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Interview: Photographer Mario Dirks (Germany)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I was born on the island of Norderney in Lower Saxony / Germany. I lived there until my 30th birthday. I love the Beach and the Ocean. My big hobby was windsurfing. When I was 30 I moved to the city of Oldenburg. Here I work at a theater. Encounters with actors, singers, directors and art always inspire me to come up with new photo ideas. Since 2007 I give regular photography workshops around the world. I've been to New York, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Florence, Milan, Iceland, South America, etc. and even spent 5 weeks with some students in Antarctica.

How and when did you get into photography?

I was 7 years old when I discovered a pinhole camera craft kit in a magazine. Those were my first experiences with photography. Since then, the fascination has never left me. I took analogue photographs for a long time and developed films myself. After many years of digital photography, I have recently rediscovered the joy and fascination of analogue photography.

Photography is my window to the world, a way to capture fleeting moments of beauty, emotion, and meaning. It's a language that speaks without words, allowing me to express myself, connect with others, and preserve memories that are dear to my heart. In essence, photography is my passion, my creative outlet, and my way of finding beauty in the world around me.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I like to photograph people, even a little closer to better perceive their eyes, their expressions and emotions. But I am also a big fan of Peter Lindbergh and his style of photography. I like to take photos in black and white, but sometimes also in color.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Oh, there are so many photographers that inspire me. One of the most famous is certainly Peter Lindbergh, but of course also Helmut Newton, Leibovitz, Anton Corbijn, or the pictures by Vivian Maier. A good Friend of me is the Celebrity Photographer Vincent Peters, he inspire me too…

But also the old black and white films inspire me, such as Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergmann.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

Yes, the most of my photos are precisely planned. Light, outfits, hair and makeup, posing and much more. But very often completely different moments suddenly arise during the photo shoot that are much more exciting and accordingly the results often differ from my planned considerations.

Studio, on location or both?

I like working with natural daylight. Preferably when the sky is cloudy and the light is very soft. But if it's too cold outside or the weather doesn't allow it, I go to my studio, where I also like to work with soft light. Either from the window or with large softboxes when I use artificial light (LED or flash).

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

Since I unfortunately have to live from photography, I would rather describe myself as professional.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

In my work i travel a lot and one of my last most interesting photographic experiences was a five week trip to the Antarctica for Hapag Lloyd a few years ago... Here you can see endless ice fields, glittering glaciers and majestic icebergs stretching to the horizon. The size and untouchedness of this landscape makes you speechless and experience the beauty of nature and the animal world with its whales, penguins and seals in its purest form.

Another great experience was a job for the lens manufacturer SIGMA. Here I was able to travel as a photographer around the world for 50 weeks and during this time I traveled to over 78 destinations and had over 100 flights. This helped me to see the world and its cultures from a completely different perspective than before.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I've been taking photos with Canon for a long time. However, since the automatic eye detection, I switched to Sony. My favorite lens is the Canon 85mm f 1:1.2, which I adapted to my Sony, I love the bokeh of this lens with the open aperture.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

One important piece of advice I would give to a new photographer is to focus on developing your own particular style. If possible, try to assist other good photographers and build a photographic network. In contrast to the past, a strong online presence is also important today.

What do you think of our new magazine?

It’s a very inspiring magazine, where you show a great diversity of talented and very interesting photographers and models. I am very grateful to be invited to this interview, as well as the space you have given me.

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