Florian Mueller, German fine art photographer known for his work in combining film and digital techniques to his photographic works. He takes photography beyond the norm, pushing boundaries in techniques used to create effects that are worthy of the many awards he has won.
Most of his strongest works are on architecture and landscape though he does cover human subjects as well. His most notable photoseries is Multivision where he layered several images of the New York skyscraper , creating a vibration 3D effect that appears both chaotic and intriguing at the same time. Mueller wants the view of his work to interpret his image and draw their own conclusion on what they are seeing. Weather its the photograph of horizontal lines of the beach skyline or a ferry’s wheel in Corney Island like in his Transitus series, we are drawn to see beyond the beauty of the image he has created from abstract distortion to look for what is familiar or real.
Florian Mueller has won several awards over the years, with photos exhibition all over the world; in U.K, New York, Germany, Brussel and Hong Kong. Today, his work is sold at the Saatchi Art Gallery and Yellow Korner in Hong Kong. We meet up with Florian for a Q&A.
Where are you based?
I am based in Cologne, Germany. As I am travelling a lot, I spend a lot of time elsewhere. When I am not travelling, I spend time in my hometown looking for places and objects to photograph.
What does a work day in your life look like?
I have a family, a 2 year old son so I get up quite early, spend some time with him and my wife, have a coffee or before I go online to check the news, blogs and photography/art platforms to see what’s happening in the world. Then I work on my projects, which could mean post-processing, PR-work, time for emails or getting ready packing my equipment for a shoot outside. In the evening I cook for my family or meet some friends for a beer but if I am travelling, I would be out photographing the whole day with my camera.
Top 3 sites you visit regulary for photography news?
First of all I visit behance.net to see what the artists all over the world is doing. This is a very good platform to view the portfolios of my peers and connect with them. There is a German magazine called Profifoto that’s on my read list. I also check my Instagram regulary and follow a couple of photographers who’s work I admire.
What are the biggest influences in your work?
I think we are influenced by everything. Our subjective perception is a product of more than what you think you like. For me, I am looking for tranquility, I try to look for what’s special in what’s common weather is landscape or architectural structures.
I am very influence by nature and the photographers I admire because they inspire me achieve a certain affect from looking at their work. I take a longer look, I linger, I contemplate. Martin Parr inspired me to create the In England They Call it Beach series.Painters like Mark Rothko inspired me to create PolaLux, which I credited by calling it a tribute to Rothko and Lyonel Feininger inspired the Concrete Cross series.
As a photography artist, how do you want your audience to respond to your work?
With such alot of images being created daily and the quest for perfection in creating the perfect image, I see the necessity to look into an entirely different direction. The images are not enough. To me it is the abstraction and the individual view of the beholder to see below the surface.
In this case abstraction is focused on the reduction to certain facts, forms and objects but not as an experience of pure non-objectivity. The imagination of the viewer supplements what is absent. I would like the viewer to feel the evocation of thoughts, associations, emotions and memories from my images. This is a very individual and personal process.
What are the elements or qualities you believe are necessary to be a commercially successful artist?
If could answer this question, I maybe would be more successful ;-)
I think it depends on a couple of things: Nowadays you have to be present. Collectors, curators, artbuyers have to be aware of you. So you have to be busy in the social media, you have to have a professional website and you have to communicate with these people.
Honestly: Creating art is a wonderful thing, but it’s a lot of work. On one hand your art is something that comes from you, what represents you, what you like. If other people like it too and want to pay for it: wonderful!
You are pushing the envelop with the techniques you use to create your images, both during the shooting process and post production period. Please explain these technique you have pioneered?
I like the multilayer effect I use for my Multivision series. These pictures are sometimes “real” multiple exposures in the camera or done afterwards via photoshop.
The other effect, used for the Transitus series is done either by moving the camera during a longtime exposure or, again, afterwards in photoshop. To create a real exact horizontally move with my camera, I bought a smal electrical motor, normally used for surveillance-cameras. I mount this device with my camera on it on a tripod, adjust it and can do a steady and precise horizontal move.
Another thing might be the layering of photography and patterns. I am a big fan of concrete as construction material. And as such a fan and a photographer I have a huge collection of concrete surfaces. These pictures combined with landscape photography in black and white creates wonderful “vintage” pictures, like seen in my Paramnesie series.
Which series or body of work are your most commercially successful?
I think it’s the Transitus and Transitus Essence series, both are partially sold via Yellow Korner. Multivision which is a series of multilayer pictures from New York and Hong Kong is also quite popular. These pictures are shown at exhibitions worldwide and have been published in many magazines. And with them and some of my works from the series “Concrete Cross” and “PolaLux” I received some great awards and prizes.
A defining moment in your artistic journey as a photographer...
Definetly my first exhibition with my two colleagues Nadine Targiel and Michael Streckbein. A couple of years ago we decided to found a small artists collective, called the Jetztzeit Club to show our work to the public. Our first exhibition was a huge success, we had lots of visitors, press and collectors.
And a defining moment while working as a photographer is that moment called “Serendipity” when you suddenly find motives you absolutely were not looking for. That makes me always smile…
You are happiest when…
I find my moment of serendipity when taking pictures. I am also happy when I talk to people who are looking at my work, I love to hear all the things my work does with the beholder, the dialogue that arises between the viewer and my work. I always see new thing in my artwork when looking through the eyes of others.
When I come back from a photo-trip with no good photos. It happens sometimes when I am looking too hard or am too focused. When I forget to be open-minded and open for serendipity and inspiration, the two main elements that keep me finding new pictures!