... for photographer Ulf Brockmann, who is based in Kassel in the middle of Germany.
Already a while ago we discovered his photos on YouPic. And now we had the pleasure to get an interview with him and the possibility to show you some of his impressive pictures.
My name is Ulf Brockmann, for photography insiders better known as "Pixelhunter". I was born 49 years ago in a small town in western Germany. And twelve years ago I moved to Kassel, a city, which is located between Frankfurt and Hannover. As an international salesman I need to do some creative work with people during my spare time to relax. This is my passion and my love.
Have you been involved in the arts in some form other than photography?
I like to see, I like to listen, but photography is these kind of art, I´m connected to and where my skills are.
Seeing your remarkable work, I am curious where your creativity comes from?
My creativity comes from the models and people I meet. For sure I do have ideas beneath that. But the ideas are mainly created by the personality of the model and how I see this person. And not how other photographers have seen them before. From time to time my inspiration comes during a visit of new locations and thoughts about the picture and I get in contact with a model, which is suitable for this idea.
Could you share with us how you first became interested in photography?
My first contact with photography is about 30 years ago. I was jealous, because one of my best friends was a great painter and, whatever I tried, I was not able to draw or to paint. So I started photography. To make something creative and I loved to capture my friends during sports or make pictures out in the nature. And then I stopped for a long time. Starting again three years ago I was not sure about my direction in photography, but during the first six month I decided to concentrate on people. I've never been to a workshop or got lessons in photography. I ´m a 100 % self taught photographer.
What equipment are you using now and with what did you get started? what is your favorite lens?
Today I work with a Nikon D810 and only three lenses, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm. Some compact strobe lights and a Jinbei HD600V strobe with beauty dish and octabox. When I started 30 years ago, I was used to work with a Minolta X300 and afterwards a X700. It was minimized equipment and i wanted to be back on that. I sold my zoom lenses to focus more on the person in front of my camera and the perspective. My favorite lens is 105 mm 2,8 from Sigma.
Can you tell us about your work flow from the point you first step onto the street until you showcase the developed picture?
Every shooting starts with cookies. Yes, for sure it is essential, that I have some cookies during the shooting. Setup will discussed only short and we start to take some portraits to relax and cool down. Looking at the light and the perspective at the related location and then straight away we do our shots. Every shooting is about two to three hours. It does´t matter, how many sets we planned. Only during studio work it can last even longer. When I´m back at my desk, I look once at all the pictures and in that moment I do have my favorites out of the shooting. An image has to touch me with the first view. And the best will be edited direct after the shooting, it does´t matter how late it is. Every model gets one picture on the shooting day. The look of the picture will be finalized after retouching. I work mainly with Photoshop and sometimes with LR. I never use presets to edit my work, every picture will get an individual look. And I showcase every picture, once it is finalized, on the different social media platforms and pages like YouPic and 500px.
Do you see a particular influence, be it a photographer or school on your work? Any subject that attracts you?
I would say it is not a special influence. There are great photographers around the world, even they are professionals or hobby photographers (semi professionals). It is always inspiring to have a view on pictures of Peter Coulson or the classic pictures of Helmut Newton. I never try to copy other photographers work, but I think there is a little influence of these photographers, who know, how to capture and edit these awesome pictures of beautiful women.
I try not to have a special style. My pictures should be individual for every single model and set. Trying new looks and ideas. It is tricky, because I think, that every single picture, you can capture, had been captured before. I don´t want people to identify my picture without watermark. When you find a style and follow it for a reasonable time, you limit yourself in progress and development. And one main thought is, that during work communication with the model is the mayor issue. I like to work with newcomers and I talk during the whole shooting. Most of the photographers like to work with, more or less, professionals, but with newcomers I can realize my ideas and get this special relation to the model, because the progress during the work will be on both sides. I don´t like to follow the latest trends, because everyone is following this trends for a short time. I don´t like to be everyone. Overall you might see my work as mainstream, but as well it never follows all the others.
Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
I have got one low key nude art picture, which was taken with limited possibilities of light setting and limited space in my own flat. But it is a perfect capture of a beautiful young woman with the right balance of shadow and light. And beneath that, it is a picture of a girl who gave me so much inspiration during the last year. It is not only the picture, it is as well the mood during that shooting, the trust from the model in my work and personality. When ever I look at the picture on my wall, I remember the very special connection between model and photographer during that session. I name it my masterpiece, even if I take a „better“ one, this picture will stay special for me.
Tell us about your funniest or most awkward photography story.
Shootings are always fun. I had so many funny situations during my shootings, but there was one situation, I will always remember. During an on location shooting in an old industrial area we made a break for having a cookie and laying down in the sun. Our cookies were only 1 meter away. We heard some rustling behind us. A raccoon was sitting there and stole our cookies out of the package.This little racoon, in the middle of Germany, was looking at us and we thought it was laughing at us. And we had to finalize the shooting without any cookies. And you remember, cookies are essential!
First of all they have to ask themselves about the ability to communicate with people. People photography is something special. Even working with professionals is somehow very intimate. If you are not open minded, stop taking pictures from people. But if you are that open minded kind of human, buy a camera, talk to your friends, if they want to get some pictures and start. It will help, if you start with a camera and single fixed focus lens. Because in this way you have to look at the scene by yourself. And start communication with your model. If you have the passion and the view, you will manage it. But it is work. And try everything, on location, studio, fashion, portrait to find out what is your preferred field of people photography. For sure you have to teach yourself about general rules in composition and light, but at the end you have to find your own way. And find the trustful photographers, whom you can send your work to get critics and hints. Be open for that. It will help you.