Interview: Photographer Tom Klose (Germany) Winner of the Month
Winner of the Month
Tell us something about yourself
I'm a designer and photographer from Germany living near Frankfurt/Main. After my films study I worked at various advertising agencies as a creative director as a main job. Today I'm a freelancer again.
How and when did you get into photography?
I'm taking pictures for more than 25 years now. The way I do and see photography today is been for more or less 8 years.
To be honest, I don't exactly remember how I got into photography. With my parents taking pictures all the time during family parties and holidays, photography has always been around since I was born. Maybe by the old "Standard-8"-films of my father, through which I see my childhood in a very bold and vibrant way, I'm so hooked on their grainy and blurry looks.
Years ago I startet to go to big festivals and shoot bands like The Prodigy, Metallica and Rage Against The Machine as a press photographer. That's when I discovered my passion for freezing strong emotions in a single frame.
What does photography mean to you?
In a way to me photography is a sort of catalyst. I'm mainly interested in human beings and that in their purest and most fragile form. Today with all it's fashion and gadgets we have so many things around and "on" our bodies that you can't even guess someone's true mind. I want to get rid of all that shit and strip my models down to their purest and honest form of being: naked and without any distraction. This way I am able to bring out their most sincere feelings and emotions. And if I succeed, that's when a human being is weakest and strongest of all – both at the same time. Maybe that's the reason why I do so much nude photography. ;)
And that's the reason why I drive my models and make up artists to their limits when we work together: I'm never satisfied, I'm questioning and challenging my own work all the time – which can be very exhausting and time-consuming. But for me it's only working that way.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I personally would say visually I don't have that one style that everyone recognizes and knows me for – even if those who know me and my work do deny that. But I always found it way too boring to do only one style or category of photography. I want to do and learn so much more and I do it every day.
But there is of course some things that I always come back to during my work. I don't like bullshit or blah blah, I love to communicate directly. And I always want to bring alive the craftsmanship in photography even if we live in a digital era. So, that's why I would say my photos are mostly pure & provocative, messy & rough, honest & direct, grainy & imperfect and bold & dirty. Oh, and I like hard flashes, deep contrast and trash!
8 Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m both of that, too. Non payed work often is where you get most of your skills and inspiration from. And payed work is where you use them in a professional way.
Where do you get inspiration from?
As a designer and creative being I'm inspired by so many things around me, not only photography. Nature, art, situations – I love to sit and just watch people. I'm deeply influenced by movies and their looks and styles. For example the movies of Kenneth Anger which are very experimental and obscene but extremely honest at the same time. And I like the rawness of artists like Yoshikazu Aizawa or Ulrich Seidl.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I rarely have that exact one picture in my head when I start my work. Again to me that’s much too boring. It’s rather a vague vision where I start, where I want to end and where I want to come through on my way. Everything in between is a creative and experimental journey and teamwork by all people involved like models, designer and make up artists. This way it’s much more innovative because so many detours have led to unplanned but fantastic pictures yet.
Studio, on location or both?
I’m doing both. There’s that little atelier I can call my own where I can do also very short and spontaneous shootings. But more and more I also do on-location shootings. I like them because they are much more authentic and personal. And they drive me to leave my comfort zone.
10 What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I would say it’s the people I meet during my shootings. Each one has their own personality – some are very quiet, others extremely extroverted. This way every shooting is different and every one an inspiration.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Certainly I remember some extraordinary sessions but I can’t talk about them. ;)
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
You know I’m not that techie or brand fixed kind of photographer. I would say I could do my pictures with nearly any type of camera. But I’m doing my shootings with a Canon 5D MK III mostly. Besides that I switch between different cameras depending on the situation I’m shooting in and what look I want to create: Fuji X100s, Olympus Pen F, Olympus Mju II, Instax and Polaroid.
My absolute favorite lens is my Canon 85mm 1.2 prime. Every time I put that masterpiece on it’s like you put your glasses on when you were half blind before. It’s massive because it’s made nearly completely out of glass and it’s so precise and brillant in its look – just amazing.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Stay away from social media! Really, just resist! Social media – especially Facebook – is such a creativity killer especially if you just start photography and don’t have found your own way yet. I know it’s easy to search for inspiration and everyone is yearning for likes and followers. But it can also be very frustrating seeing all that pictures of great artists. And before you know it you find yourself scrolling through the work of others for hours and it makes you very sad and exhausted. Well, guess what you could have been creating by yourself during all these hours! It’s fine to get your inspiration partly from the web but also go to art exhibitions, scroll through coffee-table books or magazines. And choose wisely. Avoid the compliant mass of Facebook but seek for the crazy ones on Ello, Behance and Tumblr!
What do you think of our new magazine?
What I like about Modellenland is that pictures have priority. Big one- or two-pagers that celebrate the art of photography. This way it’s great fun to stroll through it. Thanx for having me!