Ulrich Hartmann Berlin, Germany
Ulrich Hartmann was born in Hildburghausen/Thuringia in 1978. Interested in visual arts and painting from an early age, he did an apprenticeship as a media designer and art director, and since then took his passion to the next level by diligently studying the art of photography and honing his creative eye.
Starting in 2002 he has been featured in numerous exhibitions and received various photography awards. He was further admitted to the „Verband Bildender Künstler Thüringen“ (Association of visual artists of Thuringia).
Moving to Berlin in 2006, he opened a photo studio and quickly established himself as a fashion and beauty photographer. Currently, Ulrich works for a many well-known customers and executes campaigns worldwide.
Ulrich Hartmann was chosen by photographer Doreen Schwarz.
Laatikkomo’s interview with Ulrich Hartmann March 5th, 2015.
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
UH: I was born an raised in Thuringia, in the “green heart” of Germany. At age 16 I moved to Bavaria to start an apprenticeship. I loved it there, but at the age of 23/24 it was more than obvious that I needed to move to the capital. Berlin is creative, lively and provides a vast variety of influences from fashion, music and culture. Also I love Capetown, where I have been living for a while too.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
UH: My father used to have his own darkroom and when I was a child it, was very exciting for me to see how he would take a picture of me and then bring it to life by development and exposure. Nevertheless I didn’t want to be a photographer back then. That only became apparent a lot later.
L: What traits from your cultural history do you think are apparent in the photographs you currently make, or are they?
UH: I don ́t think they influenced me that much. So I would tend to say almost none.
L: On your website, you have divided your photos in four section: Fashion, Beauty, Advertising, Portrait. All of these categories deal with people through theme/subject/object… Which one of these is your favourite sector, and why?
UH: I really cannot point out a favourite sector as they are all important to me. I think I just love to work with people in general. On one side I want to picture how I see them, in their natural way of beauty. On the other side I also enjoy to transform them, use their beauty to built a story around it and let them appear as someone new. That’s one reason why I like fashion photography the most.
L: Can you give us your personal definition of beauty?
UH: For me, beauty is everywhere even if it’s not obvious at first sight. And it’s mostly about how you feel, not how you look.
L: As a photographer how would you personally explain fashion and its relationship to advertising?
UH: Fashion can make or brake an advertisement. If you choose the wrong styling, your image might be photographed amazingly, however it would not work. Nevertheless we shouldn’t take fashion too seriously – it’s supposed to be fun and enrich and colour everyday life.
L: Many of your projects are staged scenes; posed or carefully directed images, and others seem to be more formal compositions of different geometric planes; of light and dark forms. What do you look for first when you begin composing an image?
UH: Prior to a shooting I compose an image structure, make scribbles, plan the light setting and props. I search for suitable locations and models, discuss the looks and possible variations with makeup artists and stylists. Together we compile new ideas and work as a team to create the final image. Often during the shoot I get really close to my original ideas, however sometimes it just doesn’t work out as I imagined and then I toss everything and create something completely new in the process.
L: Could you list 5 (or more) words you were thinking about when you made this series (shown in Laatikkomo)?
black vs. red
Thank you so much Ulrich!