Interview: Photographer Michael Wittig (Germany)
Tell us something about yourself
I am 53 years old, grown up in northern Germany, and I have a 10 years old son, that is the best and only reason that I live in Austria since more than 6 years in the beautiful “Salzkammergut” at the lake Traunsee. I studied social pedagogy at the university Hildesheim and did communal and associative youth work for some years. Through this work I made a professional change to creative industries and did advertising, marketing, public relations and in the music industry I made artist development and label management. These are just the most important stations – I studied one semester islam science in Hamburg, managed a rock music club, worked as a DJ a long time bby the way and more, what would go beyond the scope.
How and when did you get into photography?
I was always interested in photography. As a boy I lost the camera from my parents at a school trip, that made me really sad. When I was 16 or 17 I bought my first own camera. At my job as media designer in an advertising company in Hanover round the millenium I began to take photos more intensive than „just for fun“. Occasionally I worked at the galopping track „Bult“ in Hanover as a cameraman. From the company, that was instructed with filming there, I borrowed good nikon equipment and did own photo shootings with it sometimes what became more intense. A couple of time in the following years I worked as a photographer beside my main job. Since I live in Austria photography is my profession. But especially it became my passion. Or it has always been and I noticed then only.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography in general is the unique possibility to hold the moment. Different to painting that can do that but holds just the idea of a moment, or a moment that is already gone. The photography can actually freeze the fraction of a second, a single little moment, for eternity. This is really unique and touches me, at the same time or exactly because of this it adjusts the conditions – one single moment from what we call eternity and even that is already past again and gone forever in the same breath. It is a present that it’s possible for us to catch a moment on a photography. Even greater humility belongs to the photography which also succeeds in transferring the feeling of this moment or producing corresponding emotions at the viewer. It’s very broad, this can happen in different ways (or not) and thais is insanely exciting.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I’m a so called people photographer. I also photograph other things, but I like most to have one (or more) people in front of my camera. And here we come to my central impulse to make photos. My previous jobs had in common that it was there subject matter or at least necessary to work with ohter humans, to communicate, to work in teams, to work for humans... that is important for me, that is what I love. In photography I do like it naturally most to photograph other people. Exactly this ist the reason why I love photography in this way. It is always important form e to show as much as possible from the human being on the photo, from his substance, his emotions, his character, his personality and in fact posed as little as possible or not posed at all, rather as honest as possible. It doesn’t matter if I do portraits, fashion-editorials, commercials or wedding-photos – if it succeeds that the photos are alive and tell You something about the depicted people, then they have the chance to be good, only then...
Where do you get inspiration from?
Well, for the „appearences“ that co-determines the effect of a photo or a serie partially essential, I take my inspiration from all that surrounds us, also from photographers. For special sujets, a picture speech or a mood always somthing else can be responsible, the location, the lightning, the dress, the posing etc. and especially it ist he mix that can produce very individual results depending on the photographer. Since I love authenticity as well as artistic picture speeches I like to get inspired by photographers who secceeds to create photos that tells a story, are intensive, makes me speechless. But especially and at the end often exclusively the people inspire me, that I have in front of my camera, their personality, their individuality, the stories in their faces and in which they let me participate. The more someone can and want to let himself fall in front of my camera, the more someone is himself and lets me and my camera into his heart and into his soul, the more I’m inspired and even more beautiful and unique the photos will be.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I plan quite well sujets, locations, stylings etc. depending on the contidions and wishes of the clients or the involved people, that naturally are partially relevant and co-determine the goal. But actually the only thing I imagine is to make sure that the person that I photograph is as much himself as possible and maybe is able to leave his comfort zone that the opportunity arises to catch special moments.
Studio, on location or both?
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m professional photographer and get paid fort hat. But I don’t photograph for financial interest, but from passion.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Well there arae lots of memorable sessions. But a very special moment it was, to have four highly pregnant women in front of my camera at the same time. One oft hem was the mother of my son, who could motivate two contancts from a pregnancy forum. A friend who helped us was a make up artist brought a good friend who also was pregnant with her. Pregnant women has such a wonderful spirit full of great happiness and humility. I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to photograph this fourfold in one shooting session.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
The biggest source of inspiration are the people in front of my camera.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I need a camera and work with the equipment that is available. For now I work with canon. Favourite lenses are 50mm and 24-70. IF I have these two lenses with me I can pivture nearly everythin I want and I need. But I appreciate the 100mm macro for portraits and details too.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Who am I to give advice to others how they build their business. But I believe that you can only be really good in that what You love. And I’m also believing that You must not bend over for supposedly short term success – it goes as fast as it comes and doesn’t have any lasting worth.
What do you think of our new magazine?
For me as a visual person who loves photography it is a pleasure that the magazin is completely focussed on photos. I Liket he black and white cover from the last winner issue. Maybe I’m not sure if I want to see so much photos with one model in a fashion magazin, normally I’d prefer more variety. But it’s a special issue und You have the freedom to desing it how You want. The magazin is completely non-commercial and You give models, photographers and artists the possibility to show their work. And You publish so much series per monthly issue, there are 4 Magazins now for one month. That is great and as long as it is not commercial I will always support it. What I don’t like ist hat losts of commercial magazines exploit photographers and models and grab as much content as possible for free. They won’t exist without the great photos of these artists and they should pay for the good work, from which they live...