Juergen Roth Talks the Talk with 1stAngel Arts Magazine
When did you first become interested in art, in general?
In 7th or 8th grade I started enjoying the art classes in school. Once I did a pencil drawing that I was very pleased with and had high hopes for. The teacher didn’t 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.
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 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.
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 photographs. Photography comes somewhat easier.
On which style(s) of photography do you specialize?
I consider myself a nature photographer and in particular like flowers, landscapes and seascape photography. I could see myself getting into wildlife photography as well. In my New York City gallery on my website at www.juergenrothphotography.com I have a small selection of interesting New York City photographs that I took in 2000 … 900 photographs in 3 days. I hope I snap back into that mood at one of my NYC visits … It was a riot!
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 photograph possible at the time. I often head out to photograph abstract macros these days. Macro photography keeps the budget in balance because of local destinations … no need to travel by train, car or train and getting up in the wee hours of the morning to catch the brilliant light. I am also currently pursuing intentional camera movement photography and try to enhance my portfolio.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Five years ago I gave up on my Canon film camera and joined the digital armada. I still use canon equipment solely and my film prints are now digitalized. I currently researching a new camera with a complete new set of lenses … it’s like Christmas in summer for a photog like me!
What made you choose that equipment?
It fit my wallet at the time and just felt right in my hands. 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.
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 … minor color saturation, contrast, level or lighting adjustments; sharpening is a must. Cropping is only performed on client’s request … I spend 2-3 minutes per photograph, the most.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
This is hard to tell because sometimes you drive out to the White mountains of New Hampshire, hike for hours, set up and compose a shot, wait for the right light and finely pull the trigger to capture the scene or fold and try to do it all over again the next day. On the other extreme I like to explore local wildlife sanctuaries, parks and gardens. These are usually close to my house and I basically fall out of bed, drive over and start photographing.
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 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. I once created 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 at Fine Art America often inspires 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 post processing work. At 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 disbelieve. 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 Teary Rose Leaf and Genki Spark. All time favorites are Sudbury River, my Cape Cod boat photography collection and the misty birch trees in the Boston Arnold Arboretum. I am very happy and proud of my recent rose and leaf photographs. 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.
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 Cape Cod Solitude achieved honorable mention at The Fine Art of Photography regional juried photography exhibition in Plymouth, MA. Beautiful World and Cape Cosd Solitude are currently on display at an invitational photography artwork exhibit and I am having a solo exhibit in the Hunneman Hall of Brookline, MA starting 18 August 2011. The photo exhibit will show a broad range of my New England landscape, seascape and flower photographs. I also attend art fairs and festivals throughout New England.
Will your work be included at any upcoming contests or galleries?
I am always on the hunt to showcase my photographs. As mentioned earlier I will, be showing twenty plus pieces of my landscape, seascape and flower photos in Brookline, MA and two are on display in Plymouth, MA fifth time. This year Ibis near Historic Naples Pier made it as a finalist from over 15, 000 entries. The finalists are published in the best of photography book each year. Let me know if you hear about anything suitable to my photography.
What are your plans for the future?
Sign up for my Newsletter at www.juergenrothphotography.com or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter to keep track of me and 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. I also have plans to go back to the White Mountains year round … lots of hiking and photography on the way. In addition I am looking into Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park for fall photography. Florida everglades may become an option in the winter. Next year I am planning a trip to Europe … probably Italy, France or Spain … checking in with my family near Cologne is a must! I am writing a regular nature photography blog at http://blog.juergenrothphotography.com where I provide tons of photo tips, discuss my photos in more detail, and tell the story behind my photos. I am thinking about writing and publishing a photography book.
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. Recently I found these great reads by Tim Fitzharris. I 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 nature fine art photography are available through my website at www.juergenrothphotography.com. The galleries contain a fine selection of beautiful flower and scenic landscape photographs from New England.
I also sell my photography artwork 24/7, worldwide on canvas, prints, framed, matted, and as greeting cards at http://juergen-roth.artistwebsites.com. Often providing discounts ~ look out for the photograph of the week to save a few bucks on my photo artwork.
I recently started using twitter at http://twitter.com/naturefineart and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Juergen-Roth-Photography/91467613868 to engage with art lovers, art collectors, and other artists. If you are on Linked In you can find me there too at www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Juergen/Roth. I use StumbleUpon to introduce new artwork to my worldwide audience and also write a regular nature photography blog at http://blog.juergenrothphotography.com.
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?
Currently I am present at:
Online Galleries: http://juergen-roth.artistwebsites.com
Linked In: www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Juergen/Roth.
Hope you stop by at one of the sites and connect Beth!
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes. Please contact me through my nature photography blog at http://blog.juergenrothphotography.com, or websites at http://juergen-roth.artistwebsites.com and http://www.juergenrothphotography.com for more info. I am also hacking out plans to provide multiple day photography workshops in New England and a macro flower photography workshop in Boston.
Have you got hobbies?
I like to run and run long. Couple of years ago I devoted myself to the Boston marathon and was hoping to run New York City in November that year. I finished Boston but injured myself that year and did not run NYC. Currently I try to make my way back into long distance running and also targeting a triathlon next year. It would be nice to finish the all marathon masters in the next few years … five altogether: London, Chicago, NYC and Berlin are on my list.
Where are you based?
I am located in Brookline near Boston, Massachusetts