" Even if the majority of my pictures shows nudity, I seriously consider them as portraits. The naked body is nothing by itself without the story that only the face can tell." Johannes Schwab
Johannes, how really did your passion for photography begin ?
When I was 15 years old I saw Dennis Hopper as a mad photographer in the movie "Apocalypse now" and it was the first time I clearly realized what I wanted to be.
My uncle gave me the old Nikon from my grandfather and since this moment I had my passion... I began to shot everything and after a while I started to develop my pictures by my own, in the bathroom, hypnotized by the red light and the magic of slowly appearing images. I knew that it was the only thing I wanted to do in my life.
What a lucky man you are, knowing your right place in the world so young... And how did you learn your art ?
I learned a lot by watching pictures, thinking about them, experimenting. I did some first assistant jobs for photographers, and in 1992 I started to study photography in Munchen.
How long could you be far from your camera ?
Im not this type of spontaneous photographer who always takes his camera around... My creative process is thinking about something and when I know what I want I try to realize it.
Who are your favorite photographers ?
When I was younger, I was deeply fascinated by photographers like Joel-Peter Witkin, Robert Frank, Larry Clark, Jim Goldberg... Later I added Boris Mikhailov, Nobuyoshi Araki. Today, I still love them all but my most inspiring artist is definitively Richard Avedon.
How long dit it take to find your so original style ?
I don't know if I have a own style... But I always try to find something clear and reduced with a subtile story behind. I like this type of bold pictures where is something you have to think about it without clearly knowing what it is.
And you succeed ! In your own and so original style... Is your photography mostly nudes ?
Even if the majority of my pictures shows nudity, I seriously consider them as portraits. The naked body itself is nothing without the story that only the face can tell.
Are you planning every details or is it improvisation from the beginning to the end ?
When I'm doing my studio portrait works it's simple. I nearly use always the same lightning and technique, so I'm completely free to focus on the person in front of me, then it's psychological improvisation.
What locations do you tend to use mainly ? Studio I think ?
My portrait works are mostly in the studio... But I also love to be outside.
Some words about your "natural" models ?
They are nearly all amateurs and often the first time in front of a camera. I like this kind of non-awareness about themselves, what is often the precondition of real beauty.
Do you remember a shooting you particularly liked ?
Some years ago I had a shooting with Jean Baudrillard, a french philosopher for a german magazine... I was really impressed by him.
How do you feel at the end of a shooting ?
Tired and hungry.
Do you know you're not the only one to feel like this ?... Have you some challenges you're dreaming about in a near future ?
Of course... A nude-portrait of Cate Blanchett !
Good luck ! When will be your next exhibition ?
I guess next near.
I'm sure you still have published a book ? And is there one to come ?
I'm doing a lot of magazine-work and I'm thinking about my first own book.
Keep us informed ! Besides shooting, have you another passion ?
Of course... My wonderful wife Minon (and by the way... she's better than me).
A message to send ?
Thank you !
Thank you to you, Johannes ! Very much. You're great !