I found my way in photography

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Exclusive Interview with Kerstin Arnemann

Tell us a bit about your background in photography and where you're living currently

My name is Kerstin, German national, residing actually in Malta, a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea. My main passion is Fine Art Photography in B&W. My journey in photography started only in 2012 joining a local photography group in Malta. I initially took many pictures, exploring different things, uncertain of my direction. I found myself quickly attracted to geometric shapes, lines and forms of architecture. Still uncertain of my personal development, I contacted Julia Anna Gospodarou and decided to enroll in a mentoring period with her. This was a big turning point in my photography career. She taught me the technique of long exposure, and her famous concepts of "photography drawing" as well as "Envisionography". An experience, which I will treasure. I really enjoyed her mentoring and teaching and it changed completely my way of seeing and thinking in photography. 

Which photographer(s) was/were a driving force in developing your aesthetic?

Definitely Julia Anna Gospodarou was a driving force behind my photography, however there are many other photographers who are influencing especially my B&W photography: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Sebastiao Salgado. For more contemporary B&W landscape and architecture, I would like to mention Cole Thompson, Michael Kenna and Joel Tjintjelaar. There are many more to mention but the list would be endless...

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect about your type of photography that you do?

There is more than one challenging part in my photography: One challenge lies in the part to transform an ordinary location into an extraordinary one, extracting something special out of the given scene. Another challenge is to recreate my personal vision in a photograph, expressing to the viewer my thoughts and feelings when I took and worked out the image. That is why I am concentrating mainly on Fine Art images, because the post processing allows me to recreate my artistic vision and create presence in the image, by using light and shade, tonal value and chiaroscuro. This process is supported by the technique of black and white conversion as well as long exposure to capture what the eye cannot see.

How is your working process? How do you "explore" your motive? 

I work mainly on projects which keep my creativity and vision alive. It is my visual language of telling a story. Every project consists of images that are related or belongs to the same concept or story. In case of new locations I do a research on internet which could be useful for my own shot. I try to document myself as much as possible about the location. If I have the possibility, I first do a scouting visit to the location, check  the different viewpoints and lighting conditions. Once I found the viewpoint, which suits my vision best, I take my final shot and this turns out to be the most enjoyable and relaxing part for me. 

Once the photograph has been taken, it is time for the next stage in your work. How would you describe this final phase?

In my personal opinion my post processing is not a very logical or organized process, but I follow mainly my intuition and vision for the final image. My basic steps are some initial adjustments in lightroom, conversion to neutral black and white and following Julia's famous method of "photography drawing" to enhance the light where necessary to fulfill my own vision, guiding the viewer to perceive the message I want to communicate through the final image. 

What new projects have taken you in new direction and challenged you creatively?

Soon I noticed that lines, shapes and geometrical forms can be found as well in nature, so I started landscape and seascape photography. In Malta you find many interesting seascapes but only a few modern architectural buildings.

Since several months I am very much involved as well in street photography. A project I had always in mind, which I started some years ago with a Digital SLR camera...  However  I abandoned this project quickly at that time, as I did not feel comfortable shooting street photography with a DSLR. Finally, I bought a small Fuji X100T with a fix lens, which is easy to handle and inspires me to capture story telling  images and I really enjoy it. This is another challenging learning curve for me due to the fix lens 23 mm (crop factor 35 mm) because now I have to zoom in with my feet ;)

Tell us about some of the cities and places you've captured over the year

Born and raised in Germany, I lived in Italy, Egypt and actually I reside in Malta. Living in Italy was a pure joy for my soul and I studied my preferred painters: Canaletto, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Albrecht Duerer, Francesco di Giorgio Martini etc... Especially Milan is a wonderful city to capture modern as well as old architecture and street photography, but not to live. I love Venice which I know very well and I love to get lost in the small side streets and roaming around the place. Unfortunately during my stay in Italy, I was not yet that much into photography and my memories consists in mainly some snapshots. I went back to visit Italy several times during the last years and could finally take some interesting architectural shots. Italy offers many interesting places, just to mention a few: Ostuni, Alberobello, Venice, Matera, Rome etc. and such a variety in landscape and architectural opportunities. All Italian cities are very lively and offers as well excellent opportunities for street photographers. I never had any problem in shooting street or architecture. Athens is another amazing city which offers great opportunities for street, seascapes and architectural photography.

Another country, which offers wonderful landscape and seascape photography opportunity, is Gran Canaria, which I am starting to get to know quite well now. During my third trip I finally found as well some very interesting architectural buildings I am working on actually. There are many places worldwide, I have seen and visited in the past, which I would like to re visit now with my actual knowledge in photography. In my opinion, every country and all cities worldwide are offering something interesting and great photographic opportunities, you just need to keep your eyes open.

You are the humble recipient of many awards and have had quite few exhibitions, how did you accomplish this?

Once I found my way in photography, I decided to participate in international competitions. Obviously I was very honoured receiving recognition such as Merit Awards, Honourable Mentions and even Second or Third Place category winner in important international competitions, however even if it happened that my submission has not been rewarded, I did not feel discouraged. I take part in similar competitions for fun keeping always in mind my main aim: to create art for myself and the final viewer. 

It gives me a lot more satisfaction, if people visit my exhibition, can see the final print finishing and appreciates my photography. In Malta I started with some collective exhibitions until I felt ready to have my own solo exhibitions. The most important aspect for me is to see the physical print of my artistic work.

What do you enjoy most about being a photographer? 

The most enjoyable aspect for me in photography is the fact that I am trying to find my own inner voice for my photographs. My images are expressing my personal experience and emotions of the place. It is interesting how photography can teach the photographer about his/her innerself. I rediscovered a lot of neglected/hidden aspects of myself through photography.

How displaying your work on social networks or publishing your work in magazines such as Camerapixo has affected your photography? 

The recognition I received from publishing my work in photography magazines pushed my work a lot. At this point I want to express a special thank you to Anetta and Artur from Camerapixo. Through the high quality Camerapixo magazine, my work has been published  on an international level and gained more and more recognition. It is a great and inspiring photo community bringing together talented photographers worldwide and supporting them in an outstanding way to proceed in their photography career. I am honoured being part of the Camerapixo community. Other great initiatives by Camerapixo, which I really appreciate, are the offer in education and  innovative ideas. I am really happy about the enthusiasm and innovative aspect they are offering to talented photographers.

Thank you Kerstin for taking the time to do this interview.
We are happy to welcome you on board among other photographers.
Your photography is very valuable in this community and very beneficial for our readers.

Camerapixo Team

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