Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Two Way Lens and Bokeh Magazine

I am happy to announce some exiting news!

I have teamed up with Bokeh Magazine to feature a Two Way Lens interview from the archive in every new issue, starting with the current one.

Bokeh is an international photography magazine based in California and published exclusively on iPad and iPhone, available through iTunes.

The first interview from Two Way Lens in Bokeh No. 11, is with James Friedman and it looks terrific.

More about Bokeh and how to get it can be found here

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Klaus Pichler

What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what have been some of the most important milestones in your career up until now?

My first attempts in photography happened in the early 1990s, when my parents gave me a compact camera as a present, but the spark did not ignite then. Eight or nine years later, when I was studying landscape architecture, I bought a Minolta because I wanted to have a camera to document the excursions I had in my studies. And, almost instantly, I noticed that I really enjoyed taking pictures and I felt that I had just discovered a powerful tool. After some time, in an honest moment, I admitted to myself that I enjoyed photography much more than my studies and decided to make a profession out of it after my degree. Retrospectively, I could not say that something particular 'inspired' me to start taking photography. It was more a feeling that I, as a creative person who is neither able to draw nor to design things, had found something to put my creative energy into. In the first phase, I did not have access to photo books or exhibitions, so it was a very unaffected way of getting into photography.
Once I had made the decision to focus on photography (when I had three years of studying ahead) I consciously refused to look at other people's pictures or to get in contact with other photographers, because I felt that it would break my heart seeing other people making exhibitions or books while I was bond in my (sometimes much hated) studies. But quitting the studies was not an option, so there was only one solution: photographic hermitage... Same was when I started my first more serious attempts to create 'projects': I have been showing them to almost nobody because I was not sure if they were good enough, and spend nearly five years working on some series. Finally, I got a strong feeling that I had to go public with them, just to check if they were good or not. And since then, a lot has happened and I more and more began to consider myself as part of the (international) photo scene. Although it was a quite hard way, I am really happy about the fact that I am self-taught, because I had the opportunity to develop an own approach towards photography and towards working on different topics.
Of course, there were some 'milestones' which were really important for me - mostly because in my solitude phase I lost the belief that any of these events would ever happen in my life, for example the first gallery exhibition or the first book release. But more important are the pictures that I have not made yet - I always try to look into the future and to think about new ideas.

How do you decide on new projects to work on? Do you always shoot with a concept in mind or do you wait to be inspired as you go?

It maybe sounds like a stereotype phrase, but I don't search for new topics, the topics just find me. Since I have gotten into photography more seriously, there is some kind of 'Pichler universe' in which my topics are located. Although sometimes the aesthetics and the outcome of the series are quite different, the topics itself have strong connections with each other. It's all about everyday life and it's strange aspects - sometimes within a special group of people, sometimes represented by artifacts. And I think, since society will exist as long as humans exist, I won't run out of new topics, since people are strange sometimes - and this strangeness is what inspires me, attracts me and appalls me at the same time.
In a way, there is a slight idea of a concept when I begin to work on a new series, but I love to step back to a quite naive position in the beginning, to pretend that I don't know anything about my subject and that I have to start from the very beginning. This helps me not to be preoccupied and to get a sense for a variety of possible directions. In the end, I always have the feeling that every topic requires it's own aesthetic and that it is my job to tease out which one.

How do you approach editing your work, and what advice would you give to others about evaluating their photographs?

In my opinion, editing is almost as important as taking photos itself, especially when you work on a topic. Not only to select pictures, but to get a good feeling for the whole thing, the strengths and weaknesses of the series and the gaps which have to be filled. I spend long hours with the photographs of a new series, selecting them, arranging them, trying to get a feeling for the role of every single picture in the complete series. And also to find out, when one or more new pictures are added, if (and if yes, how) they change the whole series. I think in every series there are some 'pillar images' - the ones that carry the whole series - and it is very important to find out which ones take this function. When I am in the final stage of a new series, I sometimes get the feeling that every picture is like a close relative for me whom I know for a very long time. And I consider this as extremely important.
In my opinion, following advices are very important: Rome has not been built on one day - so take your time when you work on a series, allow yourself some breaks (even if they are months long) and settle your own emotion towards everything. Also, try to look at your pictures with a distance view, with the eyes of a stranger, probably of a stranger who is hypercritical. Be honest to your self, painfully honest. If it hurts, it's good, because you find out that there still is some potential.

What ways have you found successful for promoting your work and finding a receptive audience for it?

I think it is difficult to answer this question in general, because I think the way one promotes his or her work is deeply linked with one's personality. There are the real-life networking kings, the Facebook- queens etc. The most important thing is to find a way one really feels comfortable with, because it is easily noticeable if one is authentic or not.
In my case, I just do know one way of promoting my work, because miraculously the first attempt of promoting my series (after five years of working in silence) worked out fine and still is working: when I finally decided to go public, I sent some self-introduction messages to the blogs I liked then (around 10 blogs, as far as I remember), and almost every blog I contacted posted my works. I did not expect that before, and I was amazed and shocked at the same time then. Now, three years after, this is still my way I do promotion, especially if I am introducing a new series - I just send the info to some of my favorite bloggers and hope that the word on my series is spread by them and that other people get aware of the series. Besides that, I am a lucky one because I cooperate with two galleries - one in the field of photography, the other one in contemporary fine art - and plenty of promotion is been done by them. Luckily, because I am not considering myself as a businessman, especially not when it comes to my own work...

Sort: Pineapple 'Nana'
Place of production: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Transport distance: 10.666 km
Mode of Transport: Aircraft, Freight vehicle
Cultivation: Outdoor plantation
Harvest time: all- season
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 11,94 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 360 l
price: 2,10 € / 1 kg

Sort: Strawberries 'Elsanta'
Place of production: San Giovanni Lupatoto, Verona, Italy
Transport distance: 741 km
Mode of Transport: Freight vehicle
Cultivation: Foil green house
Harvest time: June – October
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,35 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 348 l
price: 7,96 € / 1 kg

 Sort: Lemons 'Lapithkiotiki'
 Place of production: Limassol, Cyprus
 Transport distance: 2050 km (linear distance)
 Mode of Transport: Ship, Freight vehicle
 Mode of Production: Outdoor plantation
 Production time: October to February
 Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,72 kg
 Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 448 l
 price: 1,99 € / kg

Sort: Cuore di Bue
Place of production: Albenga, Italy
Transport distance: 1035 km
Mode of Transport: Freight vehicle
Mode of Production: Foil green house
Production time: all- season
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,31 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 215 l
price: 8,90 € / 1 kg

Sort: Water Melon ‚Reina de Corazones’ red
Place of production: Pilar de la Horadada, Alicante, Spain
Transport distance: 2442 km
Mode of Transport: Freight vehicle
Cultivation: Outdoor plantation
Harvest time: June – August
Carbon footprint (production & transport) per kg: 0,54 kg
Water requirement (production & transport) per kg: 1490 l
price: 0,99€ / 1 kg

 from the series Just the two of us

 from the series Just the two of us

 from the series Just the two of us

 from the series Just the two of us

 from the series Just the two of us

from the series Skeletons in the closet

from the series Skeletons in the closet

 from the series Skeletons in the closet

 from the series Skeletons in the closet

 from the series Skeletons in the closet

© copyright all images Klaus Pichler, all rights reserved

About this Blog

Two Way Lens is a project designed to inform and inspire emerging photographers wanting to focus their creative output in a way that enhances their chances of finding an audience, being included in exhibitions and ultimately achieving gallery representation. The journey from inspired artist to successful artist is one that is often difficult to negotiate and hard to control. On these pages, I will feature the experiences and opinions of other photographers who I have found inspiring, and hopefully the knowledge they have built in their own experiences will be valuable to all of us finding our own way to sharing our creativity with the wider world.