When did you first become interested in art, in general?
In 7th or 8th grade I started enjoying the art classes in my school. I remember doing a pencil drawing once that I was very pleased with and had high hopes for. The teacher did not feel the same and graded me quite badly. That kind of put a damper on things and I preferred to play soccer for the rest of my childhood and young adulthood and probably drove me into photography.
When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?
At around 19 or 20 I kind of “stole” my Dad’s camera. He wasn’t using it regularly and it was just sitting there. I started taking it more and more until finally I was able to call it my own. It was a pretty fancy Pentax for the times being and did a fine job taking photographs. A couple years later I moved from a small town near Cologne to West Berlin. Berlin was hip and wild. The art scene was and still is very remarkable and I very much enjoyed it for my 10 year stay in Berlin before moving to the Boston area of Massachusetts in the United States.
In what other forms of art do you also work, if any?
I am sometimes drawn to painting but with little to no talent I have a hard time really pursuing it but thinking of painting some of my New England award winning photography images. Photography comes somewhat much easier.
On which style(s) of photography do you specialize?
I consider myself an all around photographer and whatever photographic subject inspires me that day I give it my best and strive for highest quality. In particular I enjoy flower, landscape and seascape photography throughout New England. I am having a hard time with wildlife but love when I pursue it. Over the past couple of years I fell in love with macro photography of insects and butterflies. It’s a small world, intriguing and amazing. When I am not busy chasing the light throughout New England’s National and State Parks I am inspired by the Boston skyline and cityscape landmarks. There are a few minutes when the city lights and twilight merge and become one – love that!
Has your style changed from when you first began? If so, why?
Over the years my style changed dramatically. I taught myself basic photography skills and developed my techniques, compositions, use of colors and light further so I can most effectively strive for the best photography pictures possible at the time. I often head out to pursue local photography. Local photography keeps the budget in balance because of short traveling destinations … no need to travel by plane or train or book any hotels. I often get loose and creative within abstract and intentional camera movement compositions which add a nice enhancing touch to my portfolio.
What kind of equipment do you use?
A few years ago I gave up on my Canon film camera and joined the digital armada when I purchased my first DSLR. I still use canon equipment solely and my film prints are now digitized. Not that long ago I upgraded to my 2mnd digital camera with a bunch of high end lenses and filters … always great fun for photogs to research camera gear and getting a decent deal on things!
What made you choose that equipment?
It fit my wallet at the time and just felt right in my hands. The 3 major players like Canon, Nikon and Sony are pretty much in the same league which when asked for advice I always recommend picking up a camera in a store and take some test shots. Also try the camera with different lenses. Then chose the camera that feels right for you … almost like buying running shoes … but that’s a different topic!
How do you choose what you’re going to photograph?
When you look at my photographs you immediately see that vibrant colors attract me the most. Flowers come in quite handy for that. I also like to photograph landscapes which I combine with hiking. Living in New England provides me with great fall foliage and color later in the year. Fantastic nature is at my doorstep year round and I try to take advantage of it as much as possible … I love the outdoors. When I am not out and about in the woods or mountains I like to capture Boston in its entire beauty. Boston historic and new architecture is inspiring and beautiful – a feast for the local or travel photographer alike.
What kind of editing do you perform on your photographs, if any?
Using my gear to the fullest I aim to take photos right the first time with my gear and not sit long hours in front of the computer to fix a mediocre photograph. I am not very proficient in Photoshop and lack the patience. Usually I perform basic editing for post processing … dust removal, minor color saturation, contrast, level or lighting adjustments; sharpening is a must. I like to keep cropping to a minimum and reserved for client’s … on average I spend about 2-5 minutes per photograph before uploading and making it available for sale.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
This is hard to tell because sometimes you drive out to Acadia National Park, the Cape Cod National Seashore, or the White mountains of New Hampshire, hike for hours, set up and compose a shot, wait for the perfect light and finely pull the trigger to capture the scene – sometimes that effort is wasted and one has to pack up and try to do it all over again the next day. On the other extreme I like to explore the city of Boston, local wildlife sanctuaries, parks and gardens. Those photo locations are close to my house and I basically wake up, fall out of bed, drive over and start photographing. Alternatively I may also have a nice dinner with my family and then head out to explore my hometown of Boston.
How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it easy to walk away?
I always aim to capture the best photograph in the field using filters and other aids. That leaves me with as little post processing as possible. In today’s digital world it is much easier to know if you captured a pleasing and beautiful photograph or not. Simply check the image and histogram on the camera screen … re-take the image if required or off you are for your next location.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
Taking a break for a while is one option. Sometimes I force myself back into it and get going this way. Changing the scene or setting always helps and inspires … gives your photography new life. Years back I invented a project to go to a local wildlife sanctuary for an entire year to capture its often overlooked beauty and overcame low motivation that way. Looking at other artists and their work in galleries or online is often inspiring to me too.
How well do you take criticism?
Usually people like my photographs and respond positively to them. However, sometimes I am asked about my Photoshop techniques. I try to take it as a compliment and calmly explain that I prefer using my camera and gear correctly so I minimize my digital post processing work. At one of my last art fair festival a guy asked about my daisies and while I was in the middle of talking to somebody else he mumbled in disbelief. When I was ready to chat with him he was on his way out of my booth not wanting to talk anymore … that kind of communication ticks me off …
Who is your favorite photographer?
I admire the great works of Ansel Adams and Clyde Butcher in B&W and Art Wolfe and Tim Fitzharris for their incredible color landscapes, wildlife and travel photography. Tony Sweet is a great flower photographer.
Which one of your photographs is your favorite?
Usually the latest always becomes the greatest and immediately turns into one of my favorite. A good example is Beautiful Boston. All time favorites are Sudbury River, Cape Cod Solitude, Orange You Glad and Serene Cape Cod that was awarded Highly Commended in the 2104 Landscape Photographer of the Year contest by a panel of world famous photographers including 2 of my favorite all-time photographers: Art Wolfe and Tim Fitzharris.
One can imagine when looking at the entire panel of 10 judges that the award means a lot to me and validates my quest for high quality fine art photography.
I take pride in my insect photography and I am very pleased with my photos of Boston. I am also very much in favor of my human forms in nature series where I look for human resemblance when I get out in the field and abstract photography artworks.
Have you exhibited any of your work in galleries?
I exhibited in art galleries in Berlin, Germany and nowadays in the Boston area. Most recently I had 2 pieces in the The Fine Art of Photography regional juried photography exhibition in Plymouth, MA. Cape Cod Summer Storm and Idyllic Cape Cod were on display in June 2014 at the Cape Cod Art Association, a juried annual art exhibition.
Floral Abstract and Spring Tree Carousel were shown at the spring show at the Plymouth Center for the Arts.
As mentioned earlier Serene Cape Cod was awarded highly commended by the judges of the 2014 Landscape Photographer of the Year contest.
Will your work be included at any upcoming contests or galleries?
I am always on the hunt to showcase my photographs. I made arrangements for 2015 for another solo show in Brookline and I am in talk with a local art gallery to show and sell my fine art photography. I anxiously waiting for results from another contest submission that hopefully lead to a new announcement – I keep you posted. Let me know if you hear about anything suitable to my photography.
What are your plans for the future?
Subscribe to my Newsletter at http://www.rothgalleries.com or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter to keep track of me or meet me at one of my art events.
Photography-wise I will keep exploring the beauty of New England. This year I will capture parts of Cape Cod, Boston and Acadia National Park. I also have plans to go back to the White Mountains year round … lots of hiking and photography on the way. Florida everglades may become an option in the winter.
Next year I am planning a trip to Europe … probably biking along the Danube, then Italy … checking in with my family near Cologne is a must!
I am writing a regular nature photography blog at http://www.exploringthelight.com where I provide tons of photo tips, discuss my photos in more detail, and tell the story behind my photos.
I haven’t given up on writing and publishing a photography book but it takes a huge time commitment – an advance from a book publisher would help for sure!
What advice do you have for budding photographers?
Keep chasing the light as often as possible and strive for your best photographs to capture these marvelous moments.
Have you done any courses to help you?
No. I am a self taught photographer. I found these great reads by Tim Fitzharris and highly recommend them if you are interested in nature and landscape photography.
What do you do to market your work?
Limited signed lightjet photography prints of my award winning fine art photography are available through my website at http://www.exploringthelight.com, at art exhibitions or arts festival I have been accepted in. The galleries contain my finest selection of beautiful New England photographs.
I also sell my photography artwork 24/7, worldwide on canvas, acrylic, metal or standard photo prints – print only, matted, framed at http://www.rothgalleries.com. I often providing discounts through my newsletter or be on the look-out for the photograph of the week on my blog to save a few bucks on my photo artwork.
I use twitter at @naturefineart and facebook at naturefineart to engage with art lovers, art collectors, and other artists. If you are on Linked In you can find me there too at naturephotographs. As mentioned earlier I write a regular nature photography blog at http://whereintheworldisjuergen.blogspot.com that can also be accessed from my website at http://www.exploringthelight.com where I license photography images.
I also write guest blogs and published a few articles with Apogee Photo Magazine:
Besides online I am attending local art fairs and local events, exhibit in galleries.
May we ask for all the URLs we can find you on?
Hope you stop by at one of the sites and connect, Isabella!
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes. Please contact me through my nature photography blog at Blogspot, or online galleries websites at Roth Galleries and Exploring The Light for more info. I am also offering single day and multiple day photography workshops and photo tours in New England and Boston.
Have you got hobbies?
I used to run and run long. It’s been a battle for a few years to get back into it but I am optimistic to start running again soon. Not sure if I ever will run the Boston marathon or another one but half marathons should be feasible in the future. Running clears my mind and of course keeps the weight in check. Nowadays I like swimming, biking and the outdoor experience.
Where are you based?
I am located in Brookline near Boston, Massachusetts