Viennese photographer based in, Vienna, Austria, Fine Art , Documentary & Street: Klaus Pichler
1) What Photobooks are you currently looking at ?
„Grand Circle Diego“ by Cyril Costilhes, a dark, eerie, uncanny book about Madagascar, an accident and the photographer's attempt to come closer to the fate of his father. "Karambolage" by Arnold Odermatt – a book with an incredible black and white image collection of car accident scenes in the pittoresque landscapes of Switzerland. Odermatt, a former policeman, gathered this archive over decades in his work for the police and reached a point of really stunning photographic qualities.
2) What was the last truly inspiring Photobook you saw?
"Anthill/ Meteorites" by Augustin Rebetez, a book consisting of screenshots of his stop-motion-videos. Raw, quick and dirty. And with an extensive use of flash.
3) Give us the name of your favorite overlooked or underappreciated Photographer ?
In my opinion, it is Caleb Charland – a quite experimental photographer from the USA who experiments with the laws of physics in his images. Although he has gatered a good amount of reputation, he deserves to be one of the really big names.
4) What are your photographic guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre/style ?
I like it when documentary photography is mixed with a concept and done with great technical skills. And on the other hand I also like photo series which somehow are 'hurtin', like social documentaries, done with a really quick and intuitive hand
5) If we came to your studio what would we see ?
Some chaotic areas, where I am working on the current project, which is a still life thing, some clean areas, which I use to calm down and think about the further steps, plenty of photo books (yes, I confess, I am a photo book nerd). And three cats in the middle of the mess.
6) What’s the best Photobook on (Your nationality) Photography you’ve ever read ?
"Das Land" by Manfred Willmann. And "Weinhaus" by Leo Kandl. Ex aequo. They are both pretty hard to find now, since they are older, but these two books are big inspirations for me. "Das Land" focuses on Austrian rural life in a very raw and direct style, very many images show scenes I have also experienced in my childhood (I have grown up in the countryside, too). The photos from this book are from the early 1980s and the use of direct flash as a brightener in daylight shooting situations is quite remarkable because back then hardly anyone used flash in this way, except Martin Parr, who got famous for this style. "Weinhaus" is a book about cheap wine bars in Vienna, Austria, also from the early 1980s, but published a lot later. The black and white images in this book show scenes of drinking, intermingling and everyday emptiness of Austria's working class people. A much-overlooked book which both has historical value and photographic qualities.
7) What subject other than photography, are you interested in ? That nevertheless informs your work ?
I am very much interested in sociology and politics, as well as cultural studies and surveys of everyday life. These are my main inspirations for my projects. I consider it as important to literally take part in the world, to read newspapers and online magazines, to take part in political discussions as well as in photo related activities. This is all shaping my personality and therefore also the way how I am creating my projects.
8) What was the last Photobook that made you happy ?
"Bad luck, hot rocks" by Ryan Thompson, a very funny book about stolen stones from Petrified Forest, consisting only of pictures of stones and excuse letters. Brilliant!
9) What was the last Photobook that made you sad ?
"Down and out in Moscow" by Miron Zownir – a disturbing, depressing, hard-boiled book about a dystopic every day life in Moscow in the early 90's.
10) What kind of person were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood memories, which made you a photographer? how have you grown over the years what has changed what remained the same ?
I think I have been a quite annoying kid – hyper interested, chaotic, doing ten things at the same time (everything except the things I had to do), with a decent lack of concentration and focusing. I think this basic interest in literally everything, this general curiosity has stayed over the years and it was a really lucky coincidence that I found photography to do anything constructive with it. In my opinion, the chaos in my life has disappeared because I have found a form how to cope with it, but nevertheless I love to bring in chaos in my projects at the first stage, then sort it out and create something simple out of it.
11) Whom do you consider your Photographic Masters? Do you believe in mastery ?
I have never had any 'Masters' since I am self-taught and I also refused to watch other photographer's work in my early days. It simply made me depressed to look at brilliant photography of other authors because I considered myself as being still unable to do anything interesting with my photography. This has changed very much in the past years and now I love to get into other photographer's work. I can't say that there is one photographer who is especially inspiring me, it's more related to certain projects who I consider as interesting and inspiring, sometimes even things which do have nothing to do with photography.In my case, I don't believe in mastery because in a stage where I found my own approach I did not have any connection to any kind of masters. But in general I do believe in it and I think that having a master is bearing great potential for any aspiring photographer. I can only recommend it to everyone interested in photography to take photography classes, workshops, or even a photo education if possible. This will shape your photography skills and deepen your knowledge, especially if you have the opportunity to learn from someone good.
12) Which Photographers have had the most impact on you as a Photographer ? Is there a particular Photo that made you want to be a Photographer? Please upload an image to justify your statement ?
Haha, tricky question! I am afraid I can't fully answer it because in my case I can only point out a photographer who was responsible why I did NOT want to become a photographer in my childhood and teenage years: I grew up in a small town and our 'town photographer' was a very old lady who was literally everywhere, taking photos and looking decently awkward with her hairstyle, her strange clothes and her tongue which was hanging out when she made images. Her appearance and the feeling that taking photos was a terrible, hurting thing kept me away from photography until I moved to Vienna with 19 and got to know other photographers. I am sure without the lady I would have been into photography much earlier because this medium simply is perfect for me: I am a highly visual character, but I can't draw a straight line. So, photography is perfect...
13) What gear do you use, and how does your gear, support your photographic vision. How would you describe your photographic Work flow what software, hardware, storage, & filters do you use ?
I am working both analog and digital, depending on the subject and if it is a commission or an own project. In commissions, I am working with a digital medium format camera because it is much easier to handle and the post production time is much shorter. When I am working on my own stuff, I prefer analog because I have started with analog photography and I still feel much more respect and connection with it. But basically, it's all the same because I am scanning the negatives and making them digital images, too.
14) Do you have any regrets with regards to your photography especially when starting out. What would you do differently ?
No, I don't have any regrets because everything I have done so far was at that very moment and also belongs to that very moment. So, everything in the past was a step to the stage where I am now and I am fine with that. And I also like it that I notice a progress from the older projects to the current ones. I do not care too much about my past, it's more the present that counts.
15) In your genre style of work, what are the challenges/opportunities to your business. How do you envision yourself 5 years from now ?
Haha, I don't know!?! Hopefully doing the same as I am doing now, and preferably on a higher level? I really don't know what to answer on this question – same as above: I don't think about my future too much, I do more like to stay in present and focus on the current affairs.
16) In your photographers Imagination, how do you perceive India. What photographs would you like to make of Her ?
Oh, I have been to India four years ago, therefore my imagination of India is quite clear. I enjoyed it a lot being there, in the crazy megacities as well as the calm areas. To sum it up: there has never been a better slogan in any tourism advertisement than 'Incredible India'. This sentence is true on so many levels. Here are the links to the images I did in India:
Biography In His Own Words
Klaus is represented by Anzenberger Agency/Gallery from Vienna, Austria and Galerie ROCKELMANN-& from Berlin, Germany.