I had the chance to interview one of my favourite photographs, Manuel Estheim, about his work!:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Manuel Estheim, I’m a 21 years old fine art photographer from Linz, Austria. I’m currently doing a 365 project in order to find out who I am as a photographer as well as a human being.
2. Did you/do you study photography or are you self taught?
I’m studying to get a BA in photography (and theoretically graphic design) right now. However, I do still consider myself to be self taught – in order to get into my university I had to pass an exam which required me to already know my craft, at least up to a certain extent. I’m really really thankful for getting introduced to film photography though. And for the amazing other creatives I’ve gotten to know through it.
3. How would you describe your work?
I used to describe it as dark and surreal all the time, but I think this has changed quite a bit. Recently I feel like my work has shifted a lot more towards questions of identity, the human form and light interacting with it. I also think that it has become more intimate.
4. I find that a lot of your work revolves around the human form. What is it about this subject that fascinates you?
This is absolutely correct! I’ve always been fascinated by it. The human form is the most beautiful thing ever and never fails to inspire me. The way that light falls different on bodies when they flex muscles, move, hold or change positions is just incredible to me.
5. You often shoot a lot of one off polaroid’s. How do you think that this affects the way that people look at your work (as opposed to you shooting on a digital camera)?
I’ve dabbled in instant photography for quite some while now, but am definitely not there yet – if you know what I mean. Some months ago I finally tried to get serious with film photography and never looked back since, which doesn’t mean I’ve completely abandoned my digital camera though. I don’t really know if it affects the way people look at my work at all to be honest. I don’t really want it to be about the medium, I just use what I feel is right at the moment and it just happens to be film right now.
6. What would be your dream shoot?
This is really difficult to answer. If you had asked me only two months before I would have told you about me dreaming about creating a huge set, working with models and a big team, but I don’t know if that’s what would make me happy at the moment anymore. But I would really like to start photographing other people than myself and my boyfriend. It’s hard to take intimate photos with a stranger though, at least for me.
7. What is your favourite image you have created and why?
It’s impossible for me to answer that question. I usually have a love/hate relationship with my own work and I feel deeply connected to it, it wouldn’t be right to have a favourite child either, wouldn’t it?
8. Do you think that you have your own style?
Sort of. At the moment I’m constantly torn between feeling that I just repeat myself over and over and over again and feeling like I’m really defining my style.
9. How do you stay inspired to shoot and find new ideas/concepts for your images?
It’s the constant struggle to improve myself and define myself every day that keeps me going.
10. Can anyone be a photographer?
I definitely do think so! People tend to focus way too much on the technical aspect of photography for my taste. This makes it hard for a starting photographer to really get into it because there are people telling you that you need expensive/fancy equipment to be taken seriously all the time. A lot of my recent work is taken with a Point and Shoot camera my parents bought years ago – it can now be had for about 10$. I strongly believe that everyone who is passionate about it can make it happen!
11. Do you think that film photography is a dying art?
I don’t really know. With companies stopping to produce films frequently it would be easy to answer it with a yes, but I also know that there are still a whole lot of people using and loving it.
12. Is there anything you would like to change about the way photography is viewed in today’s society?
A lot of people complain about mobile photography for example, because it’s gotten so good that it’s really hard to distinguish a photo taken with a phone from a photo taken with a several thousands dollar expensive camera and lens combination. I never understood that, I like the idea of everyone being able to chase their dreams and passion without having to spend so much money.
13. Do you have a piece of advice for any aspiring photographers?
A photographer once held a talk at our university and told us that if you love what you’re doing, there’s almost certainly someone else who does as well. I find this to be very true and very inspiring. Also, I don’t believe in talent. At all. If you’re passionate, dedicated and work hard towards your goal, you will be able to achieve at sooner or later!