Photographer Ingrid Hertfelder has built her career in the music and portrait world, shooting stills and motion for music labels, PR companies and magazines. With a classical music background and pure love for the intergration of music, people and photography, Ingrid’s work captures the personalities behind the image.
Production Paradise: How did you start your career in the photography industry? Who or what influenced you to take this direction?
Ingrid: I guess you could say I started my career as a photography intern at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I had practiced photography before passionately during my teenage years back in Germany, when I was first exposed to working in the darkroom and making my own prints. At the time, a musician colleague of mine (as always it started with music) was kind enough to teach me the basics, and we would then share what we had come up with amongst our latest few rolls of film. Then a few years later I picked the camera back up – it was another friend of mine who asked me to teach him. Through the act of teaching someone else, I basically rediscovered my passion for photography, and it was this experience that lead me to apply for the internship at Jazz at Lincoln Center with staff photographer and mentor Frank Stewart. During the eight month internship I was shooting many concerts and soundchecks, which lead to frequent portrait assignments by individual musicians.
Production Paradise: What is the attraction to portraiture photography?
Ingrid: The attraction of portraiture photography for me lies in the challenge of not only capturing the person in the image but also their attributes. A German photographer by the name of Isolde Ohlbaum once said that there is a specific energy between photographer and the subject, and all the camera does is capture this energy. I think as a portrait photographer it is crucial to be aware of and sensitive to this energy, and I love the process of creating and capturing it.
Production Paradise: You have shot the portraits of many notable people, including the legendary Sidney Poitier, how was that experience?
Ingrid: Photographing Sidney Poitier certainly was a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience, that I am tremendously grateful for. I guess one of the best parts about it was that I got the call the day before. There was very little time to prepare and be nervous, which was for the best!
Production Paradise: What was your most memorable shoot, and what made it special?
Ingrid: My most memorable shoot was probably when I photographed Jazz bassist Richard Bona for his Universal Music Group release “Ten Shades of Blues”. This was my first album cover shoot for a major record label and the day of the shoot happened to fall on my birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend it. My team that day was rock solid. I had the best wardrobe stylist, make-up artist and lighting and digital techs one could only wish for. Richard’s energy was amazing, he gave me many different expressions and lots of movement. And the budget for this shoot was on point as well. A perfect shoot in every sense of the word.
Production Paradise: Music plays an important role in your work, can you tell us a little about some of your special projects that have music as a theme?
Ingrid: The Jazz Gallery in New York City asked me if I was willing to document a recording session (in fact it ended up being two sessions) for their Tsunami relief recording “Home”. The Jazz Gallery’s program director herself is from Japan. She created and produced this project, and I was honored to be part of it. It was a truly special and heart warming experience to be in the room with all these amazingly talented musicians who give their gift of music to this cause.
Production Paradise: Since you have a musical background, have you ever been tempted to switch back to the music industry rather then photography?
Ingrid: Have I ever been tempted to switch back to music? In the past, perhaps, but I have increasingly become proud and even more passionate of my work as a photographer, that it does not tempt me any more. I’ll sit down and play the piano when I have the urge, and that will completely satisfy me. I love music dearly, and playing the piano for many years has taught me so many things that I apply to this day to my photography. It’s all about rhythm, dynamics, themes and harmony. It’s all related.
Production Paradsie: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Ingrid: Some of the best advice by another photographer has been: “Don’t fix it in post – get it in camera.”
We would like to thank Ingrid Hertfelder for taking the time to speak with us. You can see more of her work on Production Paradise or her website. Our directory provides more information about Hertfelder and other amazing Stuttgart based portrait photographers.
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