ThumbWolfgang Mothes

Apply for membership

Wolfgang Mothes biography

A self-taught photographer for 40 years now, I had my own darkroom right from the start which was indispensable for my work.7 years ago, I switched to the digital photography.I owe a lot to photography. Not just because it paid my way when I worked as reporter for a local newspaper during my years at Frankfurt law school, I also got a lot of enthusiasm and good spirits out of it, and - if everything worked well - satisfaction. I have used photography as a means of recreation from my former job as a lawyer with the German federal state of Hessen.

The most fascinating aspect of black and white photography is the fact that with the abandoning of colour information an abstraction of what is depicted takes place, thus reducing it to the essential. With the control over tonal values one can change the image at will: idealize or dramatise, accuse or flatter. Contrast is the prevailing tool of expression in black and white photography and it can be controlled during exposure and image processing as well. With this in mind images can be created, that have an aesthetic appeal of their very own.

My special photographic interest is in the classical topics, and the serious effort that goes into dealing with them.

Taking photos, I always try not just to depict my objects like I found them, but to recreate them with the camera according to my imagination and conception. Long before the actual shooting I use to "explore" every motive with the help of a little digital camera, to check out the lighting and to take notes of details, like the focal length and the point of view that would fit my ideas.Thus my architectural photography is considerably interpretative and subjective. I try to give the buildings a personality of their own. After the actual camera work, the second step of the image creation follows: the image processing. Again I'm not looking for the "straight print", the simple transformation of a “negative” into a picture. Instead I try to evoke the unique character of a building by applying various techniques. Usually it takes several hours until I'm halfway satisfied.

Why do I photograph in the first place? I guess I'm addicted. I'm serious, because I have gone to troubles taking photos; I wouldn't go to for anything else, like getting up in the middle of the night, hauling my heavy equipment through icy wind or searing heat. I've kept coming back to the same motive time and time again, until at last everything was right. Not a day goes by without me working with photography; It is part of my thinking and my soul, it is my companion at day and often also at night. It embraces me like a lover. Yet I do not feel driven or possessed, because it is joy and fulfilment she is giving me and I am grateful for the passion she fills me with. Working with the camera or image processing I am all within myself and simultaneously alert and concentrated. There is something meditative about photography for me, a dialogue from within.

There was no special occasion that brought me to photography. Even as a child, I felt attracted by cameras for whatever reason. When I met my wife in 1973, I bought my first "real" camera, an Olympus OM-1. I love her to this day - my OM-1 and also my wife!

I do not have a photographic model. But there are a lot of excellent photographers whose work I find very valuable and inspiring.

I find it very important that a photographer finds his own style. This takes a long time and requires a certain idea and continuity in photography, but it is very worthwhile in the end.I, for example, have a "Nordic" soul. This means that I prefer the dark, heavy low-key-images. If I were a landscape photographer, I would find my motifs in the Scottish-Highlands, Iceland or Norway. However, as the architectural photography still fascinates me, I often try to give the buildings a dark, gloomy mood because I love the photographic drama. At all, mood is much more important than technical perfection.

My workflow starts with exposure: I think about how the image should look at the end. A big help is my long experience in the darkroom. Basically, I do nothing else in the image processing as in the darkroom. This means, above all, to control the contrast of a subject. By this I mean not the total contrast, but the contrast between the individual image parts (partial contrast). So I often change the tonal values of the next picture parts. This also increases the 3-D effect of the image and gives it a certain depth. Finally, all my pictures get a clear vignette, which brings a bit more depth into the picture.

At the moment I photograph mostly with a Sony Alpha 7 R II camera and my favorite lens, the ZEISS-Batis 18mm.

With my photographs I aim to reach the emotional level of the viewer and create images that linger in the memory. Hope you will enjoy my images.Have fun!

Explore more

We use cookies on this website to enhance your user experience. You can change your cookie settings at any time in your browser. Otherwise, we will assume you are OK to continue. Read more