Creating images is the passion of Claus Morgenstern, and interiors and landscapes are his playground. The photographer from Mannheim is specialised in interior and people photography – two apparent opposites: How can they fit together? Read bellow our full interview with Claus, who has worked for clients like SAKS Urban Design Hotels, Air Plus International and many others, and get to know more about his view on the future of advertising photography, on how politics can help our communities and much more!
Production Paradise: Claus, could you tell us something about your journey to become a photographer?
Claus Morgenstern: To be honest – I never wanted to be a photographer! I was filming videos and editing them on my old and green coloured iMac with the basic iMovie software. Then I got my first camera, the Olympus Om2, and I started taking some black & white pictures, and suddenly the option to create a full story within one frame got me really interested. In 2006 I was studying photo design in Pforzheim; after my graduation in 2008 I realized that being a photographer and an artist is what I desired.
Production Paradise: Your people & lifestyle photography is very vibrant, filled up with emotions and life. Shooting interiors seems to be the opposite – what are the challenges of this kind of photography?
Claus Morgenstern: First of all, I didn’t think that I could do people photography properly. It was never my priority – I focused more on landscapes and interiors. Creating a scene that helped me to tell the story, and getting the right proportions without using human interaction is a fascinating thing that in the end leads you to understand how people should be photographed. Most of the times I choose the background and the environment, and then I insert people into the scene I have created, where I think they stand out more or have the most impact for the image.
Production Paradise: Last year you joined the honourable “AOP” Association of Photographers in London and opened your own studio in Mannheim, Werftstudio – What do these experiences mean to you both professionally and personally?
Claus Morgenstern: The AOP is another open door and great opportunity to show my work to a larger range of potential clients and to have the chance to interact more with other photographers. Second, having my own studio is a dream, which offers me the possibility to try more things on my daily life without the problem of cleaning up behind me (smiles). Before I used to share co-working spaces, which was a solution but never gives you the real freedom of just trying out new ideas.
Production Paradise: Which project would you consider as your best or most successful one? What was the inspiration behind it?
Claus Morgenstern: “ELECTED ICONS” is my lifeblood. The source of inspiration for this long term project is politics and the possibilities and benefits of the voting system: people have representatives to defend their interests. I got the chance of being in a political position when I was just 13 years old, and implemented building on a 75000 DM skate park in my home town. At this point I realised politics can work and even though you are just one person, you have a voice! I’m thankful for all these people who choose to call this their job and work for the community.
Production Paradise: Do you have a dream project you would love to shoot in the future?
Claus Morgenstern: Yes. I would love to photograph a series with some actors and well known people with a social theme. The pictures should make the people aware of charity and convey the message of being more polite to each other. Our world is getting destroyed by stupid issues like fighting other people’s religions – that is absolutely each person’s own business and nothing that we should judge.
Production Paradise: Do you try to keep up with the latest innovations in photography? What is your favourite piece of photography gear?
Claus Morgenstern: I do try to keep up, I think it is important. My favourite gear is the “Leica M”; this camera is giving me a hard time! It feels like learning photography from scratch again. Focus settings and some other features work slower, which in our fast world brings back the fun into my personal way of looking at things.
Production Paradise: How would you describe the current state of the advertising photography industry, and how do you see the future of this industry?
Claus Morgenstern: Well, comparing to back in the days, the industry offers much more potential for a lower budget. I would love to see more authentic ideas than just the uninspired and plain stock photographs showing the client’s logo on the shirt.
There will be great and innovative new ways of advertising in the printed media and moving image field – it’s still a very exciting job and I’m curious about what the next 20 years will bring.
Production Paradise: Have you ever thought about being something else than a photographer?
Claus Morgenstern: No, not yet. But who knows, I’m getting more and more interested in introducing younger people, interns and students into my job. I enjoy teaching creative skills and maybe I’ll become an ambassador for creativity, or a teacher.
Production Paradise: What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting out as a photographer?
Claus Morgenstern: Be curious, be inquisitive, be patient. Listen to the old people and learn as long as you can – that means always! Being an assistant for at least five different photographers provides a wider perspective. A great colleague once said – it takes 10 years to figure out your photographic identity. Last but not least, don’t be a stupid egoist. The business wasn’t waiting for you. But always be an interesting and nice character.
Production Paradise: How has Production Paradise been helpful for you?
Claus Morgenstern: Production Paradise is a great tool to spread my vision, and helps me to find production and post production professionals in areas that I haven’t explored yet.
We thank Claus for the testimonial and these great insights. If you want to see more of his work, have a look at Claus’ website or our latest Corporate & Industrial Photography Spotlight magazine. He’s also listed on our directory among other best Frankfurt-based people photographers and Frankfurt-based interior photographers.
If you are a professional of any field of photo or film production, or if you want to show your work in the next issues of Production Paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase Magazine, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.