Interview: Photographer Torsten Behl (Germany)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I'm a Cologne based non-commercial/non-profit people photographer. I prefer a modern, cinematographic style mixed with vintage elements. I attache great importance to lighting and well-balanced post-production.
How and when did you get into photography?
My father gave his camera to me when I was a child. I shot some films. First I photographed landscapes, later sports-events and then models.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
It's a modern, cinematographic style mixed with vintage elements. I like dark pics with light accents. Lightning is very important to me.
My style is influenced by photographers like Marc Lagrange, Jacques Olivar, Szymon Brodziak, Formento & Formento, Ellen von Unwerth, Tatiana Gerusova.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography means a lot for my life. Here I can show my creative side and realize my ideas.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I get inspiration from a lot of things in my life. But mainly from books and magazines. For me it's important not to copy other pics. Often I "save" new ideas over months in my mind, only to combine them with other ideas in a new pic.
Music is very important to me. The most ideas I get by hearing music, this is a very important source of inspiration to me.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Definitely yes! Everything is planned and prepared. Usually I have a pic in my mind which I try to realize. There are only very few photographs that were shot by accident.
Studio, on location or both?
I prefer "on location", but I use always a flash. I like pics with lots of details, with a special platina. Studio shots are often too clean. I prefer conceptional contradictions between the location and the model's outfit ...
I don't like available light. I want to realize a picture that is in my mind, with all it's details. It wouldn't be the same if I have to move to another place of the location only because there is available light. This is not the kind of photography that suits to me.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I'm a hobbyist and I like that very much, because nobody tells me what I have to shoot or which kind of ideas have to be realized. It is my own creativity, my own style ...
What has been your most memorable session and why?
The most memorable session was with stunning Janina Schiedlofsky on a very cold day in November at an industry location.
I had a picture in my mind where Janina lays on the ground in nice dessous, all covered with jewelry.
We prepared everything very accurately. We had heaters, so Janina could warm up. The ground was covered. We had a check of the lightning before Janina laid down, so everything could happen as fast as possible.
Janina came out of the warmth to the set, laid on the ground and we started to cover her body with jewelry. We did this accurately and slowly - as I said, nothing happens by accident in my photography ;-)
Suddenly Janina began to scream ... we forgot that the suitcase filled with jewelry was placed 4 hours in the cold ... and the jewelry was cold as ice. As I said: "Perfect preparation" ;-)) But great Janina took it with humor and a very professional attitude :-))
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Canon ... but to me technique doesn't matter. I would produce the same kind of pics with other brands, too. Far more important than technique is the heart. My favorite lens is a simple 24-70mm/2.8 combined with a grey filter ... so the pics get a beautiful darkness :-)
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I don't have to think about this question. It's clearly the late Marc Lagrange. I learned almost everything from his photographs. I have all his books. Some of them are broken, because I looked a thousands of times to them. So I bought the same book title two or three times more. The most pics of him are fixed in my mind, I know nearly every detail. His photography was the reason why I started with model photography. It's so unbelievable sad that this really outstanding artist passed away.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I'm not a professional. Therefore it wouldn't make sense to give somebody such an advice.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I like it very much. I like the idea to discover new photographers, new models and there works.