All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
Within staged images, I create hyperrealistic sceneries which explore the human psyche and our modern society. Set design, lighting and composition play a major role in my photographic work. I love cinematic and mysterious settings as well as moments of disorientation and lonesome reflection. Every person is a microcosm, and every microcosm has a story to tell.
During my studies of “Audiovisual Media” (B.Eng.) in Stuttgart, Germany, I specialised in photography and post production to lay the foundations of my future work. In order to pass on my skills professionally, I later studied “Vocational Education” (M.Ed., B.Sc.) at the university of Hamburg, Germany.
Today, I am excited to be able to work independently as a photo artist and to teach aspiring photographers at the “Vocational School for Media and Communication” in Hamburg, Germany.
Every photo I create starts with an initial idea. I take my time to thoroughly plan a whole series of pictures which share the same concept but are individual motives at the same time. After intensive brainstorming and note-taking, I usually spend a couple of weeks planning each photo shoot. This involves the location, set design, lighting, props, models and technical aspects which need to be considered.
Set design is the basis of my work. Depending on the image, this can be as simple as rearranging an existing location, but it can also mean transforming a room into a completely new scenery. Some ideas require locations that either don't exist or would be too difficult, time-consuming or expensive to construct as life-size sets. In this case, I make use of miniature sets which I completely design and build by myself.
Miniature sets allow me to realise my visions without any contraints. Rooms can be exactly as I imagine them to be – including furniture and props. Integrating “real” people into my miniature sceneries requires careful planning ahead – I am always striving for perfection in matching perspective, lighting and atmosphere.
Similar to film sets, my photos make use of selected props which add to the mood and meaning of the situation. I enjoy covering ordinary rooms in ordinary objects, creating hyperrealistic sceneries which reflect a person's psyche. This can, sometimes, lead to inflating hundreds of balloons or labelling thousands of sticky notes. For some people this might seem crazy, I consider it relaxing. 😉
I deeply believe in the power of lighting when it comes to telling a story and creating atmosphere. My images are typically lit by five to ten strobes. Since normal rooms are often restricted in size, I mostly work with speedlights which can easily be modified to my needs. When working with miniatures, I make sure to have the same look and feel as my “normal-sized” photo sets. For this, I work with equally small, custom-built light sources.
Shooting life-size sets is rather a quick step in my workflow – compared to all the preplanning and lighting that goes into each picture. When shooting miniatures, this is, of course, a bit different since the model needs to be captured separately. Matching perspective and lighting realistically means that the light sources and colours from the miniature set have to be recreated in the studio. For the best results, some parts of the miniature sets are rebuilt in life-size scale.
In order to capture the fine details of my sceneries, but also to be flexible when shooting on location, I currently work with a Canon 5DSR body and typically a Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2,8L II USM lens. The 50 Megapixels of the 5DSR also ensure beautiful large-format fine art prints.
My goal is always to capture as much as possible in camera, instead of relying too much on post processing (even though my “earlier works” might suggest something different). Still, post production is an indispensable step when finishing my images. Apart from precise colour corrections and selective adjustments, I often create invisible photo composites with the help of Adobe Photoshop.
Nothing is more impressive than a carefully crafted fine art print. Since my images contain lots of details, they are not meant to be viewed solely on screens. It is a totally different experience to see my photographs printed, especially in large format on beautiful cotton paper. For more information, make sure to visit my “Prints”-section.