Interview: Photographer Elmar Woelm (el Mar) (Germany)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I am a passionate amateur photographer from Germany. Many years professionally I worked as a forester, in sylviculture and nature preserve. As I have always been interested in people, over the last years I changed my profession and now work as non medical psychotherapist and trainer of hypnotherapy (clinical hypnosis).
I am author of several novels, lyrics and psychologically specialized books.
How and when did you get into photography?
As my father was a professional photographer, I grew up with cameras and photography and learned to photograph very early in my life.
Many years I had my emphasis in landscape - and nature, as well as street photography.
Two years ago I started to work with professional and semiprofessional Models – outdoor, on location and in studios.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me is pleasurable art, a form of self-expression and joy of pictures, colors and visual forms. It is also a kind of communication. Pictures and photography can transport Ideas. I love to be creative and reveal, express and describe life in its various forms – by means of photography as well as writing.
In person/model photography my purpose is besides this to show the beauty of people – especially women – of all ages, and sizes and physical forms. To talk with Matt Blum: “There is beauty in every body.” I would like to give that a voice.
People photography and working with models for me is always a creative interaction between the model and me as photographer. – Two human beings meeting for the purpose of creating a piece of art, beauty or other important ideas. So even though we may work very hard during the sets we also have fun and enjoy the process of photography.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
To put my photography in a certain style proves to be difficult. Pertaining to people photography I like to portray persons. The themes span from personal portraits to nude art.
Besides working in studios I like to integrate people in nature, taking photographs in the forests, with trees, in fields, at water and rocks.
I try to transcend any taboo and allow myself even to be provocative. If at all there is only one taboo I take very seriously: violence against human beings. If violence of any kind is expressed in pictures it should be integrated and contained in a deeper meaning and message. I decline any representation of violence just for fun or blatant purposes.
Where do you get inspiration from?
My inspirations for photography com from many sources. There are, of cause, other photographers and their pictures. I visited a lot of workshops to learn from others and I like to learn from and be inspired by the models I work with. And there is life itself, personal encounters with people as well as literature and history which have their influence to my ideas and inspirations. Nature and staying in nature is a great stimulus for new visions.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Only partly. In this sense for me photography works similar to my writing novels. Most of the time I have only certain (often vague) ideas, and as soon as I/we work on it the things begin to unfold and a creative process begins.
But there may also be certain themes that guide the various sets we take, for instance in my borderline project, where the theme is to express various feelings of persons who suffer from this disease.
Studio, on location or both?
Fundamentally I work at any possible place – studio and on location, outdoor or at home. As I said above, I like to photograph in free nature, even though this has many challenges to overcome. Working in the studio is much easier to deal with light.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I am an hobbyist, a passionate and experienced amateur.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Canon, EOS 5D Mark IV. Favorite lenses are Canon EF Lens, 50 mm, 1:1,8 and Canon Zoom Lens EF 24-105 1:4 L IS II USM.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Do it with passion, love your work and love and appreciate the people you are working with, especially the models. Learn from others as much as you can but find your own way of working.
What do you think of our new magazine?
Wonderful magazine where photographers as well as models have the chance to present their work.