What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Roman Dejon and I am living in a small village in North Rhine Westfalia / Germany.
How long have you been taking pictures?
I have been taking pictures for 4 years. But for me it feels that I have started last year.
When did you get into photography and why?
I got into photography when I took a picture of my nephew and some other guests during a family party 8 years ago. I think at this point and especially after the feedback of my family I realized I maybe have a gift creating emotional and artful pictures of human beings. But it took me some years to check there is a really huge photo community. And as you may know it is a big step from taking a picture from your nephew to ask foreign people for a shooting. I think people and portrait photography is a complex thing. It´s special because you are interacting with human beings who have feelings and emotions. You never know what you get. It´s always a journey into uncertainty. Meeting interesting, lovely people and being creative at the same time is a wonderful thing I don´t want to miss anymore.
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why?
I am not the best person to comment on my own style because I don´t have a clear focus on that. I just do what I feel in that moment. When I take pictures of somebody I try to create a mixture of showing this person in very personal and intimate way and express myself at the same time. Pure nakedness doesn´t mean that I see this person. I only see what has been offered.
Trying to capture soulful, expressive or authentic moments means everything to me. When I started shooting people I did not know much about photography. I just did portrait and tried to find my way. I don´t shoot that often, just 2-3 shoots a month. I found out that this is the best way for me. As I said I have a special connection to a lot of pictures of mine and therefore also to the people I photographed. Sometimes it´s getting very intense and emotional on location and afterwards everything pops up again when I do post-production. This influences the final picture enormously. I try to focus on my last shooting as long as possible to get the best out of it. That´s my way to thank the models and show them respect for their performance.
How do you approach a shoot? Do you pre plan, or is it a click and run?
I found out that a short pre-planning is very helpful to give it more structure I can rely on. I always try to talk about such things like moods, locations, outfits and make-up beforehand. In my case it´s very simple. If I have a special idea on my mind I support the model with some moods. Location is not that important to me but it helps sometimes to create a special look or imagery. Make-up? Less is more! I want authentic and natural pictures without lots of make-up. If a person is interested in working with me it should be clear that there shouldn´t be much between us!
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
There is no end goal. I try to do what I like the most. In times of social media it´s getting more and more important to focus on your own strength and happiness. What do I like? Do I show what I like the most, or do I show what my audience expect me to show? If I still like a picture after several years I know that this is really one my personal masterpieces regardless of lens and tones. Sometimes people tell me I do storytelling but I guess I don´t know what they mean. Everyone have a different view on that so do I. I am always biased and have my own view.
Do you have an influences you can share?
I am influenced by a lot of people and photographers everyday. Everybody have others skills and things I totally love and admire. But that changes day by day because I change too. There is a german photographer who influenced me much more than others because he showed me that my way has no alternative.
What inspires you?
Inspiration is a daily business. Of course there are pictures everywhere but also landscapes, small places or backyards. Sometimes I feel trapped because I walk through the streets and scan peoples faces from a photographers perspective and I can´t do anything about that. The same with locations. It´s a chase. I am so deep in that I can´t help myself. It´s hard to stop and return to real life. It feels like a 24/7 job but it isn´t. It´s just passion. Weird, isn´t it?
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph?
Generally spoking no. Ansel Adams once said: “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” If you truly love your own work you should be satisfied! If you don´t love it, you should think about a change.
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
When I started I just did what I liked the most…taking pictures. Now, after several years it´s still fun and really appreciate all the people I meet. I don´t have the intention to be a professional photographer one day but I do have a goal. I know what I want to achieve and I know what I´ll do with it one day. But my plan comes from the bottom of my heart and I don´t want to speak about it in public. Just a few people in the German photography scene know my future plans. I like my job and I like the opportunity of being creative in my spare time without feeling pressure in terms of money. I guess it would totally destroy all what I like so hard in photography. We all have enough pressure in our life and social media doesn´t help me to reduce this.
Which social media platforms do you use and why?
I use several platforms; I.G, Facebook, 500px, Vero, my website and Instagram. Most of them I use not very often except Instagram. Instagram is still a fast growing platform and useful for photographers even though it becomes more and more Facebook. But if you really want to enjoy a photographers work you should take your time and watch their work old-school on a large screen. I really appreciate all the people visiting my website, watching my portfolio and reading the interviews.
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media?
Actually I follow a lot of colleagues because I admire their work or even know them personally. Of course I have some special ones I currently like. Milad Sadegi from Portland is doing really nice moody pictures with fantastic colour tones. I also like Martin Neuhof for his creativity and Alexandra Ford Hamilton. Of course Lighting Master Jean Noir and Stefan Beutler.
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless?
For me personally mobile photography doesn´t exist, but I think photography is not a question what kind of gear do you use.
What’s your main go to camera, lenses and how did you make that choice?
Currently I am using a mirrorless Sony A series camera combined with a 85mm 1.4 G-Master. Rarely I am using a 35mm lens from Zeiss. My point of view is that Sony offers me certain tools to focus more on what´s going on in front of the camera. My kind of photography is based on communication and chasing the perfect moment. You can believe me I am a stupid idiot if it comes to technical adjustments or settings. Same with post production. Basic knowledge, that´s it!
What is your dream location to shoot at?
My dream location is where the person I shoot is feeling relaxed and comfy. Of course Iceland, Cape Town and NYC is worth the flight but usually location is overestimated. It´s all about the mood.
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it?
In 2017 I met a wonderful person in a nice studio in cologne. She is this kind of a super natural woman who needs nearly nothing to be gorgeous and she just chilled on a huge bed, looked out of the window. I shot as an observer, lying on the floor like a carpet with lens wide open. In the background you can see some parts of this vintage room. Fantastic! 6 months later she was telling me how she felt that day. This made that image so important and special to me.
In three words how would you describe your photography?
Emotional, Close, Authentic
How would you describe the current scene in photography?
I don´t have an opinion about the scene because I am not that deep into it due to time reasons. I try to focus on my pictures.
How do you feel about better quality cameras being put into smart phones?
Smartphone cameras are a useful thing for capturing nice moments in my private life.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images?
Absolutely not. Should you buy expensive lenses? Yes. Expensive bodies? Not necessarily!
I would suggest every starter in portrait photography to spend just a few hundreds euros and buy a used DLSR Body. Additionally a simple 50 mm 1.4. Perfect combination to shoot indoor as well as outdoor. Most of the people have the conviction that expensive cameras will stop them creating shitty pictures.
It´s all about developing your eyes!
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