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INTERVIEWS

ND MAGAZINE, 2017

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
MY NAME IS PATRICK EMS, BORN IN OCTOBER 1980 AND LIVING IN SWITZERLAND. OVER THE LAST TWENTY YEARS I'VE BECOME A PASSIONATE FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER AND DEVELOPED MY VISION TOWARDS A MINIMALISTIC MONOCHROME STYLE. I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A VERY SUBTLE TOOL OF COMMUNICATION, A POSSIBILITY OF AWAKING SENSATIONS AND SENTIMENTS WITHOUT USING A SINGLE WORD.
HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY
THE INTEREST IN VISUAL ART OR ART IN GENERAL IS DIRECTLY COUPLED WITH MY EDUCATION. MY PARENTS LOVED TO DRAG ME IN VARIOUS STYLES OF ART GALLERIES, REGARDLESS IF CLASSIC OR MODERN ART. LOOKING BACK, THESE INFLUENCES HAD FOR SURE A FORMATIVE EFFECT ON MY VISUAL PERCEPTION FOR WHICH I AM VERY THANKFUL. I REMEMBER SINCE CHILDHOOD THAT I LOVED TO COMB THROUGH BOOKS WITH LOTS OF PHOTOS AND GRAPHICAL VISUALIZATIONS. THERE ARE IMAGES I HAD SEEN AS A VERY YOUNG CHILD, HAVING SUCH A VISUAL AND EMOTIONAL EFFECT ON ME, FOR WHICH I COULD PRECISELY DESCRIBE ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DETAIL. LATER ON AS A TEENAGER, I GOT ACCESS TO MY PARENT'S PHOTO CAMERAS, FIRST A KODAK INSTAMATIC AND LATER ON A CANON SLR. THEN IN MY EARLY TWENTIES THE PASSION OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTO EDITING IN A DIGITAL MANNER WAS GROWING AND I'VE STARTED TO INVEST TO GET MY OWN CAMERA SYSTEM. THIS IS THE POINT WHERE THE STORY BEGAN.
DO YOU HAVE AN ARTISTIC/PHOTOGRAPHIC BACKGROUND?
FROM A FORMAL POINT OF VIEW, NOT AT ALL AND TO BE HONEST AND I AM HAPPY ABOUT IT. SINCE PHOTOGRAPHY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PASSION, FREE FROM ANY CONSTRAINT OR OBLIGATION, I WAS ABLE TO DEVELOP MY PERSONAL STYLE. FOR SURE THERE IS NOT A SINGLE DAY, I AM NOT LOOKING AND ANALYSING THE WORK OF OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS. WITH ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OF SOCIAL NETWORKS OR ONLINE GALLERIES, THIS HAS BECOME A RITUAL OF MY DAILY LIFE. I CLAIM THAT THE EXCHANGE WITH OTHER ARTISTS IS AN INTEGRAL PART IN ORDER TO EVOLVE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE AND TECHNIQUES.
WHICH ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHER INSPIRED YOUR ART?
IT IS REALLY HARD TO NAME SPECIFIC ARTISTS, SINCE THE LIST WOULD BE ENDLESS. TO START FROM A NON-PHOTOGRAPHIC POINT OF VIEW, TRADITIONAL JAPANESE PAINTING HAS FOR SURE ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT SOURCE OF INSPIRATION. INFLUENCED BY MANY YEARS OF ASIAN MARTIAL ARTS AND THEREFORE HAVING THE CHANCE OF A SMALL INSIGHT INTO ASIAN PHILOSOPHY, I DEVELOPED A FASCINATION IN JAPANESE PAINTING AND DESIGN, WHERE REDUCTION AND SIMPLIFICATION DOWN TO THE ESSENCE PLAYS A CRUCIAL ROLE. THEREFORE I HAVE TO NAME HIROSHI SUGIMOTO, ESPECIALLY REGARDING HIS SEASCAPES PHOTO SERIES, WHICH MIGHT BE THE MOST INSPIRING PHOTOGRAPHICAL WORK FOR ME I'VE SEEN SO FAR. THE SECOND ARTIST AND GREAT SOURCE OF INSPIRATION TO BE MENTIONED IS MICHAEL KENNA. I TRULY ADMIRE HIS DISTINCT, MINIMALISTIC, MONOCHROMATIC WAY HE PERCEIVES THE WORLD.
HOW MUCH PREPARATION DO YOU PUT INTO TAKING A PHOTOGRAPH?
PREPARATION IS CRUCIAL TO ME AND CONSISTS OF TWO ASPECTS. WHEN GOING TO SHOOT IN AN AREA WHICH IS NEW FOR ME, I NEED TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE CONDITIONS REGARDING TOPOLOGY, CLIMATE, WEATHER, SUNRISE, SUNSET, TIDE TIMES AND SO ONE. SINCE TIME FOR SHOOTING, ESPECIALLY WHEN USING LONG EXPOSURE TECHNIQUES, TIME IS VERY LIMITED, SO YOU NEED TO GET THE BEST OUT OF IT. IT'S ABOUT QUALITY AND NOT QUANTITY! THE SECOND ASPECT IS READY-TO-SHOT EQUIPMENT, MEANING THAT I ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO HAVE PROPERLY CLEANED LENSES AND FILTERS. SINCE I LOVE TO SHOOT IN ROUGH AND RAPIDLY CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS, SPEED AND THE AWARENESS WHAT AND HOW I AM GOING TO SHOOT MY SUBJECT IS VERY IMPORTANT. AS IMPORTANT PREPARATION MIGHT BE, EVERY MOMENT IN TIME WILL ALWAYS BE UNPREDICTABLE, ESPECIALLY IN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY. THIS MEANS, AS A PHOTOGRAPHER YOU ALWAYS NEED TO LEAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR SPONTANEITY AND THE ABILITY TO SHIFT THE SCOPE APPROPRIATELY. TO LET THE THINGS HAPPEN PAIRED WITH THE ABILITY TO EXTRACT THE ESSENCE OF SUCH A MOMENT IS FOR ME THE KEY INGREDIENT TO GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY.
WHICH PLACES HAVE BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE SHOOTING SITES SO FAR AND WHY?
IN GENERAL I PREFER TO SHOOT DURING AUTUMN AND WINTER. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE COMBINATION OF BEING IN THE RIGHT MOOD TO SHOOT AND TO HAVE THE LIGHT CONDITIONS I NEED RESPECTIVELY I AM LOOKING FOR. I FEEL HIGHLY ATTRACTED BY ABANDONED AND LONELY PLACES, FAR AWAY FROM HUMAN INTERFERENCE. COMBINED WITH HARSH WEATHER CONDITIONS I GET IN THE RIGHT MOOD TO COME DOWN AND START TO SEE THE PURITY AND THE BEAUTY OF NATURE. SO FAR MY FAVOURITE PLACE IS THE ISLE OF SKYE IN SCOTLAND END OF AUTUMN, A PERFECT SYMBIOSIS OF NATURE'S ARCHAIC POWER AND INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL AND WILD SCENERY.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR LIFE BESIDES PHOTOGRAPHY? (HOBBY, OTHER JOB, ETC...)
MY BEAUTIFUL PARTNER CONNY PLAYS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN MY LIFE, GIVING ALL THE LOVE AND SUPPORT I NEED TO OPEN THE ROOM FOR EVOLVING MY PHOTOGRAPHIC VISION AND SKILLS. FROM A PROFESSIONAL POINT OF VIEW I AM WORKING IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS. THIS MIGHT BE THE REASON FOR MY ANALYTICAL APPROACH TO THE SUBJECT OF PHOTOGRAPHY WHEN LOOKING AT IMAGES FROM OTHER ARTISTS. STUDYING OTHERS' WORK HAS BECOME AN INTEGRAL PART OF MY DAILY LIFE IN ORDER TO TRAIN MY VISUAL PERCEPTION AND TO GET THE RIGHT DOSE OF INSPIRATION.
WHAT FUTURE PLANS DO YOU HAVE? WHAT PROJECTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH?
ON A LONG-TERM VIEW I WANT TO MOVE FORWARD TOWARDS A MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA SYSTEM. THE GOAL IS TO OPEN THE POSSIBILITY FOR PRODUCING LARGE SCALE PRINTS. DUE TO THE COSTS, THIS WILL HARDLY COME TRUE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. ON A SHORT-TERM VIEW I AM PLANNING AN ICELAND TRIP WITH MY COLLEAGUE AUTUMN 2017. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO COME BACK WITH DIFFERENT PHOTOS THAN THE USUAL HOT-SPOT SHOTS. THEREFORE WE AIM FOR REGIONS WHERE PHOTOGRAPHERS RARELY GO. BESIDE THIS, I STILL DREAM TO PRESENT MY WORK IN AN EXHIBITION. SO FAR I NEVER DID AND IT WOULD BE GREAT TO SEE THE DIFFERENT REACTIONS. WE'LL SEE WHAT THE FUTURE BRINGS…