Interview with Matthias Haltenhof
#1 Please introduce yourself
My name is Matthias and I’m from Germany. I was born in 1981 and I work at an online marketing agency. I live together with my girlfriend in Halle (Saale), which is next to Leipzig. In my spare time I do a lot of photography, build websites, do sports, listen to music and read books.
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
In 2004, when studying, I had a part time job in a customer service center and I was getting some side money from that. One month I had a few bucks left over and I decided to buy a point and shoot camera. Since 2002 I’ve been surfing DeviantArt every now and then. When I got the camera, I was just shooting party pics and family meetings in the beginning. But more and more I tried to imitate the images of other artists from DeviantArt. Since 2005 I’m into more serious photography. In the beginning I tried out all kinds of photo genres, but quickly discovered that landscape and architecture interested me the most. So I kept shooting these subjects I tried to get better.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
When I think of my childhood, we were going into nature quite often. Whether is was a bike and picnic tour, spending time at the meadows of the river Elbe or having a weekend at the local mountain range. I think this is why I like spending time in nature and shoot landscapes.
I also have a sense for design, but I discovered that much later. It was during my study time when I was looking for background wallpapers for my computer. I always loved the clean, minimalistic techy ones. I started creating wallpapers by myself. So that is probably why I shoot architecture.
#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
There are so many. Marc Adamus for pushing the boundaries of landscape photography. Denis Olivier for his brilliant black and white works of everyday scenes. Olivier du Tré for a contant developement towards a more subtile and personal work. Damien Doumax for just enjoying being out with your camera and going wild in photoshop. Thierry Gentil for his unusual angles in architecture photography. And the are so many more. I bet if I’d ready this list tomorrow I would add 10 more. Inspiration from other photographers I a big part of my own photography process.
#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?
I put in a lot of preparation. If you are well prepared, the results tend to be much better. You get more out of your time. Before shooting, I always look up other photos from the place I want to shoot. I also prepare via Google Maps and Earth. And I also keep an eye on the weather. So all of the images that went to my portfolio involved a lot of preparation.
#6 Which places have been your favourite shooting sites so far and why?
I love shooting at the local mountain range Harz. It is only an hour to drive from where I live. I have been there so many times, but I even return to places that I’ve shot 10 times before. These are the places I would visit even without a camera.
I loved the travel to Scotland in 2011. Together with a fellow photographer, we’ve been shooting three weeks in autumn right there. I can say this was the best travel of my life yet.
I guess for me it is always a mix of travelling in Europe and shooting locally as well.
#7 What do you do in your life besides photography?
As mentioned above I’m working at an online marketing agency. I do enjoy this field a lot, so I am building websites in my spare time as well. Creating passive income streams so I have more time is currently one of my main focusses. So I listen to podcasts and read books from this space as well. Because I spend a lot of time on the computer, I need to do sports to stay healthy in a physical way. So I go swimming and in the gym. In the evenings, I also like to meet up with other online marketers and photographers.
#8 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I would like to get more into black and white photography. Currently I’m reading Bruce Barnbaums “The Art of Photography”. Even if I have just read like 15 %, this book gives me a new sight on photography. It’s so much more about the intention of the photographer, communication with the viewer and an artistic approach in photography.
Beside that, I still enjoy teaching photography quite a bit. It’s lovely to see how much fun others have when they create new images and develope their photography.