JRP: Photographer Oliver Blum and his fascinating architectural and landscape images are the focus of this year ending segment of JRP Blog. Thanks Oliver for sharing your time and images with our readers.
Oliver Blum: Thank you James, it’s a pleasure for me trying to find answers to the questions at your inspiring blog.
JRP: Where do you call home and how did you get your start in photography? Is there any formal training in your background?
Oliver Blum: Presently I am based out of Frankfurt Germany. I travel so much that sometimes I feel my home is where my computers are or wherever my creative energies are focused. I feel at home wherever I go and you might say I am an earthling and earth is my home.
As a little boy I was fascinated with optics and you might find me looking at life through a magnifying glass or microscope. I bought my first camera, a Minolta SLR at the age of 14 and my Beaulieu Super 8 motion picture camera at 16. I later assisted an advertising photographer and learned the ropes of studio and location photography. I also worked in extensively in video and in editing of motion pictures. Later I studied stage direction at acting school. I directed and produced theatre for 16 years before I came back to my roots in 2008 and became passionately involved in motion picture photography, and still photography.
JRP: Do you have a support staff or is everything handled by you?
Oliver Blum: As a still photographer I work alone, free of distractions and schedules. Much of my work is shot between 12 and 5 AM when I find the serenity and solitude to be creatively inspiring.
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment do you favor and why if it is needed?
Oliver Blum: I work with a Canon 5D Mark II and my optical equipment includes three lenses: EF 17-40/4 L USM, EF 24-105/4.0 L IS USM and a TS-E 24/3.5. I carry a rather lightweight vintage wooden Berlebach Tripod with a Manfrotto bullhead. I also use a Palm Treo 680 for remote control while bracketing on multiple exposures.
Though I principally use natural and available light I sometimes use a Speedlight 430EX for portraits and illuminating the edges of a scene.
JRP: Please describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?
Oliver Blum: I use Canon DPP software to convert RAW files to TIFF files. Then I stack the images (3 or more) in Photoshop, combining them to work out the shadows and highlights. The last step is fine tuning in Camera-RAW, archiving in Lightroom.
JRP: Do you personally print your images?
Oliver Blum: No, I make an inkjet work print to live with for a while and if it continues to inspire then I hire a local company in Frankfurt specializing in photographic printing to make my final exhibition quality prints.
JRP: With today’s economic conditions tell us how you keep productive and retain your creative edge.
Oliver Blum: The changing economic conditions of our times haven’t affected my creative output. I have a consistent editorial and private market for my work.
JRP: Do you have a memorable shoot you could share with us? What made those images or the shoot special?
Oliver Blum: Almost every shoot is memorable. Some are perhaps more pleasurable like my photo safaris to the South West U.S., and the region around Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Oliver Blum: To build powerful foregrounds and to visually arrange the components of my compositions to work together and in harmony.
JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Oliver Blum: Follow your own intuitive instincts. Liberate yourself from preconceptions, and walk the creative path that your heart tells you is right. Create your own style and fearlessly but respectfully approach your subjects with wonder and curiosity.
JRP: Thank you Oliver for taking the time to share your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure.
Oliver Blum: Thank you James to perceive the photographs at my website. It is an honor for me.
JRP: To view more of Oliver Blum’s photography please follow these links:
Overview + Gallery: http://www.oliverblum.com
News + upcoming Projects: http://www.oliverblum.org