Olaf Slaghekke was the winner of our June “Color & Texture” Photo Challenge, making him a perfect candidate for a 10 Questions interview.
1. Where are you based?
I live in a small town called Burgwedel next to Hanover (ExpoCity 2000). Hanover is one of the largest cities in northern Germany, but it’s not as popular as Hamburg or Berlin. That’s a shame because there’s so much to see and do in and around Hanover.
2. How did you get started photography?
During my time in school in the 80s, I began to develop my own black-and-white pictures in a darkroom. In the late 90s, I switched to digital photography. Since that time, photography has been a serious hobby for me.
3. How long have you been an active photographer?
I’ve been taking pictures for nearly 40 years but with various intensity.
4. Do you consider yourself a professional photographer or a hobbyist?
Although I invest a lot of time in photography, I‘m still an amateur. Having fun is my main reason to go out and see the world through the lens of my camera. I enjoy spending a day with my camera without any pressure and time limits. Just to let it flow and feel free to do my own thing.
5. How would you describe your photographic style?
I‘d describe it as “Exploring.” There’s no real mainstream I‘m following because I love to discover new techniques, but I get inspired by other photographers too. One day I’m working on a series about a former printer trade or a cabaret artist in a historic garden, and on another day, I meet someone who invited me to a match of water polo or a lawnmower race. I mean, there are a lot of things to discover.
6. Which photographic subjects do you focus on?
My focus is wide and changes from landscape, travel, lost industries, storytelling, people, theater, sport and action and cities.
7. Where is one of your favorite locations to shoot?
As a forest teacher, I also like to be outside and explore nature in my environment. Sometimes you don’t have to travel very far to explore the world. The magic is so near.
8. Which photographers do you most admire?
It’s lucky that the University for Photojournalism and Documentary Photography is based in Hanover at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Every two years they organize the Lumix Festival for “Young Photojournalism” here. I admire these young, motivated people who show us the different sides of the world in their picture stories.
9. What are you working on at the moment? What’s next?
I’m working on a series called “Beachblues” where I try to capture the wide and calm natural atmosphere on (nearly) empty beachsides.
10. What’s in your camera bag?
At the moment I’m using the Olympus E‑M1 Mark II. The lenses I use most are the M.Zuiko ED 12‑40mm F2.8 PRO and M.Zuiko ED 40‑150mm F2.8 PRO. For landscape photography, I use the M.Zuiko ED 7‑14mm F2.8 PRO and the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 for portrait photography.
11. What software do you use for processing and managing your images?
Adobe Photoshop CC and DxO Nik Collection.
12. For you, what makes a compelling photograph?
I don’t stick too much on rules. Following the “Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry I’d say, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” That means a picture must touch me with mind and heart.
13. What’s a bit of photography advice you wish you had when starting out?
Be open-minded, get up early, take your time, look for different views and details. Let your feelings guide you. But my most important piece of advice is: Have fun!