By Lucia Accipe
Manfred Heiduk is a Fashion and Sports lover. He has travelled the world for over 20 years capturing the thrilling photographs to complete his many assignments for prestigious brands. His extensive knowledge in visual media has helped make his work distinctive, unique and recognisable throughout the years. Based both in Germany and the US, it’s in the German city of Düsseldorf where he gets most of his creative-juices flowing. From his inspirations to his aspirations, Manfred shares his passion towards sports photography with us in this interview.
Production Paradise: Previously an illustrator and creative director in digital media and now a full-time photographer. How did you get started in the creative industry?
Manfred Heiduk: I early noticed my passion for art. But to find a way to be creative, realise your own ideas and communicate with people is not so easy. I have learned that it is important to focus on the work that makes me happy. Honestly, in my case it was always my clients who noticed my strengths and kept boosting my development. I started as an illustrator in advertising agencies. My strength in developing concepts was soon recognised and I became an Art Director and a short time later, a Creative Director at a subsidiary of Grey Düsseldorf. Soon I started my own advertising agency – my attention was on concept and photography. For 15 years I have been concentrating mainly on sports and fashion commercial photography. I enjoy traveling around the world, to photograph exciting metropolises or impressive landscapes.
Production Paradise: How would you describe your style? Who has influenced your work?
Manfred Heiduk: I always place value on capturing the personality and natural movement of my subjects. I am passionate about natural images which lift the mood and leave everyone filled with enthusiasm. I am often asked, if my photos are shot analog and I take it as a compliment. Since the beginning of digital photography I am working with digital cameras but I try to keep the unique analog mood.
I think my work is influenced by the great photographers of the 90’s but also by the impressive ideas of my clients, my crew and other people I work with. I love to get new challenges, that’s what makes my work exciting.
Production Paradise: You have settled down in Düsseldorf for years, a German city known for being a hotbed for fashion and for its incredible art scenes. You have also made fashion and sport photography your specialty. To which extent has Düsseldorf influenced you as a photographer?
Manfred Heiduk: Düsseldorf is the fashion and advertising capital of Germany. Düsseldorf is known for its academy of fine arts and it offers a great scene of arts with festivals, museums and cultural diversity. And it is also within a short distance to the city airport, which allows reaching all the metropolises of the world – this makes Düsseldorf a strategic spot. I have always been fascinated with fashion. I like to do sports and I love photography. So I made my hobbies my profession.
Production Paradise: Düsseldorf has undergone many transformations. The city is blessed with invaluable picturesque sceneries and spectacular contemporary buildings. How do you value this contrasting shifting over the years? According to you, what are the most spectacular spots in the city?
Manfred Heiduk: The changes of recent years have converted Düsseldorf into a cutting edge city. Especially the “Medienhafen” (Business Center) with Gerry Houses, Capricorn House and the imposing Rheinturm with its spectacular light sculpture that dominates the new characteristic skyline of the city. The Rhine divides the city, so Düsseldorf has two attractive and photogenic “Reinufer” (Shore of Rhine River): Oberkassel and the “Altstadt” with the longest bar counter of the world. My favorite location is the “Medienhafen”, but all around in NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) you will find amazing industrial heritage sites.
Production Paradise: Many of your sport photography shots are taken in extreme conditions. Are you practicing any of these sports yourself? How do you handle the risk related to these very extreme shootings?
Manfred Heiduk: Sport is my life. In my youth I practiced boxing, skiing and athletics. I love snowboarding, swimming, running and freeletics. I have tried nearly everything and I need sports for my equilibrium. I only shoot extreme photos with models that are professional in these sports. Many pictures look very spectacular but this is mainly the result of a search for new perspectives with the camera. To be professional doesn’t mean to risk a life.
Production Paradise: Do you have any exciting assignments coming up soon? Or are there any projects you would really like to work on in the near future?
Manfred Heiduk: New projects with my long-time client Karstadt Sport will be realised soon. Many brands like Adidas, Puma, Nike and Under Armor will soon launch their new “Running”, “Sport and Style” and “Wintersport” catalogues.
In the future I would like to use the incredible creative talents of my sons to further my spectrum. One is an excellent illustrator and the other one is an award-winning filmmaker. I also would like to continue working with great brands.
Production Paradise: How did you get in touch with Production Paradise and how has being a Production Paradise member helped you in your professional life?
Manfred Heiduk: The Spotlights by Production Paradise have piqued my interest. To be a member of Production Paradise is a great way to get in contact with production services, agencies and artists on new locations I have never worked with before.
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