When we browse through our photos, we always stumble upon gorgeous and atypical pics. This time we could not overlook the special photos of our photographer Kerstin Maier a.k.a. kemai. So we grabbed pen and paper and asked her a few questions. And here are her answers:
Hello Kerstin! Please tell us something about yourself. Who you are and how you started with photography.
I am Kerstin, 40 years old and I live in the countryside somewhere between Stuttgart and Ulm. I actually do not remember how I got started with photography. When I was a child I had, like probably many others, a small pocket camera. But I just took some random pictures every now and then. When I was 18, my mother got married again and her future husband had an analogue Minolta including some lenses. I was asked to take some pictures at the wedding. It was fun - and I took a bunch of photographs. At least that is what I thought... because I forgot to load the film into the camera! Unique moments gone forever :) I am sure that I took a great shot of two little boys... which is now in the category: Photographs that have never been taken :) After that it went slightly uphill with my photography and this kind of mistake only happens once, no matter if the film is not loaded or the memory card not around...
You have been at Photocase since 2007. How did everything start and how do you like it so far?
I am working at points GmbH. That is a small advertising agency in Stuttgart and every now and then we are in need of some photographs for our projects. That is why I registered at Photocase. It took another year till I uploaded some of my pictures. Back then I used some cameras of the agency I worked for. A Nikon D50, D80 and a bit later even a D300. A few month later my first photo got accepted.
Because of Photocase I experienced several beautiful moments. Not only because of photos that got accepted or sold, but also because of the people in the community. Over time some great friendships established.
What does photography mean to you?
Starting with photography was like a revelation to me. Suddenly I was able to use my creative potential. Before I tried to do that with my drawings and paintings, but somehow the results were not satisfying. But photography seemed like a match to me. I got caught by a friend, who was passing in her car, while I was crawling along a field, trying to make shots of wasps buzzing round some rotten apples. It was quite a laughter and it actually still is for me and my friends. But the most beautiful thing ist, that in the meantime everybody respects my photography. The recognition of what I am doing is quite important to me.
In your portfolio you take us to different destinations. Which part takes travelling in your life?
Most of the time I am not far away as going to nearby places means already a kind of journey to me. Freedom is an important theme in my photography. No matter if it shows landscapes or couples. When I shot people I try to make them aware of their own freedom. The freedom of expressing emotions or feeling love. Landscapes have simply a wide space that causes the feeling of freedom. I love lonely places or to be on the road early in the morning when nobody else is around. At this very moment I am sitting on a hill. I watch the sunset and observe some swallows above in the sky. I listen to the wind, have a zip of my beer and every now and then I take a photo. The wind freshens up and the grills chirp. All of this is a way of traveling to me.
The land of my dreams is Great-Britain. I haven been to many places in England, to some in Ireland and for a short stay I have been to Wales. Scotland is still on my list. Probably there I will sit somewhere and enjoy to the moment of being too. I will continue my journey and come back home. That is one of the main reasons for me to travel. To be back home is wonderful. Sometimes I even thought, that this would be the only reason for me to travel.
In many of your photographs you play with light and use soft, rather cool colors. Because of that your pictures diffuse a striking silence. Is there a certain feeling that you want to communicate?
That is a nice question. I am quite happy that the silence is visible in my photos as this is what I actually feel when taking them. Apparently I am on the right track! I also want to communicate the feeling of pausing for a moment, being aware of the here and now and as I already mentioned before the freedom and the feeling of coming back home.
You take photographs of landscapes as well as of people and animals. What is your favorite subject and please explain why.
Animals are rather 'on the side' I guess. :) Every time that my cat is just laying there, being lazy, I have to grab my camera and push the button. I think that my favorite combination is, when I can combine people with nature and even the light fits. To be honest I like it the best to be with my camera alone in the nature, having enough time to enjoy and photograph the landscape. Besides that I find freedom and peace in my landscape photography.
Who or what does inspire you?
For me it's a big inspiration to be on the road, to see things and to collect impressions. I love the little things in life and unexpected situations which will stay with you throughout the day. Even if it is just a small flower, a song or the smile of a stranger. Next to that the work of other photographers or images that I find in the internet are a big source of inspiration for me.
What camera do you use to take your photos?
I shoot either with a Nikon DF or a Nikon D700. Although the second one is quite old, I would never replace this camera. Not at least I love the DF because of the great sound of the shutter release button. It is such a solid "Schnock" :) Both have just 12 megapixel, but that is enough for me. I also have an old Ricoh GRD, which I used recently. Every now and then also shot with my analogue Nikon F80.
Thank you very much for the interview, dear Kerstin!