This showcase series focuses on the wonderful architectural photography of Florian Mueller.
Florian introduced himself to Photophique:
I am working as a self-taught professional photographer for nearly 15 years now.
But it all began much earlier with my first camera, a “Agfa Iso-Rapid IF”, which I still own. It was a Christmas present when I was 6 years old. The balance between shutter speed and aperture, the behaviour of different film-types (my favourites were the Fuji Neopan 1600 Pro and the Kodak 400 TMAX Pro) I learned from my father and an old Voigtländer Camera from the 1950s. I think this is the best way to learn. No “automatic” shit.
Later on I took a look over the shoulder of my father, who was a physician and scientist who developed his microscope-photograhies in his darkroom in our cellar. Then I bought a couple of cameras through the years, my “work horse” was a Nikon F90x. I too established my own darkroom in my first flat. In the very small bathroom, my girlfriends were not amused…
Now I do all my postproduction via Lightroom. But I still have my two enlargers in my cellar, who knows? I started with personal projects, later as set-photographer for a TV production company, for weddings, lots of musicians etc. I sometimes work for advertising agencies, but mostly as an artist for exhibitions and publications. This year I exhibited in New York, Italy and here in Germany, and who knows what more will come.
Since the end of last year I am a professional member of the BFF (the German Association of Freelance Photographers). They just launched their wonderful, super-size-magazine 3-2014 (two editions a year), two of my photographs were included.
My submissions got awarded with “Gold” by an independent jury. I am really proud of that. Last but not least: Last year I founded with two friends and colleagues a photo-artist-group “Jetztzeit Club”. We organise exhibitions and inspire each other. It’s a good way to move on, especially in organising things like exhibitions.
Can you tell us more about this series?
I love concrete as material. It is rough, a kind of elegant, cool and clean. And I love abstract forms and architecture. We have a church here in Cologne, near the universtity where I studied, it’s “Johannes XIII”, designed by Josef Rikus in the 60’s. It looks really brutal. But to me the combination of this kind of architecture and material (well, it’s really called “Butalism”, from the french ” béton brut” (raw concrete) and originally coined by the Swedish architect Hans Asplund) and religion is really fascinating.
You won’t expect this combination. That’s why many people refuse it. But to be confronted with something you do not expect makes you stop and think. And that’s something I try to achieve with my work: Make the people stop and think for a while. A picture has to build a story in the beholders mind. In a world, that is powered by „faster, higher, further“, I see a progress in pausing. To create pictures and visual spaces wich invite the observer to dwell, to linger, almost to contemplate, are my objectives.
I then started a research and found the architecture of Gottfried Böhm, an architect who won as the only german architect the Pritzker-price. He designed Mary’s Cathedral in Neviges and a lot of other “Brutalism”-buildings, like the Church of Resurrection in Cologne, which is in the series “Concrete Cross” too. I sent an inquiry to the Franciscans who “run” the Cathedral. Brother Othmar was so kind to invite me to the Cathedral and give me the permission to take pictures insinde it with tripod.
And there is more, let’s say a tasty titbit in this kind of architecture. You can find endless forms and geometric patterns inside these buildings. I spent a couple of hours in Mary’s Cathedral and could have spent days inside without getting bored. I tried to get pictures which make the viewer think “What is it”, “Where is it” and of course “Is it a photograph or a painting?”. Due to the concrete surface the photographs remind of the paintings of Lyonel Feininger, father of the great photographer Andreas Feininger.
What equipment did you use for this series?
I used my Nikon D800E and mostly the Nikon 50mm 1.4 AF. I use this camera because of the crazy 36.3 megapixel.
For exhibitions I show my work quite big, mostly 80x80cm, but sometimes even bigger. With this camera I can produce these sizes without interpolation. I chose ISO 100, aperture 16 – 22 and an exposure time of 20 – 30 seconds. This combination gives me the highest level of sharpness, you can see every void in the concrete, even if it’s the roof in 34 meters height.
I processed the pictures in Lightroom. But only a light color-correction. I decreased the lights, increased the depths and the black. Reduced blue a bit and activated the lens correction. For the exhibition I took an original photo print on aluminum backing – mounted on aluminum with a matte UV protective film. I sell them in a limitation of 20 plus 2 AP.
Photophique has express permission to publish these images and Florian Mueller retains full copyright to all photographs featured in this showcase series.