passion for photography never stopped growing since he started. His extensive scope of work includes Landscape, Travel, Wildlife, Architecture and Street photography. He excels in many genres. When you ask him about technical perfection and/or creativity, he answers that they follow his emotions.
He always tries to freeze moments to share his feelings with the viewer. His work has been featured in several publications such as DigitalPhoto, Fotofrum, Stern.de, Fotoheise and he was shortlisted and nominated in several photo contests around the world.
Let's discover more about this interesting artist through this interview, today.
Michael Jurek @ work
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I'm 54 years old and live near Hanover, Germany. Photography has been my favourite hobby for more than 30 years and my passion for photography is still growing. I'm working for a well known car manufacturer as an international project manager. It’s a very interesting job but my passion stays with photography. I also do a lot of sports in order to stay healthy and to be fit enough for hiking and travelling the world. Basically, I couldn't imagine a life without travel and travel has grown with my passion for photography. For me, vacation is always travel time and time to take photos. Currently it’s definitely a kind of challenge for me being locked at home while waiting that the pandemic will end.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
I've always been interested in photography and as a child I was fascinated by my parents' cameras. When I was 16 my school offered a project group on photography and photo development and I took part. That was my personal starting point into photography and from that moment on I looked at the world through the viewfinder of a camera. My parents did not miss it and for my 18th birthday I got my first camera, a Nikon F-301. I started the digital era with a Canon EOS 450D and I was fascinated by the endless creative opportunities so that I started to consider photography as my personal expression of art.
What first attracted you to photography?
I'm interested in art in general and photography has become my way to express myself in art. Analogue photography always had that magical time between taking photos and developing. The analogue films and development were expensive, so each image had to be carefully considered. With my first experiences in the analogue photo lab came the fun and the beginning of an ongoing creative passion for photography. With digital cameras occurred new creative possibilities, which further motivated me and eventually the fun of creating art from photos grew more and more.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I try to capture the best places I travel to and I always try to focus on spots which make each place uniquely their own. The creation of my artwork is motivated by mastery of composition, lighting, perspective and colours. Inspired by the powerful beauty and wonder of the natural world, I try to freeze the moments so that any person who is watching at my pictures becomes a travel companion. In my work I try to simplify and to get rid of distraction since simplicity is my ultimate satisfaction.
My motto: I don't mean breaking the rules makes sense. I mean that there are basically no rules. (inspired by David duChemin)
Why are you so drawn by landscape photography ?
I love nature, travelling and hiking, so it makes sense that I take a lot of landscape photos. Basically, I'm interested in many categories and I don't want to commit to just one genre. I try to implement my ideas in all areas of photography. My extensive scope of work includes travel, wildlife, landscape, architecture and I love to create abstract art from all categories of photography.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
This question leads into another question : What is the definition of technical perfection?
To me technical perfection follows emotion…
I always try to find my own perspective on a subject. For me, landscape photos have to be technically perfect, but what exactly does that mean? I can only judge the degree of perfection of a picture when I see the final image. Ultimately, I don't judge images by their sharpness or their overwhelming histograms. The point of view, the light, the mood and of course the luck of being in the right place at the right time are even more important. For example, a blurred image can of course be technically perfect. For example, when I'm in the city, I try to capture the mood and try to communicate a story with my pictures. The technical perfection is always in the eye of the beholder.
What about the technical perfection of the image below? Some might say, the people are blurred and I don’t like it. Contrary to this opinion, I love the contrast between the static and dynamic elements of this picture.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I like to be surprised and work without much preparation. I like to travel with little equipment and I don't even have a tripod. For me, flexibility and spontaneity are very important when taking photos and these circumstances force me to leave the usual perspectives and look for creative solutions. Of course I try to be in the right place at the optimal time (sunrise, sunset, blue hour, ...) but unfortunately that doesn't work very often. Time is limited on every trip and I can't always wait for the perfect light. And if the weather and the light are not right at all, then I can enjoy nature without taking any photos. Sometimes new perspectives and ideas arise, which I sometimes can realise in the days afterwards. I always try to make the best of every situation and that requires a lot of improvisation and flexibility. For me, that is what makes photography so fascinating.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I completely rely on Canon equipment such as Canon EOS 6D Mark II, several Canon lenses from 16mm - 300mm, a collection of grey filters and I really love my hiking bag from Patagonia. My personal recommendation on this topic is… Less is more!
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Lightroom for almost 80% of my workflow and Photoshop for the creative fine tuning. I do not use any other programs, plug ins or presets. For me, the software is just a tool that one have to master very well so that I can concentrate on the creative workflow. There was a time when I used too many different tools but then I realised that I was spending too much time managing the software compared to the creative workflow. My conclusion: Software follows emotion and creativity!
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I always take photos in RAW format and for me the raw file is like a canvas and the basis for my creative process. Post-processing is part of the creative workflow for me and I always try to realise my personal vision of the picture. At the beginning there is the selection of the best pictures so that I can concentrate in the editing on the best. This is very important because nothing is worse than wasting a lot of time editing a “bad” image. I always think about the desired result and create a concept before starting the editing. So, I make the basic decisions such as colour vs. black & white, high light vs. low light before I start editing. In the creative process the concept can of course be changed, but always in comparison to the first concept and only when the expected result will be better. I need this structure at work to stay focused. I often had the problem of finding the end of the processing and my concept also helps me with that. In everything I do, the focus is on having fun and when I get positive feedback, it's like the cherry on the cake.
Please find below my 'creative art' favourites from my 1X profile.
If you would like to explore more, please check also my website: https://photodesign-jurek.myportfolio.com
What is your most important advice to a beginner in landscape photography and how do you get started?
I didn't have a special plan for my start. I just got started and I've always been inspired by very good photographers. With 1X, inspiration was taken to a new level and I'm still learning from the fabulous photographers on 1X.
I have 2 tips for newcomers:
*** Master your equipment! The camera must be operated intuitively and without thinking. Only then I can fully concentrate on the creative work and the motif.
*** Look at many pictures by very good photographers, learn continuously and never stop learning.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I’ve been inspired by many photographers. It is really difficult to highlight individual photographers here. I have always admired National Geographic photographers with great enthusiasm. I would just like to name four names that came to my mind when I was reading this question. Steve McCurry, , Art Wolfe and. Furthermore, David duChemin also inspired me a lot with his pictures and books. But there are many more worth to be explored. I will never stop exploring.
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?
In the future, I would like to do larger projects with a focus on a specific location, e.g. volcanoes on Iceland, polar lights on the Arctic Circle or puffins on Iceland. I have a lot of ideas and my bucket list is full. The realisation of these projects can only begin when I can use the time exclusively for them. So it's about having the time for the projects and, for example, having the time to wait for the perfect light. Until then, I will travel the world in my limited free time and collect inspiration for the implementation of larger projects.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
The picture below will always remind me of one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I made a marriage proposal to my wife and took this picture shortly after she said „YES“.
By the way, this is one of my best sold images. What a coincidence!
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1X was my entry into a creative world and 1X is my most important source of inspiration. The feedback from the curators and from the 1X community is very important to me and the demands on the creative process are very high. My success in many photo competitions would not have been possible without 1X. I was especially happy about the victories in 2 photo competitions in 2020 which I would like to mention here in humility.
1. Chromatic Photography Award / 1st Place in Abstract Amateur Category
2. ipa - International Photography Award / 1st place in Subcategory Abstract – non-pr
Yvette, special thanks to you for your effort and support. I really appreciate your creative work.
All the best to the entire 1X family and always good light!
Amazing photographs , congrats!
Dear Sandra, Thank you for your feedback. I hope you enjoyed the interview... Greetings, Michael
A condensed image of reality and the cult of imagination. Wonderful.
Hi Irena, I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you! Best, Michael
Hi Xibiao, Thank you! I'm really happy about it... Best, Michael
Erhard Batzdorf PRO
Thank you Michael for taking us on your trip around the world and for presenting these great pictures. Congratulations! Thanks also to Yvette for her efforts!
Hi Erhard, Thanks a lot for your positive feedback. It really motivates me and by the way as your follower I love your pictures and creativity. Greetigs, Michael
Yvette Depaepe CREW
Thank you, dear Erhard! All credits go to Michael !!!
Vito Guarino PRO
Very interesting interview. Excellent collection of images. Thanks Yvette and Michael
Yvette Depaepe CREW
Thanks for your appreciation, dear Vito !
Dear Vito, I really appriciate your feedback. Thank you! Best, Michael
Erik Schottstaedt CREW
Benny Pettersson PRO
Absolutely amazing pictures. I am very impressed
Hi Benny, Thank you and I hope you enjoyed the interview. Your pictures are amazing and you won a new follower... Best, Michael