life to the fullest as long as you need a job to keep yourself alive :-D But I really can't complain. I have many privileges in my live!
Plans? I definitely want to see and photograph the Northern Light someday. Besides exploring new places, I really, really want to improve my Norwegian and finally find the courage to talk to my Norwegian friends in their own language. But right now most of the time I don't dare... Faen! (faen = damn!)
Do you live by any motto? If yes, what is it?
Hmmm... I don't really live by any motto.
I just try to make the best of my time. I try not to seek for the great happiness but enjoy the little things and the precious moments I experience in my live. I appreciate that I have the ability to travel, to take pictures and to combine the things I deeply love.
Thank you very much for your time.
Thank you very much for your interest!