Introducing Stefan Lux

Stefan Lux is a photographer in Hamburg, Germany whose care for people is evident in the gentle and affectionate nature of his black and white photographs.  Keep reading to find out how Stefan develops trust in his subjects while they are their most vulnerable.



How did you get started?

1a9e2de5b9ae01138f1e73a977a8e48d141761874852129448

In the 70’s my father gave me a little click camera. I photographed everything I saw. I loved having the photos after they were developed and showed them off. At school, I was in a group that went out to take landscapes and developed them in the school’s dark room.

After graduating, I took a proper job and couldn’t find the time to photograph. I stopped for around two decades.

There came a time in 2010 when I needed something to balance the amount of work I was doing. Digital photography was immanent—everyone had their phones and were capturing images and I started to do that as well. I found that I was spending more time sitting in front of Photoshop than I was taking pictures. I decided to go back to film photography because I’m not the kind of guy who likes to sit in front of a PC all day.

Can you describe your photography?

I exclusively photograph people, both nudes and portraits, inside and out of the studio. In the winter months, I’m in the studio. In the spring, I move outside to make portraits.

I’m currently working on two different projects which incorporate expired film.

The first is Born In in which I’m making studio portraits on film that expired the year the model was born. I use the same lighting setup and always make a head and shoulders portrait. The look and feel is determined by the film I use—the older the film, the rougher the portrait will look.

I’m also planning on recreating photos taken in 1965 with film that expired in 1965.

When I walk through the streets, I often see people I find interesting and want to take their portraits.

How do you find subjects for your portraiture?

Mostly on the internet, including modeling websites and Facebook. Recently, I’ve started to write to modeling agencies.

When I walk through the streets, I often see people I find interesting and want to take their portraits. I think it’s the most interesting and direct way to find people, but I’m too shy to to approach them. I hope I can overcome it in the future!

ef31782b3036f405a4fddd230ae8b7a3137098286327594253

 

What makes a good model?

I don’t look for models who simply meet the culturally defined standard of beauty, but who can recreate a particular facial expression. A model should be prominent in the frame. You have to feel the person captured is interacting with the people looking at the photo.

If you’re able to capture it in an artistic and respectful way, it makes a great photograph because it is so fragile and the model is so vulnerable.

Why nudes?

It’s the most pure and natural state of being. If you’re able to capture it in an artistic and respectful way, it makes a great photograph because it is so fragile and the model is so vulnerable. There is a certain atmosphere in the session based on the trust the model has with the photographer and her confidence in herself. I appreciate that interaction.

How has your process changed over time?

fcf44e1b3951af22a2f75bd3b9786f56142001616889421752

I’ve changed from shooting digital to film. I’ve experimented with a variety of formats and different materials, from Polaroids to expired film. I do not want to take the same picture more than once. I’m always searching for new inspiration. Sometimes it’s based on materials, sometimes on expression. For a few weeks I’ll do nudes, then I’ll switch back to portraits, either in the studio and outdoors. I get bored pretty quick by doing the same thing over and over.

When do you know when a series is finished?

When I begin to repeat myself.

Can you name 2-3 artists who have inspired your work?

Jan Scholz, Peter Lindbergh, and Alina Lebedeva.

Photographs always reflect some inner thought of the photographer. My photographs are what I dream about and who I want to be.

How do your photographs reflect who you are?

Photographs always reflect some inner thought of the photographer. My photographs are what I dream about and who I want to be.

The way I do the session is very quiet, slow, and relaxed. I get as close as I can with the camera. I do my best to develop trust with the person I’m photographing. I enjoy the conversations I have with them and I appreciate the encounter and getting to know people. I think these things are evident in my photographs.

 

   14716627922_697d988df3_k

 

Are you a photographer or an artist?

7bf42aa258781ea89e2c0951c9b6442e141832654851702608

I think both, or something in between. In Germany, it’s not very popular to say that one is an artist—it sounds pretentious. However, I do my work artfully and am an artist. I’m a photographer as well, I like the camera and the darkroom.

What makes a good photograph?

A good photograph is one that you want to look at for more than a second. It strikes you again and again. You keep it in your mind for a long time. With portraits, it’s about the expression of the model and their interaction with the viewer.

What would you say is the defining characteristic of a good photographer?

Passion. And the ability to press the shutter at the right moment to capture that particular emotion; to see things in advance and be prepared to capture them.

14418139900_284f7e1b5b_k

What do you like best about being a photographer?

Meeting and getting to know new people.

To make a photo that someone might hang on their wall that could last. It gives me pride.

What do you find the most challenging?

Finding new inspiration in order not to repeat myself. I’m always looking for new ideas, new approaches, new ways to view my subject, especially if I’m photographing a model for a second or third time. I have to see new aspects of her character.

 

15232683785_be98218583_k

How do you promote your work?

Currently, I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Flickr. I hope to exhibit the Born In series this year in galleries and put more energy in promoting my work in those types of places.

When you post something to Flickr or Facebook, you might get 20 or 30 likes and then it’s done. Nobody remembers the photo they liked yesterday. People take work hung in galleries more seriously.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Trying new techniques and gear. I want to strengthen my portfolio and make more memorable work. I hope to be working more on photography as a career and maybe have at least one solo exhibition and have my a book of my work.

I wished I had known that it was more important to communicate with the person you photograph than the technical aspects of the camera.

What advice do you have for budding artists?

Do it with passion. If you photograph people, communicate with them, concentrate on them, watch them as they are moving, treat them respectfully. I wished I had known that it was more important to communicate with the person you photograph than the technical aspects of the camera.

 



See more of Stefan’s work and follow him on the web:

Web – Flickr – Facebook



Like what you see?
Subscribe to Josh's blog!



What do you think?

*