Good portion of patience

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From the Editors: Fine art photographer Philip Gunkel who specializes in architecture, commercial and landscape photography. Philip is also known for his super wide angle panoramic images up to 360 degrees from majestic mountain landscapes to modern architecture.

Exclusive interview with Philip Gunkel

You shoot a range of material, tell us about your work, and your style?

My main business is architecture and commercial photography right now but you are right, I love to shoot whatever is in my mind and if the people and the mood is right I enjoy shooting a lot of things. My second determination has become to travel the most remote and rugged landscapes of our earth to caption the unique and utterly beauty of nature and it's living beings. I studied geology over the last years too and my girlfriend does prehistoric archaeology so we will travel different cultures and landscapes over the next years and I certainly want to establish my travel and science photography to become a second source of income in the near future.

What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?

I must say I really love my job and I nearly like everything about it, although it is a bit more work than a lot of my friends think it is. Nevertheless I take it as one of the highest privileges to travel to exotic locations, always work with and meet new and interesting people. Also I really appreciate that I am my own boss and that I can decide by myself what to do and what not (most of the times) and that this industry is so extremely versatile that almost every week is different than the one before.

Any special skills and equipment that you would consider essential when photographing architecture?

Of cause there are, first of all I would say that it is essential to have some fundamental understanding of visual thinking and you have to understand the main thoughts of the architect and why he designed what and for which purpose. If you have not clarified these questions, don't even think of taking out the camera. Another main attribute would be a good portion of patience, sometimes the light simply does not work or there are too many people in front or whatsoever and you just have to return at 5 o'clock in the next morning sometimes again and again and again.

Who do you count among your biggest influences, photographically or otherwise?

Photographic influences are a very difficult issue to discuss because one of my main premises would be to not get influenced by other works which allows me to create and evolve an own personal style. Nevertheless you will always get influenced, most of the times even subconscious and that can also be a very good thing ! I better call it inspiration because I simply learned to look at other works with some distance over the time.

What new projects have taken you in new direction(s) and/or challenged you creatively?

I think almost every project I did in the past challenged me creatively and it should, otherwise it is just boring and you won't grow on it at all. The huge architectural work I did in Valencia on the City of Arts and Science was maybe one of these projects that have taken me in new directions because I realized for the first time, that shooting architecture becomes one of my main passions more and more. It was also quite interesting that I shot this series in 2012 and reworked the whole series at the end of 2014. In the between time I studied most of the time and did not do any photography things but still or just because of that, I took a huge improvement and evolved a lot on my overall style and techniques.

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

This is a tough question because it is very different in each category. In Architecture and commercial photography a good and clean post processing is mandatory to get the top jobs. Whereas in landscape or my personal photography I have a completely different work flow that is a lot more footloose and creative I think where I try to express my feelings and describe me as a person through my pictures. Nevertheless most of my pictures just do not come straight of the camera like they are, which means in my opinion post processing is at least equally important than taking pictures.

What else do you envision for your future?

I think I am the type of guy that always has some plans in his drawer. My main goal would be to become an established architectural and commercial photographer here in Europe over the next years. But at the same time I would like to travel more often to see even more countries, cultures and landscapes to work on some private projects like my travel books, take more timelapses and improve my documentary filming works.

Are you ever without your camera?

Yes I am. But when I do I always have a Nokia 808 Pure View smartphone with me that has a descent 41mp sensor with that I can at least take some snap-testshots if I need to. I am anyways not the type of photographer that thinks that every moment has to be caught by camera because in my opinion sometimes it seems smarter to just enjoy the moment and live for the present more often.

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working for a client (shooting shoes, what I love to do because I really like shoes) at the same time I am finishing my latest huge architectural portfolio project that you will see below, preparing fine art prints for an exhibition coming in August and I am planning my one month trip to iceland in July where I am going to realize another three or four projects but also enjoy some time off with my girlfriend finally.

How would you rate advertising your work via publishing in magazines and social networking? Do you think it was part of your success?

Yes publishing made a lot of differences and I think it is still an important part that new people and future clients see and get to know my latest works through publications and social media.

Thank you Philip 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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