Animals are great architects – and that they were in the times when human beings were still living in caves. Nature photographer Ingo Arndt is touring with his series of epic large fine art prints around natural history museums the world and shows in the current series “Animal Architecture” the filigree or monumental structures of animals in detail. His exhibition can be seen until November 1st 2015 in Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann near Dusseldorf. All prints are done by professional print service photo lab Brieke on Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth. Ingo Arndt found the time between his travels as a nature photographer around the world for an interview. He has used our paper for many years now for exhibitions, for collector´s prints and his portfolio to present to editors and publishers.
Even as a child I was always out in the countryside on the way. At some point I wanted to then capture my observations on pictures. My father gave me a viewfinder camera with which I exposed the first films. But it quickly became clear to me that I need better technology and have saved up money for my first SLR. That is now over 30 years ago.
As a student I have I sold the first pictures to book and magazine publishers. So I funded my equipment, the first movies and travelling. I was a very early nature photo-pro, but had to deal with a very small budget the first years. The breakthrough came 16 years ago, with a story about chameleons, which was published in GEO magazine (Germany). Since then I have been working continuously for the demanding reportage magazine and have photographed nearly thirty stories on their behalf. Each story was then widely reprinted from other magazines and has financed my next projects. Meanwhile, there are not just magazines which print my photos but of course, my portfolio is quite wide today. Almost all travel I undertake with my wife Silke. She is a graphic designer and designed our books and exhibitions. So we are always working as a team, making larger projects would not be possible.
No, I do not have an idol. But of course, many colleagues have inspired me. From Germany, for example, Fritz Pölking. I was lucky and did know him personally. In addition to his photographic work he has also done a great deal for nature photography and was also a smart guy. He once told me exactly how he plans his work days. That impressed and influenced me, because I am also a very structured person.
When stem Photo I do not look much to the right and left and try to go my own way. As a nature photographer with a preference for animal photography, I love clear images with a clear statement. This can be animal behavior, or even the expressive look of an animal. High aesthetics and graphic design to make sure of a lot of my best pictures. I’ll call again and again as a perfectionist. Therefore, it is probably mostly so that I shoot for an order of 10,000 or 20,000 pictures, but only 150 deductibles. The rest will be deleted immediately and no longer bothered me.
To capture the right moment! This applies in principle to all areas of nature photography. For my long-term project on animal masses as I always have to just be encountered by the animals in the maximum amount at the right time on site. Are the animals then in front of the lens, of course, the right light and the right image composition are elected. There are an infinite number of factors that make a really good picture. When I find it particularly important that one can interpret animal behavior. Only if you know how an animal behaves and what might happen next, you can get good images. It is not enough to buy the most expensive equipment.
A printed presentation of my images is extremely important. For one of our exhibitions, which are shown in museums in Germany and many other countries. Secondly, for our fine art prints that we sell to art collectors. I run a very great effort to get my pictures, so I’m not compromise even with the presentation.
My favorite papers are all Hahnemühle Photo Rag® grades. I know of no other paper that is so differentiated in details and the colours are so brilliant. Our current exhibition ‘Animal Architecture’ was printed on Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth. We get the most positive feedback from museum visitors who have seen our exhibits. The prints of our fine art collection we sell are printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag®.
I come very much around, but strangely enough I have never photographed polar bears. Far from the usual “polar bear tourism” I would like to take pictures of the animals even over a long period. Unlike what one has seen. That would be a great way to draw attention to climate change. If it is not stopped, there will be in the near future no more polar bears. However, such a project is associated with high financial costs. It would be great just to find someone to fund the project …
I’m just going to shoot two contracts for the GEO magazine. A story about a specific species and another story that has now grown to the next major project. Details will be a surprise.Thanks to Ingo Arndt for this Q&A.
More on the project and Ingo Arndt: