It’s maybe 6 years ago in a dusty skate park underneath a motorway bridge. The weather’s horrible. The rain’s pouring down and a bunch of young guns gather to seek shelter from the rain and do a few tricks. And there’s this guy clicking away with his camera, even though that was probably before Tobias König started taking stunning photos like those below – bleak and moody b/w pictures that beautifully capture his love for architecture, structures, geometric shapes as well as atmospheric portraiture. So we know each other for a while now and it seems kinda odd to do this interview, 100s of miles apart via email and in a different language. But oh well, here’s us talking briefly about his photography beginnings, spontaneity and his first public exhibitions!
Hello Mr. T! Thanks for taking the time to have a chat. Well, I’m quite familiar with it, but do you mind introducing yourself briefly to everyone else out there?Hey, my name is Tobias König, a self-taught photographer. I am 25 years old and currently living in Dortmund, Germany. I love to travel whenever I can and take photos along the way.
What brought you to photography and is there any grand or yet unknown masters you draw inspiration from? It must have been my dad’s small digital camera. I used to play around with it all the time, taking long time exposures and everything else that cam had to offer. When I started studying I somehow got myself an old analogue camera. That’s when my photography got serious I guess. I am quite lucky to have many creative friends who also take photos. They motivate me to try new things, but also to stay true to my style of photography. Otherwise I find inspiration in the Old Masters like the Magnum Photographers or Vivian Maier, whose work is just mind-blowing.
Your photos emanate a distinctive vibe with a strong focus on b/w shots. How would you describe your work? Nice to hear that they have a distinctive vibe! Over the years, I began to see my surroundings in a different way I guess. I would say my work plays with architecture overall but is really about the use of perspectives.
Let’s talk tech stuff: What’s your current camera setup? I am currently shooting with a Nikon fg2. I have a 50mm and a 24mm lens. But I also own a small Olympus point and shoot cam.
Are you more of the spontaneous type who’s heading on a photo safari or are your trips more planned out with motives/themes well thought through beforehand? I would say it’s more spontaneous. I try to take my cam with me as often as I can. When I know I’m going somewhere interesting I also bring more rolls of film. Like for city trips. It’s very rare that I go somewhere specific just to take analogue pictures.
If you would had to pick one photo that represents your style, which would it be and why? Definitely black and white and architectural. Maybe this older shot here. It’s called ‘Loop’. It’s so moody!
You had your first public exhibitions this year. How was the reception and how does it feel to be face-to-face with people instead of interacting with an online audience? It was awesome to actually see a direct reaction to my pictures. The feedback is so different. I didn’t realise until then, that my photography is so subjective and hence so abstract. Many people wanted me to explain what the theme of my photography was, because they couldn’t tell right away. I wasn’t aware of that in the beginning. If you get online feedback it’s just like: ‘I love your work, keep doing what you are doing…’ But if you are face to face with the audience, you eventually get more critical feedback, more honest feedback. For my exhibitions I had to tie myself down to a selection of pictures, so it was interesting to see, which pictures the audience on site liked the most.
What’s your plan for the future? Any exciting projects or trips in the pipeline? I am not quite sure. I will continue to shoot photos, develop a bigger portfolio and a website to reflect my work. I want to shoot more portraits and focus on my digital photography. Maybe another exhibition. And I definitely want to come back to Edinburgh to explore the city further. Other planned destinations for this year are Budapest and Prag.
Thanks for your time, see you around! Bis Bald!