Can you tell us a little about yourself?
First of all, I want to say thank you for that interview. It´s always an honor for me to publish my ideas and works for Dodho-Magazine.
My name is Ronny Behnert, photographer based in Berlin. I was was born in Luckenwalde, a small city in the south of Berlin, Germany. Since 1989 I am living and working in Berlin but during this time I had my second home in Frankfurt am Main and on the island of Sylt too, where I spent two years. I have been actively working on photography since January 2007 and founded in 2010 my project “Håggard Photography”. Meanwhile I am working for various newspapers and magazines.
How did you get interested in photography?
I always was an optical person and started drawing comics when I was younger, but one day I stopped and never continued drawing and painting. After a few years I borrowed a pocket-camera of a friend of mine and went through Berlin where I took my first photos. That’s how I started to develop a new passion in my life.
Have any artist/photographer inspired your art?
I would say many photographers inspired myself, but Josef Hoflehner, Michael Levin, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Irene Kung inspired me most. I adore their creative and personal view on our planet, and I awalys felt their passion for photography when I visited their exhibitions.
Could you please tell us anything about your technique and creating process?
I mostly do long exposure photography in Black & White and I always try to develop my style. In general I try to take my photos in a very neutral light during a dark and cloudy day, so I can set the light in my photos as I like it. I work with different cameras, digital and traditional. Most of the time I work with my digital camera to implement my ideas, which is much more interesting with a digital file. Sometimes, if I want to take my photos in a traditional style and I have enough time, I use my old Kiev 88 or my Polaroid-Camera. If I have a bigger collection of my polaroids, I wold love to exhibit them, to surprise the viewer with a completely new style of “Håggard Photography”. The post-processing is a time-consuming process, because I try to separate different parts of my photo to work on it on a selected level. I always print my photos on Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl, one of the finest papers, which is available. It´s a very strong and exquisite, high-end product in pure white with an elegant pearl gloss. I mostly offer open editied prints. Only a few selected photos, which means a lot for me and my passion, are available in a special limited edition.
Describe your ideal photographic situation
Cloudy and dark skies in a neutral light and “bad” weather” is my prefered weather situation. I love rainy and foggy situations too and like to work with all that dust and structures in the clouds.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photo?
Depends on where I am or which city I will visit. In my hometown Berlin, I am waiting a long time to get the perfect light and weather to shoot. I have the possibility to wait, so I can create a photo as I want to show it. When I visit an unknown city, I just choose the places in a tourist guide, which I want to shoot, hope that the weather is good enough and try to give my best to take the photo. In general I am very relaxed in other cities so take photos even when the light isnt that perfect.
What’s your useable-to-unusable ratio when you review images from a shoot?
Just my feeling decides if I should use a photo or if I don´t want to work on it. It has to touch me and my interests when I watch at it on my computer screen.
Sometimes I start working on a photo, and after a view hours I stop with the process and start working on another photo, because I don´t feel that it´s getting a good photo if I continue creating that photo. After a while I can restart or continue to work on it with some new ideas.
What quick advice do you have for someone who wants to improve his or her photography skills?
I can say that I always took photos as often as I was able too. Practicing photography with all your passion all the time is the best way to find your own style. It´s important that the viewer of your photo recognize, that one special photographer took this photos, even if the viewer doesn´t read the name of the artist before.
From time to time many photographers find themselves in a creative rut or uninspired to shoot. Does this ever happen to you and if so how do you overcome these phases?
Of course that happened to me too. I think it´s a normal process in every photographer´s life and it´s useful to find your own style. I never have a problem when I am uninspired and always wait until the time is over and I am in the mood again to start a new project or something else.
When I have to do my job it´s different. I have to do my job in a limited time! Sometimes it´s really difficult to stay creative all the time, but on the other hand it´s a job, so it´s easier.
What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
At the moment I have two special projects in my mind. The first series will show some morbid photographs in Berlin and for the second series I have to work in different landscapes, to create my vision of a kind of romantic landscape as I see it. In both series I will work with long exposures, but I don’t want to reveal too much. [Official Website]
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