EWW: Steffen, if someone were asked to make a comment about your work as a whole, what do you think they would say?
Steffen: Oh, you start out with a really hard question! Once, I got an immediate reaction from a gallery assistant that hit the essence of my work. She said, after having looked to 3 of my photographs: “I see you lying with your stomach in the mud taking these pictures”.
I think people have different taste and expectations when it comes to photography, so the comments may be quite different. My photographs are rather abstract than representational, and may rather be targeted to those interested in art than those interested in classical photography. My experience from shows and exhibitions is that those looking longer than 2 seconds to my photographs come up with comments like “beautiful” or “gorgeous”. And most people then express real astonishment and fascination when they understand what is depicted in my photographs, and how it looks like.
EWW: What would be your comments about your work, as a whole?
Steffen: My intention is to show the art created by Nature, focusing on small details of the world surrounding us. My current favorite motif is water. Water possesses no specific shape or color by itself, but is formed by the physical forms and forces surrounding it. Thus, water can take an unlimited number of shapes and colors, making it to a fascinating source of inspiration.
These shapes and colors originating from water movement are generally imperceptible for the human eye. I believe that my approach is a different take on water photography, intending to visualize especially those small, inconspicuous water structures that arise at the shore. I achieve this by going as close as possible to the anticipated formation of these natural events, which often last only for split seconds, and to freeze the moment with high shutter speeds. And it is each time a new surprise to me when looking to the picture taken and detecting a new artwork created by Nature. I hope that my photography can mediate the beauty of this sculptural and graphical art to the beholder.
Click on an image to enlarge it
EWW: If I were to walk into an exhibition which included works of yours, would I immediately know which ones were yours and why?
Steffen: Yes, I think so. As already mentioned, already the choice of my motifs should be rather unique. Other water photographers may depict images of big waves (with or without a surfer on it), or may present long exposures of seascapes or waterfalls. So I think that my photographs – in this respect – do have a distinctive personal note.
EWW: While much of your work involves water, it appears that you shoot other subject matter as well. Which type of subject matter do you enjoy working with the most? Why?
Steffen: I do enjoy all kind of nature photography, from landscape panoramas to macro photography of plants and insects. However, I am fascinated by photography that depicts those aspects of nature that have not yet been extensively explored, and that may give the beholder a new facet or inspiration that has not been seen before. For example, I work on a rather humorous project on trees, depicting the parts of a trunk or branch that shows resemblance to the human or animal figure.
EWW: Besides subject matter, are there any other consistent themes in you work such as, lighting, technique, type of shot, etc?
Steffen: Not really – at least not from the technical side. Generally, I use natural light for my photographs. For my water photography, the main challenge is to get my motif into focus – which is not easy, since I often have to press the trigger before my motif appears. Another technical challenge is to realize high shutter speeds in low light conditions or in conditions where I have to use a polarization filter.
A consistent theme may be that I have to use intuition and abstraction to get the result I want, either in anticipating the exact moment and place that I want to freeze in my photograph, or in finding the detail of a motif that turns a meaning into another one.
Click on an image to enlarge it.
EWW: Marketing these days seems to be quite a challenge for many fine art photographers. What do you see as the biggest challenges for a fine art photographer or digital artist?
Steffen: The root problem is for sure the fact that there are far too many excellent photographers and artists out there and far too few collectors and buyers that are willing to invest into photography and digital art. Having your own gallery at a premium location may help, but competing with everybody else on the same market platform probably will get you nowhere.
EWW: How are you dealing with these challenges?
Steffen: Currently, I am looking for established art galleries that believe in my work and are able to sell it to their customers. I believe that it pays more to be present locally in the real world as compared to be present globally in the virtual world. But as always, the right mixture of both probably is the key.
EWW: What social media platforms seem to work the best for you, in terms of promoting your work?
Steffen: I do not have extensive experience with social media. I started a Facebook page some months ago and a twitter profile some weeks ago. Twitter seems to work better for me, but I am far from a success in terms of promoting my work. Nevertheless, I get some indications about which of my photographs are well received by the communities, and which are not.
EWW: Steffen, just to wrap up the interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work, that you think would be important for others to know about?
Steffen: As any photographer, I probably can talk several hours about my photography – but I think that I already touched upon the most important aspects. Since I only am at the beginning of my journey, everybody interested in my further development is kindly invited to follow me on twitter or Facebook, or to keep an eye with my website.
And last, I would like to thank you for your interest and support.