Alexander Schönberg: Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe 

In the spotlights today: Alexander Schönberg
The main rules Alexander set to himself are: “less is more” and “think big but keep it simple”.  His skilful and varied photographic works all affirm this rules.  He always is in search to improve his images and tries to discover the “secrets of great artists” making the difference - like he uses to say.
Apart from his passion for photography, Alexander has an interesting, charming and humble personality.  Discover more about him through this interviews and enjoy!



'smoking man'


Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, dear Alexander.
I am the second son of a German family and was born in Russia.  In 1994 we moved to Germany and since 2000 we live in Hamburg.  My profession is sales representative for a lemonade manufacturer „Fritz-kola“ situated in Hamburg too.  

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
I have produced music for 15 years.  I started coincidentally with photography about 4 years ago after a recommendation of my doctor who told me just to go for more walks.
This precious advice and my subsequent decision significantly changed my life.  Since than I don't smoke any more and don't use any alcohol.  When I came from the doctor that day, I immediately went by foot to the electronics store and 15 minutes later I held my first camera in my hands!  Since that very day, photography became a vocation and my own way to communicate with people and environment.  It gives me lots of energy and also is a life content to me.

Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
Maybe old „film noir“ and Sherlock Holmes movies with a lot of fog in the pictures.

 

'run away'

 


'into the night'


What first attracted you to photography?

When you compose a piece of music, especially if you also have to write the text, it can be a very long process which sometimes takes several months. That was very different to me in photography.  You see the result very quickly and if needed you always can go back to the location when the weather is more suitable.  That was what fascinated me the most in photography.

Describe your overall photographic vision.
„Less is more“.
Although I rarely think about what I'm doing, I just look through the viewfinder and act intuitively.

You have your very own style but your work is very diversified.  Can you explain why this is?
No, not really..
I love black and white as well as colour pictures and I like a lot of different styles. I think more in projects like photographing the bridges in Hamburg during almost 2 years and published an illustrated book about them. I often pick different topics and try to realize a series on the subject. And in the rest of the time, I either photograph with an old analogue Minolta camera or meet other photographers from Hamburg.  I don't mind photographing a banal sunset, it also often has its charm!



'frozen lake'

 


'Jungfernstieg'

 
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
I don't pay to much attention to the technical perfection.  In the first place, the story and the mood in a photograph is more essential than the technical perfection.  But I agree that the technical perfection must be present anyway to make a valuable and excellent image.

 

'crossing the road'

 


'encounter'


What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
In the last years of my musical activities, I wrote lyrics and then underlay self-composed music. Lyrics are good when meaningful and written honestly.  It is like an open book about the author of the text.  And that is similar with pictures, they must always be a reflection of our soul, our thoughts and our way of living.



'Kibbelsteg II'

 


'Am Kaiserkai'

 
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Napoleon once said: “If you are 50% prepared for a battle then you are well prepared as the rest decides in the battle..”.  I love this statement!

What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Sony alpha 7RM3
Sony alpha 7M3
Sony GM 24-70 f2.8
Sony GM 70-200 f2.8
Sony 85mm f1.8
Laowa 10-18mm f4.5-5.6
Sirui tripod
Haida filter set
Crumpler Muli Backpack XL (for city walks)
Gitzo Rucksack Adventury 30l (for adventures)
Minolta xd7
Minolta AF 7000

What software do you use to process your images?
Capture one 12.1 for raw development
Adobe Photoshop with NIK-Fliter

Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I try - as far as it is possible - to make everything good while photographing so that only a little is needed when processing. Most of my last photos are only edited in Capture one.  When it absolutely needs more explicit changes, I use Photoshop.


'Let me 3'

 


'JFJ II'

 


'seclusion'


What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
I think everyone has to develop his own approach in photography.  For myself, I have set my own rules: "Think big but keep it simple" and “less is more“.

Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?  
- Portrait photography: Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibowitz, Platon
- Street photography: Robert Doisneau, Alexander Petrosyan, Sergej Maksimišin,
Laura Mexia, Paulo Abrantes.
- Other styles: Elena Haritonova and Svetlin Yosifov.

A really good statement... Sherlock Holmes once said: "The details are by far the most important thing if you want to solve a crime."  I also believe that details are the biggest difference great artists and my modest photographs.  I'm trying hard to discover the secrets of great photographers :-)

 
'streets of Hamburg'

 


'out of the mist'

 


'X'


Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
I'm having a hard time saying “which photo”,  I've seen too many extremely powerful works through the internet but 1x.com is a prime example.  Just on Instagram or on google, when you enter "the most important photographers" you can spend days and weeks on it.
The artists who have impressed me the most this year are: Elena Haritonova and Svetlin Yosifov.

Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I do not have specific goals, I just wish I will experience the same fun and pleasure with photography as long as possible the way I do it now.

Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?  
My absolute favourite picture is "Michel".  This boy was fascinating me so much.  I took already many portraits,  mainly of adults in the last 2 years.  I quickly understood that communicating with the model is the most important thing.  So, just this seven-year-old boy knew best and fastest what I wanted from him and did it superbly well!



'Michel'


Is there anything else you wish to add  and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I would like to thank 1X for the acceptance and great appreciation.  1X had contributed a big deal to my photographic growth and  I will never forget that!

1x and the curation system provides a very high level of published pictures and a real solid bases for every photographer to present his best works.

 

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