Paradise is a big word. It encompasses uncounted meanings, symbols, ideologies, sentiments, and attitudes – both spiritual and material. Yet I chose it to tell you something about my photography. I chose it because despite its common religious undertone it is the ultimate expression for all elements coming together perfectly in one moment in one place on earth. Paradise is nothing otherworldly for me where you might have to been born into, it’s a culmination of time, space and my own mind.
The key is the experience. This means to combine the place with all its physical elements with the mind in its current state. Perfect single experiences, even when strongly connected to specific places, are constructed by humans who reflect their inner feelings while watching, smelling and feeling the outer circumstances. An experience is something personal, so Paradise is something personal. It can be found anywhere on this planet, it can be found at any time by any person, but it has to be found by someone making an experience so rewarding that it stands out.
Places, however, play an important role in my experiences. Most often nature allows me to let go of the swift current of thoughts in my head and open my mind for the elements. Wild landscapes, untouched and remote, brutal and harmonic. This is where I feel Paradise the closest. But, there are other places, more transformed by humans than remote wildernesses that can hold the seed for experiences of great joy for me. In either case travelling to new places and revisiting old ones is quintessential, even if you travel to your home to experience it anew.
With my photography I like to share some of these experiences. Although I regard them as holistic conjunctions of material and immaterial things and photographs can only show a certain place at a certain, I hope that some of the images resonate with you and take you on your own journey. A journey of imagination in the first place, maybe a journey to a wild place after that. You may not find Paradise where, when or how I found it, but if I with my photographs encouraged you to look for experiences that are worthy of the big word, it is more than I can ask for.
Paradise is, infact, a small word for these experiences.
Although my approach to photography is based on my very own perceptions and thoughts, I do follow other photographers’ paths to a certain degree. A few of them stand out; they do not only acquaint me with new places and make me see others with new eyes. They encourage me to keep exploring, to stay motivated and open-minded. Here a short list of names, that I could not leave unmentioned:
- Ian Cameron for his impeccable talent to portrait stunning light
- Marc Adamus for redefining adventurous outdoor photography and the aesthetics of landscape photography
- Guy Tal for showing me that wonderful imagery can come along with deep thoughts and wise words
- Enrico Fossati and Erin Babnik for opening my heart for the stunning Dolomites
- Ted Gore and Ryan Dyar for their incredible sense of atmosphere and their post-processing wizardry
- Stephen Oachs and Paul Bruins for widening my view with their panoramic work
- Aaron Reed for showing me the benetifs carefully perfecting a composition
- Jeff Lewis for his incredible portfolio of and deep connection the Sierra Nevada
- Paul Zizka for motivating my adventurous spirit with every single photo
- Sandra Bartocha and Sarah Marino for inspiring me with their intimate views on our natural world
- Arild Heitmann and Stian Klo for showing me the awesomness of their home in Arctic Norway
- Nicholas Roemmelt and Michael Shainblum for their stunning nightscapes
- Daniel Korzhonov and Max Rive for just causing my jaw to drop to the floor so often with their stunning views from mountain tops.
Photography is an art form where almost all of the technical processes of creating an image are outsourced to a device that everyone can buy. The fact that it only requires a click to take a picture has widened the range of people who are doing so to virtually everyone. In contrast, the percentage of people who regularly use a brush to paint or a chisel to create a sculpture is supposedly incredibly small. That has not made it easier to create a real good photograph; it has made it, in some respects, more difficult to be creative due to the sheer amount of photographs than can be taken and are being taken day after day after day. The step that is to be made is to move from taking a picture to making a photograph. While this is a process that is not necessarily connected to gear, but instead is a process of finding a personal voice and means of expressing it, choosing the right gear is worth a thought.
Owning a specific piece of equipment does not make you a better photographer, nor does owning the best brush in the world make you a painter at all. But what owning the right gear is doing is not limiting your visions. Some equipment does this better than others depending on what your visions are and choosing what works for oneself is as logical as refusing to believe it’s the gear that makes the picture. Over the years I developed a clear idea of what I need to make the kinds of photographs I envision and where the limits of my gear are. By knowing these limits I was able to adapt my technique as well. Here is what I work with right now:
Camera body: Nikon D810
Lenses: Nikkor 14-24 f2.8; Tamron 24-70 f2.8 and some others
Tripod: Manfrotto 190CXPro4
Head: Manfrotto 804RC2
Panoramic Head: Panosaurus
Filters: Haida for Nikkor 14-24