Christoph Engel is an young contemporary photographer from Germany. His work focus on architecture and landscape with the human intervention always present. I like his moody landscapes and the cold feeling you get from the photographs but also the clean look, almost pristine, of his work. Silence is always a presence in his photos and i quite like that too.
How do you started taking photographs and why?
By taking a camera in my hands and exploring my city. It really was that simple. At first, i had no clue why i was doing this – and sometimes i feel like i’d still don’t know. Others would say: to express my inner self. May be that’s true. But without the aim to impress other people – though my pictures definitely left a deep impression to the people around me and that kept me going on. It’s more to fix things for myself, to give them a definite shape…
In your opinion, what makes a good photo?
What makes you want to capture a photo? What you must see in a subject to make you release the shutter?
On both questions i have the same answer: when my inner imagination finds an expression outside, in the real world. It’s the same with pictures of other photographers. They are good photos to me, when they arouse a feeling deep inside. From a good picture i also expect a different view, to explore something new. I’m so bored of redundancies…for my own work there are two possibilities:
one is to feel the need to take that special picture though i don’t know why at that moment. Sometimes this act starts a long process to make me understand in the end. Sometimes i never do – yet. The other is to find a picture in front of my eyes that was spinning in my head for a long time. that is like a relief…
Do you have a routine to take the photos for your projects or you just let it happen and see where it takes you?
It’s quite amusing, but my routine is to let it happen and see where it takes me. For my clients i do my work in the topics architecture and landscape. Before i travel to a new building or into an for me unknown area, i avoid to see any publications. I focus on the presence of the building, try to find out, how it works and in which way it can be interpreted by the terms of photography. It’s nearly the same with landscape.
At the end of a shooting session how do you choose the photos that are worth to show in your portfolio?
I use with rare exceptions every shot i make. So to say i make my decisions before i release the shutter. The final selection for a portfolio therefore is quite hard. The selected picture should not answer to many questions, it must be strong enough to stand on its own as well as in combination to its neighbors…
Name a few photographers that inspired you and your work and why they inspired you.
One of the first was the swiss photographer Helene Binet. She made fascinating black and white pictures of buildings renowned architects like Peter Zumthor or Zaha Hadid, just to name a few.
Another one is Hiroshi Sugimoto. I deeply fell in love with his diffuse pictures of architectural memory as well as his fantastic seascapes.
At the moment it’s more and more the work of Andreas Gursky, though i’m a little bit disappointed by his recent exhibition in Munich. I’m fascinated by the creative development of digital techniques, by his mix of photography with elements of painting. Another phoptographer working in similar terms is Lukas Roth from Cologne, Germany. He also mounts many different pictures into one to get an impression of his memory of a certain place with all its different aspects.
How digital technology changed the way we look at photography as art?
The new technologies definitely lifted the possibilities to a new level. Manipulation was in use from the very beginning of photography but nowadays the speed has increased and the results once achieved can be replicated very easily. The photographers depends less on the real situation, he can create a lot more.
On the other hand is the flood of pictures polluting the world. In my opinion this overkill is a serious problem for our society as well as for photographers because there is a lack of time. It’s become difficult to find new art in all the rubbish. And i’m so sick of the questions about the truth of a picture…
When will people understand, that a photography never is real?