“Transition” by Martin Wacker
Martin Wacker won our recent Black-and-White Photo Challenge, and we wanted to learn more about his and his wife, Anna’s, inspirations and photographic styles based on their submissions. Read on to find out more about these Germany-based photographers.
1. Where are you based?
We are both based in Hamburg, Germany. Martin is German and Anna is originally from Greece.
2. How long have you been an active photographer?
For 10 years, more or less.
3. How would you describe your photographic style?
That’s a difficult question to answer. We experiment in different genres and every photo is treated differently. It always depends on the story we want to tell and the mood we are in. We like variety. Photographer friends tell us that our photos are identifiable because they recognize our style. One could say our photography is mostly artistic, atmospheric and with a tendency to minimalism. Many times it borders on surrealism. Our photos have less to do with how things really look, but more with the way we see them.
4. Which photographic subjects do you focus on?
We basically like to shoot whatever catches our eye. Our favorite subjects are architecture, abstracts, street, urban decay and landscapes. We also do conceptual work and portraits. We love exploring the streets and look for interesting details that are often overlooked. Our passion is to capture beauty in simplicity.
5. What is one of your favorite photographs you’ve made, and why?
Anna: For me, one of my favorite photographs is “Spy In The Fog” because all conditions were right, at that moment, to create a good photograph: framing, mood, light, interesting architectural and street details, and a person in the street that animates the image and completes the story and composition. It was a matter of being at the right place at the right time.
Martin: For me, one of my favorite photographs is “Transition.” I like how a normal hotel facade turns into something surreal. As a frequent traveler, I’ve seen so many hotels and once you’re checked in it feels like a different universe. That was the feeling I got when I took this shot.
6. What’s in your camera bag?
Our favorite camera is the Nikon D750 and favorite lenses are the Tamron 24-70mm and Tokina Opera 16-28mm.
7. Is there a photo accessory you consider essential for your work?
A lens cleaner is the most essential accessory in our bag! When we go out for a photowalk, we just take our cameras and lens cleaners. We find other accessories, e.g. a tripod, mostly unnecessary for the kind of photography we do. Handheld shots work better for us because we don’t want to lose the emotions of a moment. Otherwise, the moment is gone forever. We find the tripod restrictive when it comes to taking shots from challenging angles. The tripod is essential, however, for interior shots where the light is poor and when we are commissioned to do a photoshoot.
8. What software do you use for processing and managing your images?
We always use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and sometimes Photoshop Elements to create composites and to remove distracting or unnecessary elements.
9. For you, what makes a compelling photograph?
A compelling photograph isn’t really about technical excellence. For us, it’s mostly about originality, expression, the mood it conveys or the story it tells. We admire photos where something ordinary has been turned into something extraordinary. It’s not the technical means that makes a good photograph but the eye, imagination and artistic skills of a photographer.
10. What’s a tip or bit of photography advice you wish you had when starting out?
Of course, one must have basic knowledge about photography when starting out. One should study the work of other photographers constantly and not be afraid to experiment until they find the style and genre that expresses them. It’s OK not to follow the rules. Photographers, like all artists, should not feel restricted in expressing themselves. After all, photography is a visual art.