What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Klaus Motznik and I live in Engelthal, a small Village near Nuremberg, Bavaria.
How long have you been taking pictures?
I started photography back in school, in analogue times, so I do photography for about 25 years now.
When did you get into photography and why?
Like I said I started back in school with an analogue Nikon F-501, after a long break I restarted taking pictures in 2010 with my first DSLR and doing mostly landscapes. In June 2015 I started people photography as a friend of mine wanted me to assist for a shoot. I got interested in working with people and it was fun. People do talk more than landscapes 😉. As I also got interested in retouching, I went to a meet and greet of Gabor Richter in Nürnberg, lot of photographers from Nuremberg were there – I knew nobody. In autumn 2015 i was lucky to get involved with some of Nürnbergs best photographers and joined the orgateam of Stegerwalk, a photowalk in Nürnberg we did three times and had the chance to work with Alexander Steger, Stephan Bär, and other great guys. So this was sort of a breakthrough, cause all of a sudden people knew me.
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why?
I think I took the path nearly everybody takes when starting photography and post production / retouching. First I was overwhelmed with the possibilities of Photoshop and I wanted to do all techniques that I could find in tutorials. I also did a lot of outdoor photography with a porty to get a special look in my images. Over the years I got back to basics. No more tons of equipment (although I still have a lot). Now I would say my photography is clean and simple. Today I really concentrate on light and shadows, available light. I do not retouch so much on my images, sometimes I really post them out of cam (we all know there is some processing inside the camera…) and do not retouch at all.
I want to get my portraits as natural as possible, same for my boudoir shots. So I guess the road took me from taking pictures in jpg to RAW and retouching 2h per image just to get every technique on the picture that I knew of, back to natural light and natural faces. Even if sometimes people say I do too much skin retouching – nope, sometimes you are very lucky with your model and if you shoot at f/1.4 skin gets smooth sometimes😉
How do you approach a shoot? Do you pre-plan or is it a click and run?
It depends. Sometimes when I want to try something special of course I need some preparation. Some shoots are done without so much planning, but I would not say click and run… when I shoot with a model and I know the location I have some pictures in my mind what I want to do and how I want it to look.
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
An end goal, that’s hard to describe I guess. Mostly I shoot because it is fun to work with people, especially if you know your model and you know what to expect, it is all about the good time we have together, but of course I always try to make aesthetic images.
What I really like about my work with people is, to give them a good or better feeling about themselves. Some models are so critical with themselves and seeing them smile when they look at my camera display feels good!
Do you have an influence you can share?
There are so many! Just walk through the world with open eyes. I do travel a lot due to my main occupation and I get influenced by pretty locations. I have a list of spots where I want to go for a shoot and I also have some names in my mind for that list, too 😉
What inspires you?
Many things, mostly Instagram, books of other photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Ben Bernschneider, Stefan Forster or David Anthony (who inspired me to my own book). But also some tech-talk with other photographers, meet ups, walks. Not to forget one of my school friends from the past, Peter Jirman. In my opinion one of Germanys best nude photographers.
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph?
Yes! I’ve seen many of them. And I don’t talk about beginners who make mistakes, we all did (when I take a look on my images from 2015 (that I was proud of) I am still thinking wtf did you do there??) I am talking about the “experts” who think it is enough to show naked skin, no matter how bad it looks, not thinking about light at all…and more important, no passion, no soul…
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
Well, of course I think every photographer would be glad if he could do it for a living, but my goal is to improve my photography all the time, learn from others, share my knowledge with others. And well, if I get the opportunity to find some reasonable priced space, I guess I would love to have my own studio.
Which social media platforms do you use and why?
I mostly use Instagram. I started with Facebook, but at the moment FB is not my fav tool. I think interaction is easier on Instagram, although the rules changed on Instagram as well, your work is better shown to others, not only your followers. I also have an account on VERO, the platform that got hyped a few months ago (again).
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media?
There are many, of course the ones I know in person, famous people, but also photographers that are not well known, but deliver that extra piece of beauty, you always like to look at… I can’t name any special photographers, I might forget some 😉
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless?
Well, the best camera is the one you have with you, and almost everybody has his smartphone by hand when he leaves the house. I would not underestimate mobile photography. With the new lenses and apps for postproduction, even smartphones are a real weapon of light – if used correctly. I just wrote an article about mobile travel photography for a German university magazine and I hope I can help people to get better smartphone images from their travels. But for me in people photography as well as in landscape photography I better like my DSLR/Mirrorless
What’s your main go to camera, lenses and how did you make that choice?
I used to use a Nikon D800 full frame DSLR with a Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens as my primary equipment – till I got the opportunity to get a Sony A7 with just 240 images taken for less than half price. I now mostly use the Sony A7 with the Sony-Zeiss 50mm 1.4. I really love the possibilities of the Sony, for example WiFi to get images directly to my iPhone and print them for my models on my little Instax printer.
What is your dream location to shoot at?
Anywhere in Ireland! I’ve been to Ireland so many times and the beauty of the landscape is so WOW! There are so many spots to shoot, Cliffs of Moher in sunset with a beautiful model, Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park, Minard Castle on Dingle with smooth light and little wind in the models hair… well… just drop me and a model there and we will have some craic!
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it?
Well, in people photography I have more than one and it is hard to choose. So I will name a landscape image I took two years ago, of course in Ireland. We’ve been to the Burren on Irelands west coast and stopped at the Burren Coast Road where some cliffs with about 30-40m can be found. Tourist busses stop there and belch out tourists who get there, raise their iPads, take a picture and get back into the bus. I was trying to find my way down the cliffs and managed to get down to sea level. The sun was setting, the waves got high and I placed my tripod and camera on one of the rocks. It took me some time to read the waves and get ready for the shot. I love it! It is the title on my private FB profile and it’s also in my living room at home on Alu-Dibond. Fun fact, as I looked at the image on my camera display I somehow forgot that there is still an ocean behind me and I really missed one of the bigger waves – but it did not miss me… soaking wet, but it was worth it!
In three words how would you describe your photography?
natural, passionate and true
How would you describe the current scene in photography?
That’s a difficult question. I really love the scene in my home area, so many creative people, bringing new ideas, so many people you can talk with, connect with, photographers, models, makeup artists, so many fantastic people united in such a great thing as photography! On the other hand you can find so much envy, disfavor by some individuals and that’s what I do not understand.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images?
Oh well, you can take absolutely bad images with expensive cameras! I know some people having the latest equipment with camera bodies for 6TEUR and the images could have also been taken with an iPhone 5. I also know some people using an “old” Nikon D3 with only 12MP! And the images are fantastic! The camera is only a tool for the creativity and the eye of the artist behind it. Photography for me is about passion no matter what tool you use, without passion, it is only releasing the shutter.
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