Martin Neuhof is one German photographer you should keep an eye on in the future. Not only is his photography creative and fresh, but Martin also is a real expert in working with light and colors. Working mainly with “normal people” instead of professional models, he succeeds in capturing their emotions and moods to produce pictures that are both meaningful and credible.
Martin has only recently started as a full-time photographer and I’m happy that he agreed to tell a little bit more about himself and his work. I translated the following interview from German; you can read the original version on my photography blog.
How did you get into photography?
Through my parents; when I was 15 years old they gave me a 1.3 megapixel Olympus camera. Since then I have been constantly taking pictures, mostly snapshots in the beginning. I think I inherited the photographic talent from my grandfather (Friedrich Gahlbeck). He was the youngest master photographer in the former GDR and died when I was 14. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to talk with him about photography.
What does photography mean to you?
I often have the feeling that I take my own pictures too seriously. For me, photography is everything and nothing. I’m not overly interested in the technical aspects, I want to capture the moment, create something that can outlive me. In that sense, photography is not about me but about what was created. Everybody can take a good picture, but constantly working on yourself is most important, not being caught in your own style and trying new things to broaden your horizon.
How do you describe your photographic style?
I usually don’t describe my photographic style. I don’t perceive myself as being “good”, but rather “ok” – there is always room for improvement. I think the people I like to photograph are just normal people; I rather search for the unusual aspects in daily life. For me it is important to show people as they are – no facade, no artificial sets, our life doesn’t work that way… it’s the everyday life that is interesting. With my photography I want to show the everyday beauty in all of us. The color climate thereby plays a very important role in my pictures.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Music – without music I wouldn’t be a whole person. I really like to listen to podcasts and music, preferably German rap and acoustic. Situations in daily life can also inspire me very much.
How do you come up with ideas for your shootings? Do you make a detailed plan or do your ideas form during the shootings?
It’s a mixture from both. I prepare the shooting and think about the location. Mostly I already know the locations very well where I’m shooting and that makes it easier to develop interesting ideas during the shootings.
How do you typically get in contact with your models?
Sometimes I meet them on the street, at work or they contact me. They have to be enthusiastic to get some pictures and have to be up to my photo idea… Then the shooting works out well. Recently, I asked the girl at the KFC counter, because she seemed to be very friendly and inspired me. 3 hours later, I got her contact on Facebook and hopefully a shooting will follow soon.
Tell us your funniest, scariest, most bizarre or most touching story from a photo shoot!
During a shooting, there is this special moment when you realize that the subject trusts you 100% and you could ask for anything now. That special moment gives me the buzz every time. I once had model who had been ditched at the altar a few weeks before… We tried to capture her anger and sadness during the shooting. Thinking back to these hours still gives me the shivers.
How important is postproduction for you?
I think that editing pictures can increase their depth and meaning. That’s why I wouldn’t like to do without it. Mostly I play around with the color climate of the pictures. I’m really fond of warm tones and I’m sure that shows in my photos.
Is there anybody who you would dream to take pictures of?
I would really like to shoot with Sabrina Nowak or Alina Süggeler. Those two are so very naturally “beautiful” that I would love to get them in front of my camera. Especially Sabrina is somebody I’ve been following on Facebook for a long time and it would be a dream coming true to work with her.
Martin, thank you very much for the interview!