The aim of these interviews is to bring into focus young – and not so young sometimes! – talents, to give them importance and relevance and above all explore the new aesthetics arising in the world of photography and art. Johannes Kuczera is a young and talented photgrapher based between Hamburg and Berlin. We met via our respective Instagrams and thought instantly that we could work on an impromptu series of photos. “Gathering friends” is a series of portraits and details you can discover day by day on our Instagram.
The educational system in Europe is still ruled by conservatism and rigidity in many countries, creativity being frowned upon. What is your background?
I was raised in a small town in western Germany and developed an urge to move away at the age of 16 which I then did after graduating from high school. I love the fact that I was raised in a small town but with the interests that I had and this passion in photography/the arts/exploring something else than you already know isn’t going to be satisfied in a smaller town. So I moved away, did an apprenticeship in an advertising agency and now here I am taking photographs.
How old were you when you felt the urge to start shooting?
I started playing around with cameras around 5 years ago and I really liked all the mechanical aspects of cameras and their shutter sounds which is weird I think. I have been taking photography serious for 3 years now.
Are you familiar with other art disciplines?
I have been studying painting at my university for a year now. I am in the very beginning but it had a major impact on me so far both in how I think photography and everything in general towards the arts. It’s very confusing.
Is there a piece of art that made a great impact in your life when you first saw it?
Not a specific piece of art but seeing the contemporary art collection of Frankfurt’s Städel Museum for the first time was very impressive.
In which way or measurement do you feel your environment affects your mood?
As my friends know I think it’s mostly vice versa 😉
You seem naturally inclined to shoot models with peculiar physical features – in opposition with the traditional canons of beauty that governed the fashion world in the last 20 years. What attracts you in a model?
I’m kind of observing my surroundings all the time. Actually, I enjoy spotting different kinds of people for example the people who walk around campus – there are so many and so many different kinds of people who are interesting or you can find beauty in. The people I photograph at the moment are mostly friends cause there is a personal connection and I like they way they look or could be shown in a photograph. When it comes to castings in general I think there has to be a “click” moment. Speaking of certain models I like the piercing look/eyes of Jonas Gloer and the calm presence of Lina Hoss.
How would you describe your ideal photo to shoot? Show us the photography you are most proud until now.
I like this pair of portrait and TV the simplicity it embodies is something that really gets to me. Somehow I feel these two are lasting to me personally.
Have you been influenced by the work of another photographer?
I have had an obsession with the work of Juergen Teller ever since I first saw it in a book way back. I love his approach to (fashion) photography and the way he values things (in a photograph) the mixture or let’s say bandwidth of what his work is made of impresses me all the time. He’s in the business for decades now and always is reinventing his self over and over again both in the arts but also in commerce. That’s quality.
Being young and having a great discourse within your art doesn’t seem to be impressive anymore. Do you feel like young artists like yourself are more likely to innovate (if there’s such thing in art)?
I think they most likely are because you could say the young people are defining the future but in general I think everything has been done before and “to innovate” is really hard (which to be honest doesn’t have to be a bad thing). I remember a friend of mine showing me all his contact sheets with loads of great photographs when we sat down having a proper discussion about it a couple of months back. He then started to complain about that this or that photograph looks like taken from this or that famous photographer. Who cares? It’s yours so cherish it (and!) there is always a personal note in every photograph someone takes and thats what makes photography interesting, isn’t it?
what would you do if you had five minutes left to live?
That’s hard to say I think I would actually call the people I love saying goodbye.
texture or color?
date of birth
café in Berlin
When I’m around in Berlin I enjoy having a walk with friends and any random coffee. I like the fact that you could have the worst coffee ever but it can be connected with a great experience or memory, that’s actually the best.
Hanno Rauterberg: Die Kunst und das gute Leben – Über die Ethik der Ästhetik
James Blake – Overgrown
my grandma’s potato salad