I don't want you to waste your time on a boring introduction, my english is bad and the post speaks by itself.
This is the first interview of a series I would try to do with photographers that I appreciate on Flickr. I think there are many talents out there and it would be great to know them better.
I came across philipp a. photography many months ago and I started loving his portraits immediately.
His shots are very intense and I love the way he printed in his darkroom.
Let's know him!
1. Hi Philipp, can you introduce yourself to our blog readers?
My name is Philipp Albrecht and I work and live in Mannheim, Germany. I'm a self-taught photographer since 2006.
2. How did you start with photography?
In december 2006 I re-discovered my father's old Minolta xe-1 and decided to shoot film from then on. So why film? Today it seems somewhat anachronistic and besides that more expensive and time-consuming than digital photography?! In my job I spend all day in front of a computer screen, so avoiding weekends spent with photoshop image processing was what made analog photography attractive for me in the first place.
The second major aspect for me was the haptic and sensual experience of using old film cameras with their graceful release clicks and manual focus wheels. Since 2008 the work in the darkroom has added another exciting dimension to my photographic experiments. It feels now more like a holistic process for me from framing an image in the viewfinder, regulating the right amount of light in the darkroom to finally holding a piece of paper with the created result in my hands.
3. When did you realize you have talent?
Well, receiving a couple of superficial comments or favs in online communities like flickr doesn't mean your talented. I still feel that I have to learn so much more and take many more pictures before I'm truly happy with the emotional and technical outcome. So many hobby photographers I know are so easily satisfied with what they are doing, enjoy some short term attention and don't try to develop any further.
4. Which photographs (or artist) do you admire and how do they influenced your work?
Nowadays the internet provides a comfortable way to look at thousands of different photos by all kinds of photographers. You don't have to necessarily go to art exhibitions or buy expensive photobooks to be inspired or to get an idea of what your personal way of portraying people might look like.The trick with this stupefyingly excessive supply of visual input is basically to keep a sane and critical mind with your own work as well as with the work of others. So who influenced my photographic work? The answer would actually be everbody! Which photographs (or artists) do you admire? Besides all those great but mostly nameless ambitious amateurs there are of course some photographers that I really like: Stephan Vanfleteren (http://www.stephanvanfleteren.com), Paolo Pellegrin (As I was dying) or Michael Ackerman (End time city) with their intense portraits as well as their documentaries are beside others very inspiring to me.
If you really study their work you begin to understand that an authentic and honest expression is far more important to make a great photograph than posing, emotions are more essential than skin deep beauty and a genuine environment can be telling more about someone than a fancy studio background.
5. How would you describe your style?
When I meet people I'm trying to catch an unfeigned and interesting expression while at the same time trying to avoid clichees or at least try to use and sometimes exaggerate them in a hopefully unconventional or clever way. That doesn't work out too often though.
6. What do you consider to be your best photos and why?
Mostly I fall in love with the latest pictures that worked out well in the darkroom. Only time and personal distance tells me if a photo is just a visual one-night stand, that is to say an attraction of nice textures or tones. Or if a picture turns out to be a longer-lasting love affair. So in the figurative sense I haven't met the love of my life yet, but here are some pictures that I'm still quite happy with.
7. How is your workflow?
Meeting friends, neighbours or strangers and trying to create a relaxed one to one situation is the first step. It's essential for me that people I portray have faith in me as a person as well as a photographer, because otherwise the results definitely show that there was something wrong on an emotional level. Sometimes it takes me 3-4 rolls of film to get 1 or 2 decent pictures, sometimes I'm happy after just shooting 2 rolls. After the shooting I usually wait for a couple of weeks before I take the negatives to the darkroom where I gradually try to approach the final print.
8. What about your gear?
I'm actually a lazy creature of habit, so too many different cameras or films would easily confuse me. That's why I almost always use a Pentax 645 for middleformat and my old Minolta for 35mm. I don't like using a flash so I try to get along with the available light and sometimes only use a reflector to get more light in the eyes. The films I use only vary between trix 400 or neopan 400.
9. Where can we admire your photography work?
So far only on flickr (link), but I'm about to plan an exhibition for April 2011. I'll let you know then...
10. There's something more you want to say?