“Street photography is the most honest genre in photography” stated German photographer Frank Neuschulz. His pictures – mostly captured with the small Leica Q – he prints big for collectors on Hahnemühle paper. Two of his images will represent the genre of Street Photography at Hahnemühle´s photokina booth, hall 3.1. In our Q&A the artist reveals why FineArt Inkjet Papers give an identity to the pictures and to him as a photographer.
How did you discover your passion for photography?
At first there was a passion for old photographs. I loved black-and-white photos as a child; I remember flipping through some we kept in an old shoebox again and again. And then there was an old camera which made me very curious. I bought film and started taking pictures of my friends, our dog and landscapes. Monochrome became my colourful world. I learned that black and white was the colourful world of grey and had many different facets. Then this passion rested for a long time – until digital photography. I finally felt that old desire again. At some point I bought my first Leica and immediately caught the bug. Finally, I was the director of my own photographs; I was able to conduct and shape images myself.
What is your favourite genre?
Street Photography, as it is the most honest kind of photography to me. The majority of images worldwide are staged today: the selfie, the wedding photo, the food for Instagram, the picture with friends on Facebook and the fashion portrait in glossy magazines. Street Photography, however, is the unadulterated image of here and now. The artistic spirit of an image often arises in a fraction of a second. I freeze one of those moments and that is why I do not see myself as a photographer, but as an artist. That is the task of art: to document and interpret the world around us. These moments, captured in their clarity and authenticity, can trigger great emotions because they are so real. Alberto Korda managed to capture one of these moments with his iconic photograph of Che Guevara, Guerrillero Heroico, with his Leica M2 during a memorial service in 1960. Only a few images show the horrors of war as relentlessly as the iconic photograph The Terror of War, following a napalm attack in Vietnam, by the Vietnamese American photographer Nick Út. There is nothing staged, it is relentless truth. Thus, Street Photography is also a kind of reportage photography without being planned.
Which of your images opened the door to the art market and what story does the image tell?
My image #psycho opened two doors for me. Firstly, it allowed me to start selling my art as people wanted to buy this image as a print. The second door this image opened was entering the world of FineArt Papers from Hahnemühle. This resulted in a cooperation with Hahnemühle as two of my images will be representing the genre of Street Photography at Hahnemühle´s booth at Photokina 2018.
I captured #psycho in Göttingen (my hometown in Lower Saxony, Germany) in an everyday urban environment. A dark passageway plastered with posters, a discarded pink sofa and suddenly a work of art with different levels of meaning emerges. Sometimes we feel as if we are on the couch of a psychologist who looks into our soul. It´s dark around us but we enter in a passage towards the light and hope to arrive there at some point. On the other hand, the image shows that a couch can transform a grubby urban corner into a homely environment.
Can you describe your personal style in photography?
My imagery gives a mirror to the viewer. They see sadness in my picture when they are sad and see happiness when they are happy. Many people recognize something of themselves, something they have experienced or what they have dreamed of in my pictures, and so do the people I photograph. They are surprised when I ask them for permission and show them the photograph I had taken. Only in an unobserved moment do people take off their mask and their protective façade, and truly show something of themselves. These moments are my moments. In addition to that, I also like to combine texts and images to tell a story and create feelings and emotions.
How important is the printed presentation of your artworks?
I have been sharing my photographic work on Facebook for a few years now. More and more people are interested in my artistic work. People are increasingly asking for exhibitions, photo books and fine art prints. These prints are becoming more and more important to me as an artist. They give me a kind of identity. The printed image stands for consistency, value and can be experienced in a completely different way compared to an online presentation. Every new image I print for the first time feels to me like giving birth to something eternal. I believe that in Hahnemühle papers I have found the best matching media whose surface characteristics support my art. They are age-resistant and of good reputation among the art market.
Do you have a ‘signature paper’ from Hahnemühle?
I like the slightly glossy papers for rich black-and-white prints full of contrasts. The gradation of shades of grey and the details shown is intriguing. I love FineArt Baryta and Photo Rag® Baryta as these papers are reminiscent of the classic photo paper from the shoebox of my childhood. For my fine art or landscape images I also like the picturesque matt papers like the Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth. It was on these papers that I presented my images at the opening of the new building of my company Mayer Feintechnik. The feedback was tremendous. Many people value the striking depth in my photographs. This is clearly due to the paper which corresponds optimally to the printer and the inks used. At Photokina, my motifs #psycho and #sychnchron will be presented on two papers from the Hahnemühle Photo line. I am very curious to see how they will turn out and whether they will attract the photo enthusiasts in the exhibition hall.
What are you currently working on?
My new project is called ARTinDUSTry. I have just opened a new location for my company, and I designed the 200 sqm entrance area so that it can be used for exhibitions. Not only will my artworks be exhibited there, other artists will also be invited to present their artworks.
Click over to Frank´s website for more imagery. Thanks for the interview
I’m always impressed with the street photographers. No idea how they manage to capture the exact split second of an action. Being a landscape photographer I need time to think and analyze while they just shoot away.
I am increasingly thinking about how to combine my architectural photography and street photography. I am sure it will be an interesting photo project.