Face-to-Face: Marc Schuhmann
„Great pictures arise in the mind“
  • Marc Schuhmann is an artist of the old school. Watching his photography enables a deep inside into the man behind his camera, his opinions and his mind. When meeting him you are able to feel his passion and creativity. Even though he is creating fashion photography, he is not considering himself as a fashion photographer in the typical sense. He is more interested in stories and personality, rather than picturing clothes. It’s his attitude considering fashion as art, that makes his photography special. Hating to carry around heavy camera equipment, he is a lover of analogue rangefinder cameras concentrating on the essential of a picture! The reduced style of his photography is the strongest way to communicate his message. At the beginning of 2010 he and his friend Joern Toellner initiated THE PHOTODIARY™, a series of photobooks about the Berlin Fashion Week. Working with photographer colleagues, designers and journalists, they created stunning insights into the world of fashion. His work was honored by several awards. Impressed by his work, we decided to host a little interview and find out more.

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  • You are photographer and well known in the whole fashion business. Now you are going to be part of lala Berlin Journal – as a contributor doing special photo series. Where did this idea come from? I know Leyla for quite a while, mainly through the work on my Photodiary books. Some years ago I staged an exhibition in her boutique in Berlin. Even though it was just a little event, it was very professional organized but with a great familiar atmosphere. That’s the kind of collaboration I love!
    Afterwards, Leyla and I both had the idea to team up again! We hadn’t had the time to meet up for a while. We always were in close contact through mails; wanted to meet, but either her or me had to cancel the appointment. At least Layla told me to create something for the Journal. The plan for the photo series was born.
  • Leyla Piedayesh, designer and founder of lala Berlin loves photography and art. How would you describe the relationship between you and her? We appreciate and respect each other and each other’s work a lot. I would even say we are similar in some ways. We are connected through our affinity to art and culture. Both of us prefer a certain sexiness in all areas, what’s reflected in our work. Probably the similarities are the reason of our good connection.
  • How would you describe the style of lala Berlin? In my opinion, the style of lala Berlin is very straight and urban. The fashion is “intelligent” in the way that it’s well thought-out. Every woman wearing lala seems to be well dressed and thoughtfully styled. Personally, I love the fluffy and soft pullovers and caps and the combination of simple dresses with bold colors.
  • What does fashion mean to you? Fashion is a type of art for me! As in photography, painting, design or architecture, fashion has to satisfy my aesthetics. I prefer minimalist shapes in black or light and rich colors, partly in a classic, partly in an avantgarde style. Nonetheless, fashion has to be feminine, sexy and somehow wearable. As Yves Saint Laurent ones said: “The simplicity of the silhouette is the essence and importance of a dress. If it’s too excessive the grace easily seems destroyed.”
    The preferred simple style is also reflected in my work. I like nudity especially if a certain intimate nudity is shown without being literally naked.
    I don’t care about fashion but if I really like the style, it’s something wonderful.
  • Besides your work as a (fashion) photographer shooting editorials for magazines, you also released a project called THE PHOTODIARY™ in collaboration with Joern Toellner. Could you please describe this project to our readers? THE PHOTODIARY™ was initialized at the beginning of 2010 by my friend and art director Joern Toellner and me. It’s a series of photobooks about the Berlin fashion week, partly with own photographic work, partly with work curated by us. We invited fantastic and very talented colleagues like Chloé Richard and Maxime Balesteros to participate in our diaries. Sketches of participating designer and bilingual texts of established journalists were added to the pictures to complete the insight. The result are two wonderful photobooks in limited edition. In the second book we dedicated a special series to lala Berlin.
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  • And the project you are doing now for lala Berlin – where do you put your focus to create this special series? I prefer not to reveal too much. Often I have some kind of structure in my mind but the details are the result of improvisation. Beside my work as a photographer I will try myself as a writer. Somehow, that’s an experiment and probably as well a challenge.
  • You are known for being a lover of small analogue rangefinder cameras. Why? I hate carrying around all the heavy equipment and it’s not even useful for a good picture. My mentor always said that it’s sufficient to have one source of light to photograph everything. That is the way I am working. I am using a 35mm objective what enables me to shoot nearly everything I want. As my mentor said, great pictures arise in the mind. True to this motto I prefer to concentrate on the protagonist and the story instead of being distracted by opportunities of adjustments. It frees me while working.
  • What do you think is the most important thing to create a perfect picture? In my opinion it’s the interaction of all factors that constitute a good picture in the perfect second. That’s fascinating. Sometimes I am succeeding.
  • How would you describe your style of photography? Beside some commercial work in the last years and a few exceptions, I always show my pictures within their full formats, meaning without cropping them. I am creating my photographs anologue and am using nearly always black-white-films. In my opinion, all these parameters create my very own picture language.
    As well I am not considering my protagonists as a cover or as a clothing rack; I am interested what’s behind the bodies and faces. I am always trying to capture the personality. Therefore, I prefer not to work with professional models because I’m not interested in the perfect model size or posing!
  • Do you follow a life or work motto? Keep on going!
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