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Anja Diabaté (wangenrot photographie): Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe 

Anja Diabaté is an artist based in Hamburg, Germany. She uses Fine Art Photography to transform her concepts and ideas into unique artworks. Her strength and power is the transformation of her ideas and creativity into extremely expressive and soulful photos. Each of her photographs tells a unique story, her aim is always to inspire a viewer to get into depth and reflection. Discover today her unique work and strong personality through this interview.


“the peacock”

Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, dear Anja.
I live and work in the beautiful harbour city Hamburg, in the north of Germany.
As skilled advertising clerk, I have been working in some agencies before switching to the publishing industry. I was surrounded by creativity all the time but left this professional field behind me to concentrate on my personal art.
I describe myself as an artist who implements creative concepts into fine art photography.


“your earth”

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
My history influenced me a lot. We all experience a stamping trough our lifetime. Today I show this experiences in form of emotions in my pictures.  You can relate it to a puzzle which is getting completed part by part. After all these years, I'm able to  express the feelings and emotions that I recognise.  You find a part of myself in my pictures all the time.



What first attracted you to photography?
Memories that I wanted to capture attracted me the first. Right after them the emotions. I wanted to capture moments, make them intenser and eternalize them to never loose them.


“Bird of paradise”

Describe your overall photographic version.
My photographic version stands for the freedom of art. It marks my work. Trough this, fantasies arise, which are spread out and become part of a the story.
Art is free. This also means that I don´t block myself, to give me full freedom to express myself through my art. I love what I am doing and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.


“hand in hand”

Why are you so drawn by Artistic Portrait Photography?
It is a combination of feelings, imagination and fascination.
For instance, my series “roots” is about the symbioses of human and animal. Base on the animals, I try to express the essence and bring it to light in an aesthetic way in the form of painting with an intense expression of the model.

Feelings are the key in my photography. No matter which feeling, if one is involved, the picture turns to life. It touches and probably it makes the viewers think about it. The face is so full of facets, the body language, expression of a silent language and they both have a massive power and an effect, to express deepest feelings.
The possibility to tell stories, to present topics that concern me and to highlight them, is very important to me. To put all this in series and in an artistic framework is the pinnacle of creation for me.






“young lion”

What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
In any case, the feeling, the mood and the story are essential to me. But without technical know-how no work of art succeeds. That is why it is important to build a good foundation and to be open-minded in order to delve into more intensively with one or another technical topic.

What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Behind each of my series is a concept. I find everything I need for that, in my pool of requisites or just looking for it on the road or close by. Often it is the other way around too. I see something that captivates me and instantly I see new series in front of me. I work partly with sketches, trying to write down what inspires me and to formulate new ideas.

For me, all life is an inspiration. I find it around me or far away, in thoughts, in books and music, in a word, a gesture or a face, in silence and inner me.
I want to show images which are touching, make the viewer think and feeling engaged.


“I take care of you – your earth”

What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I work with a Canon 5DSR, a Canon 100 mm lens and a Canon 24 – 70 mm lens.

What software do you use to process your images?
So far, I only work with Lightroom.

Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
Everything starts with an accent. This may be an idea that is already in my head or I see something that fascinates me so much that I am also able to shoot in a short time.

A good example of this is the series “the red thread - Part I”. Through this self-portrait shoot, the second part has developed: the series with my oldest son. This resulted in a very personal series showing passages from our lives.
I like authenticity and I can only show it if I really get into the subject and I'm all ready to show my inner self.


"the red thread”

Once I used packaging material to create a headgear.  The “guardian of the forest” series with my youngest son was created that way.  I always have inspiration to create series in which each picture has its own story and can be considered as such, but still in the context of a specific series.


“the guardian of the forest”

The preparations for the series “the peacock” were intense. Since I do not photomontage, I always have to think in advance exactly how the image has to look according to what I already have in mind. The textures and artistic make-up all are made by myself. Looking closely at the bird, I start spontaneously to paint it on the face of my model with my own brushstroke.

The planning is important, but the willingness to let it flow in a few moments and to give room to the unexpected, provides me the really good pictures.


"the peacock“

What is your most important advice to a beginner in Artistic Portrait Photography and how do you get started?
I believe that it is very important to believe in yourself and your abilities.
Give your pictures a soul and dare to try something different. Listen to well-founded criticism, be self-critical, be inspired, learn and start.
That is the way I started with Artistic and conceptual photography which are my greatest passion.  It is part of my life and it doesn't feel like “work”, but rather as a fulfilment.

"the clown“

Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I do not want to commit myself because there are so many admirable photographers. To name a few:
Irving Penn, Man Ray, Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon, Lois Greenfeld, Ken Browar, Deborah Ory, Bert Stern, Ragnar Axelsson, Bruce Barnbaum, Sebastião Salgado, Annie Leibovitz, Jingna Zhang, Nixi Killick, Paco Peregrin.
I also are inspired by other forms of art. I am thinking of the great master of pantomime Marcel Marceau or the geniuses Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, or simply by  psychology, theory of colour, poetry, music, the masters of painting and fashion.
It is an interaction with all these areas and I believe that it has a great impact on my art.



Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?

It is a picture from the series “the red thread - Part II”. I love the whole series and it is difficult for me to make a choice.  Nevertheless, I would like to say that this photo covers everything I want to express.  It shows love and attachment.  The red thread of life is visible and should give reasons to delve deeper into the story and into both the models and  yourself. 


“the red thread”

For me as an artist and photographer, this series has created a new perspective to develop.  It opens up a new world in which I find fantasies that I like to show.

Is there anything else you wish to add  and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1x is the best professional and international photo community. First class handling, design and source of inspiration.
I am always fascinated with what I see here, fantastic photographers and artists in a large range of photographic categories. It is a real pleasure to delve into the 1x gallery.
Thanks 1x for the appreciation given to me and my work.  Thanks dear Yvette for this wonderfully guided interview.  A real pleasure to me.  I hope that the readers will enjoy as much as I do.


Hallo Anja, gefunden! Sehr schönes und interessantes Interview. Gratulation! Kein Zweifel, dass Pictures dein Portfolio bringen wird. Kannst dich ja melden und sagen was draus geworden ist. VG Steffen
. Danke und wie gesagt, trifft es nicht meine Zielgruppe und ist daher uninteressant .
habe das Interview leider bisher verpasst, um so mehr freut es mich an dieser Stelle mehr über Dich als Künstler zu erfahren. Spannend zu lesen wie Deine Herangehensweise an ein Bild ist und welche Hilfsmittel Du letztendlich benutzt. Diese "Biographien" sind für mich ein wichtiger Bestandteil von und ich freue mich wie in Deinem Fall wenn ich etwas über einen Künstler, der mich beeindruckt etwas erfahren kann. vielen Dank dafür und auch Dank an Yvette. LG Wolfgang
. Ich habe gerade Deinen lieben Kommentar entdeckt, lieber Wolfgang . Es freut mich sehr, dass Dir das Interview gefällt . Ich finde es auch immer sehr spannend, mehr über andere Photographen und Ihre Arbeiten zu erfahren. Ganz herzlichen Dank für Dein Interesse und liebe Grüße . Anja .
Great interview dear Anja. Good to know something more about you. Great work. Congratulations my friend.
. Thank you so much for your wonderful words and your appreciation, dear Joxe!! I am very glad about it, my friend . Warm regards .
Herzlichen Glückwunsch, liebe Anja zu dieser wunderbaren Präsentation Deiner Arbeiten im Magazin. Auch ein Dank an Yvette, die das ermöglich hat. Liebe Grüsse Brigitte
Liebe Brigitte, ich danke Dir sehr für Deine Wertschätzung und Deine Glückwünsche!!
Congratulations Anja.I love your wonderful and very creative images
It is a great pleasure for me to read from you Xavier!! Thank you so much for your appreciation!
Very nice 'behind the scene and person' interview. Your work is simply fascinating Anja, great concepts exceptionally well crafted. I was very surprised that your work is being processed in Lightroom only, an even more remarkable achievement! Thank you very much for your answers dear Anja and thanks as well to Yvette for her consistent amount of work to keep the site so interesting and inspiring! Cheers, Andy
Lieber Andreas, vorab möge man mir verzeihen, dass ich Dir jetzt auf deutsch antworte, aber so kann ich mich einfach besser ausdrücken . Ich danke Dir sehr für Deine wertschätzenden Worte !! Ich arbeite bisher tatsächlich nur mit Lightroom. Ich denke, dass ich die Möglichkeiten in Lightroom so ziemlich ausgeschöpft habe und mir auf dem Gebiet der Bildbearbeitung noch einige Optionen offen stehen. Ich vergaß zu erwähnen, dass ich bis jetzt nur mit natürlichen Licht photographiere. Mein nächstes technisches Projekt wird das Thema Licht sein. Ich möchte diese beiden Lichtquellen - natürliches und künstliches Licht - studieren, vergleichen und für meine Photographie umsetzen bzw. das Licht noch verfeinern. Nochmals ganz herzlichen Dank !!
Bildbearbeitung ist alles andere als meine Stärke - umso mehr bin ich von Deinen Fähigkeiten tief beeindruckt! Weiter so und nochmals Gratulation für Deine sehr gelungenen fotografischen Werke!
Ich danke Dir sehr Andreas !!
Sincere congratulations for your work and for the fine interview Anja.
. I am very glad about your appreciation, Luc !! . Thank you so much and warm regards .
So much creativity! Enjoyed the interview and your work :)
. Thank you so much for your fine words . So kind !! .
Thank you very much for the superb presentation, Yvette, that is an art in itself ! @ Anja: Herzlichen Glückwunsch für die hochverdiente Anerkennung und Wertschätzung Deiner Arbeiten. Ich habe zu meinem Bedauern Deine Fotos bei 1x erst vor ein paar Wochen entdeckt und bin von den Ideen und der ganz eigenen Art der Umsetzung begeistert und berührt! Liebe Grüße in den Norden, Jürgen
. Lieber Jürgen, ich freue mich sehr über Deine besonderen Worte und das Dich meine Bilder berühren . Es gibt kein größeres Lob für mich . Ganz herzlichen Dank und liebe Grüße . Anja .
Meine Gratulation liebe Anja zu diesem großartigen Interview im 1x Magazin. Ich freue mich sehr das deine fantastischen und außergewöhnlichen Bilder hier präsentiert werden. Vielen Dank auch an Yvette.
. Ganz herzlichen Dank, lieber Adam für Deine Begeisterung und Deine Wertschätzung !! . Ich freue mich auch sehr über diese besondere Publikation .
You're always inspired and inspiring, dear Anja! I loved reading your interview. Warm regards!
. My friend Jorge, it is always a big pleasure to read from you . I am very glad that you love the interview . Thank you so much, dear Jorge !! .
I enjoy Anja's work a lot! Creative, sharp, inspiring. The use of light and tones on her photos is always impeccable. What I also appreciate is her support toward other photographers, this is something you don't find that often. Beautiful interview as usual Yvette, thank you!
. I really thank you very much for your appreciative words, Roxana . For me it is always a great pleasure to admire and comment the work of other photographers . Warm regards . Anja .
Great artist, wonderful work. Thank very much Yvette for this magnificent interview and many thanks to Anja, a real pleasure to admire his artworks on 1X !!!
. so kind that you admire my artworks, Thierry . Thank you so much for your lovely words !! .
Ich freue mich sehr darüber, dass eine so großartige Künstlerin wie Anja hier ihre außergewöhnlichen Arbeiten präsentiert - weiter so, liebe Anja und Dank an Yvette.
Ich freue mich sehr über Deine herzlichen und anerkennenden Worte, lieber Udo!! Vielen lieben Dank!
Thank you very much, Anja and Yvette for sharing insights about your work. Interesting read, I enjoyed the article. As a follower and admirer of your work, I was really happy to see your work being introduced in Yvette's magazine, Anja.
All pleasure was for me, Mike... Anja is a great artist and fine woman!
I am very glad about your appreciation, Mike and and that you took the time to read this interview. Thank you so much, Mike !!
Love it! It´s a great honour to be with you on Anja ... see-u Sepp!
It´s a great pleasure, Sepp. Thank you so much !!
Dear Anja, congratulations to this wonderful article in the 1x Magazine. This is well deserved! Your work is amazing.! Dear Yvette, this is a wonderful interview of this awesome artist!
Dear Marcus, I am very glad about your fine words . Thank you so much, my friend !!
Dear Yvette, wow, it looks amazing and I am very glad about this special interview on the 1x Magazine!! Thank you so much for this possibility, your patience and the warm conversation. Warm regards . Anja .
Dear Anja, I'm a big admirer of your work... Thank you so much for your fine collaboration to make this interview so interesting. It is a pleasure to know you better ;-) Cheers, Yvette.
I can only give back this wonderful compliment because I also admire your work very much. Thanks again for this wonderful cooperation, dear Yvette !!