College: Paris Lodron University Salzburg
Book: “Siddhartha” By Hermann Hesse
Movie: Pulp Fiction
Quote: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why? ’But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘ Why not’?”
–George Bernard Shaw
For how long have been in photography? How did you start?
I think I knew since I was a kid that I wanted to be a photographer but diverted from that idea for many years. There was even a time where I did not own a camera and stopped taken images completely. After some extended travels in Vietnam I got really fired up again to take images and once back in NYC decided to focus on it full time. I took several classes at the International Center for Photography in NYC. Whatever formal training I may have obtained, however, I consider myself in my heart a self-taught photographer.
How would you define yourself as an artist?
I am not sure if I like to define myself. I believe there is something liberating when you create something from nothing. You also get a sense of accomplishment. Personally I also like to grow and I feel with every project and unforeseen challenge there comes some maturity.
Where do you find inspiration?
I feel inspiration has always been around me. I lived half my life in NYC and since two years I am now based in Paris. Both places are extremly stimulating as long as you keep your eyes open.
Is Brainstorming not the only creative method use to create new concepts?
I think brainstorming is cerntainly one aspect however I feel a certain curiousity about life and a drive to push your comfort zone makes you see everything around you in a new light.
Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology?
I am not really hung up about technology. They are tools I need to understand but in the end it’s my soul and probably experiences in life that shape the direction of my work.
What type of camera do you use most?
It depends on the project but my go to tool is a canon 5D Mark II
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I would say ‘Plastic Fantastic’.I like the idea to take something we use on a daily bases and conceptualize it into something more or less unexpected. I have done this now on a number of series as for example in ‘Plastic Fantastic’ where the whole beauty theme evolved around the idea to show an unexpected beautiful site of plastic inconjunction with a model. There is beauty in nature of course, but there is also beauty in unnatural man-made objects. Some man-made creations may be shocking, amazing and/or flamboyant and retain some amount of beauty for such reasons. Other man-made creations, such as those shown in “Plastic Fantastic” are mund ane everyday objects that most people would not consider for more than an the moment such objects are used.
Each man-made creation had some thought process behind its design. I like to emphasize the design and design choices behind such man-made products. I also enjoy to show how such design and design choices reveal themselves when presented in a different context. Presenting such man-made objects in a complex way in “Plastic Fantastic,” for example, forces the viewer tostop and look at such objects in a different way. Decades ago, pop artists such as Andy Warhol took every day objects and images and presented them in way that pushed people to see “art” and “beauty” in the design of every day objects. It is my hope that my work accomplishes the same goal and redeems man-made objects that may be thought of as wasteful and environmentally unfriendly in a more hopeful and positive way, even if it is just for a moment.
What are your favourite three images you have shot recently?
I just worked with the icelandic band Sigur Ros where the idea was to combine photography and painting to achieve a surreal feel. It’s a new direction I have been pushing and it’s great to see that commercial clients get interested into this direction. I also just finished a conceptual beauty series about „Modern Addictions“ where we incorporated more then 11000 medical pill capsules. The story will be out in September and is another demonstration how mundane everyday objects can be conceptualized into something more or less unexpected and show the “beauty” in the design of every day objects.
How important is an awesome website for your business?
I would say I am more concerned about awsome content then an awesome website.
What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have?
I believe that a person must have a certain natural curiosity and awareness of their surroundings to capture images that endure and demand repeated viewings. I also believe that a person
has to have the ability to push themselves forward to capture images in an interesting way without compromising such images. A photographer, to take memorable photos, needs to understand that photographic images are a form of appreciation of scenes and events taking place around us and what is often overlooked by others. Today, anyone can pick up a camera and take a decent photo. The trick, however, is to create images that maintain the viewer’s attention and open the floodgate of emotions, and. of course, being able to do this over and over again.
A large part of a photo shoot for me is to visualize the shoot before it is actually happens. This is a very important part of obtaining successful results from a photo shoot and helps me to communicate with my team as to how I feel the concept should be laid out. During this process I also depend on the creative input of my all the members of my team including my stylist, make up artist, and hairstylist. The casting of the right model is very important as well. If you have one weak link in this whole process your whole structure can easily collapse.
In addition as a photographer you have to be able to wear many hats. The actual photography process is a very small part of the overall process. One day I am location scout, the next I am a PR/Marketing person. I think in today’s market, which is saturated with many high quality images taken by talented photographers it’s simply not enough to take beautiful photographs.
You also need to be able to market yourself effectively. I also believe that people are always continually changing in how we see the world around us as we accumulate life experiences and relationships thereby shaping our perspective. The key is to learn to trust your instincts. I consider myself a more intuitive photographer and sometimes I wish I could explain why I choose a certain angle during a photo shoot. Often the choices I make during a photo shoot is simply a magic moment that I assume everybody else would see as well. Maybe it’s a talent but maybe it’s also just an accumulation of my life experiences being expressed during a shoot. Finally, I believe that its also important to understand the rules within photography (like composition or lighting) so that you know how you can break them and be original.
Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction? See above
Who are the photographer’s you admire the most?
Steven Klein, Paolo Roversi and so many more who’s work I appreciate
What about architects and designers?
Rem Koolhaas and Alexander McQueen
What are your next projects?
Currently I am working with my agency in Milan on a concept for one of their clients – a luxury water brand.
I also just started to collaborate with an art advisory/art expo company in Paris. I am very excited about this as over the past years my work is definetly gearing towards art. To be able to show my work to their network of art collectors is a fantastic development on my part. Last I am storyboarding ideas for conceptual beauty stories and a project were I am planning to combine photograpy and painting again.
Define ‘Klassik International’ and MEDIA NEWS ‘Klassik Magazine International’ for the audience? ‘Klassik International’ is one of the most influential media on social networks for arts and culture. MEDIA NEWS ‘Klassik Magazine International’ is an international communications platform that gives us the opportunity to weave an international network in a very careful,truthful and detailed way, an exclusive international communication platform cultural network of artists, photographers, athletes, international chefs in the cultural and social avant-garde.
TOOMAS, Iconic Fine Arts, Fashion Photographer & Creative Director, Paris, France