I’ve already given a very brief summary of my first 2 days of photokina, but this time I want to get a little bit more detailed. So let’s start with day 1 (Thursday, 23rd).
As most of you will aready know it started at 11 am at the “meet the professionals”-stage with my speech/workshop (in german) which was about complex lighting. The subject isn’t that complicated if you got the right approach. I’ll probably post a little more about the topic in a later article.
I was very impressed to see the speech was very popular and entertaining, so the seats weren’t enough to give space to all interested visitors. I explained the topic with the help of an example taken out of my book. Unfortunately this book isn’t available in english RIGHT NOW (but I hope it will be in the not to distant future).
After the question time we (my first assistants, an old friend of mine and me) decided to first explore hall 1.
Let me tell you: If you only got 1 day at photokina, are very interested in images AND maybe are on a budget you HAVE to check out hall 1 (next time of course, as photokina is already over for this time). The access is free there.
It contains the work of lots of students from different european (or worldwide?) universities as well as exhibitions by already highly awarded photographers. Perfect for comparing styles, trends and techniques. Also the best place to get inspired.
We spend a lot of the day’s time there discussing light, intentions and tastes.
The one thing that concerned me a bit of the shown pictures was that some of them (especially in the”Hasselblad Masters” exhibition) reminded more of paintings or computer generated graphics than of photographs. I have some trouble seeing the artistry and craftsmanship of the photographer if every detail, lighting and color is photoshoped. In my very own opinion that kind of crosses the border which doesn’t make it photographgy anymore (which doesn’t mean I’m a “it should be printed as it comes right out of camera”-guy). One good example for that was Claudio Napolitano, who spoke at the Hasselblad-booth (right besides a Ferrari btw. – wtf?). His pictures are awesome, but it got me thinking as he mentioned that he does a lot of his work purely with natural light, as his images don’t look like that at all. I for myself prefer doing the lighting stuff with gear, not with photoshop. This is what qualifies a photographer as one in my view.
The most time left we used to get used to whole photokina-place and to get a brief overview of the exhibitors and there products.
One fixed appointment in my calendar was the portfolio review with Drew Gardner. Altough I had some problems finding him (or the manfrotto school of xcellence-booth) and therefore was a little late, Drew was apparently in best mood (to be fair, I haven’t ever seen him in another yet).
As soon as I pulled out my black leather portfolio, Drew started talking about the first topic: presentation. I don’t want to speak about all the invaluable secret hints he gave me, but I’ll just point you in the right direction: Are you a creative person and whom do you present your portfolio to? Does your portfolio (the presentation, not the pictures) fit to that?
After a long talk and lots of concrete tipps about that he (finally!) opened the file. And … well I know how narcissistic it maybe sounds, but why should I lie? … he literally loved the work. He loved the choice of models, the makeup, the styling, the scenes, the postproduction. This was the moment when my ego went out looking for a loft appartement for its own…
However, he had still more advises to me. Giving every picture its own double page, for example. He didn’t wanted to be forced to choose for one of the two on each spread.
As we talked, Drew showed a big interest in the way my pictures were made, especially the lighting (as he’s an equally huge light-addict as I am). So we came to talk about my book (“Fashion-Fotografie”), which I swear hadn’t intended to do beforehand. He was deeply upset it wasn’t available in english (Kind of a déja-vue, heh? Not for the last time!) as he would’ve wanted to get one.
Well, to get this long story to an end, I had the spontaneous idea to give him one of my spare picture-prints as a present which I signed and wrote my internet address on. I even convinced him to give me an interview for this blog in the future. So I’d call it a pretty successful meeting.
The one thing I really love at photokina is that it’s not over when it’s officially over. The day ends at 6pm, but there’s always a big party anywhere in the halls to which you can go to and simply meet people. We did so on thursday in Hall 9, which is lighting-fans heaven. The get-together was hosted by Guido Karp. The most important thing of photokina for me is getting in contact, of course.
But we didn’t stayed there that long and ended the day in some cologne restaurant with a group of 5 and some very good pasta made just in front of us.