Bjoern Ahrens is a photographer who tries to find treasures through his particular shoots: actually his photograph develops from the bottom up giving another perspective of architecture. The artist strongly believes that harmony, balance and peacefulness are fundamental elements of symmetry.
HELLO BJOERN! HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY IN THE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY START?
I’ve been interested in photography ever since I was about 9 years old when I got my first pocket camera, and ever since I always had different cameras and loved shooting. Both of my grandfathers were very passionate about photography, I guess it’s in the genes... However, my photography really took off only about three years ago when I switched from a crop-sensor camera to a full-frame digital mirrorless camera. This is when I started taking photography seriously and when my creativity took off, so I consider this my “real” starting point. Before, I was more of a point-and-shoot guy with little artistic effort or technical knowledge.
HAVE YOUR SUBJECTS ALWAYS BEEN ARCHITECTURAL STRUCTURES?
Mostly, yes. Three years ago I started hunting and shooting staircases, which became my main obsession for about a year. I also like to shoot Milky Way landscape photography from time to time, but my focus is definitely on architecture. I have been doing a series on Munich underground stations recently. I also have a strong passion for lookups (i.e. shooting vertically upwards in backyards, churches etc.). You could generally say that I have a passion for symmetry, geometry, forms and lines.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPH DEVELOPS FROM THE BOTTOM UP, HOW DID THIS IDEA COME TO YOUR MIND? I MEAN THERE IS A PARTICULAR MESSAGE TO COMMUNICATE BEHIND YOUR SHOTS?
Looking up is something you normally don’t do when you walk through a city. It is a very unusual view, and there are so many treasures to find in many cities. Backyards, patios or atriums often provide great views when looking up, as there is a lot of symmetry and harmony to be found there. Perfect alignment and position while shooting together with ultra wide angle lenses help to convey this strive for harmony and balance. I think there is a lot of harmony, balance and peacefulness in symmetry.
DO YOUR PHOTOS FOLLOW A PRECISE SCHEME? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO UNDERLINE WHEN YOU REALISE THEM? I MEAN THE DEPTH OR EVEN THE GEOMETRICAL PERFECTION OF THE SHAPES?
It is always up to the subject I want to capture, so there is no universal scheme that can be applied to all of my photos. With lookups, most of the time a central perspective makes sense with all lines leading towards the center. With spiral staircases, there is a lot more to consider, as the geometric form of the spiral changes with every change of perspective.
Portal Minimalistic Bliss
I think my work has an abstract feel to it. I try to create unusual views of architecture, and I strive to create perfection and harmony with my symmetrical images. Thus, post-processing is equally important as the shooting itself. The ultra wide angle lenses I’m using help because the distort the image, creating a lot of depth in the image, which leads to a look that you don’t get to see with your eyes.
IN YOUR INSTAGRAM PROFILE YOU HAVE MANY WONDERFUL SHOTS, DO YOU FOLLOW SOME PARTICULAR SCHEME? BECAUSE THERE IS MANY DIFFERENT SHAPES: SOME CIRCULAR, SOME SQUARED…
I don’t really follow a scheme with regard to my profile. I guess it’s the old hunting and gathering game: whenever I visit a new city, I do a lot of research, especially with regard to staircases and lookups to add to my growing collection.
Some circular lookups gave me the idea to break free from the usual format constraints, like the standard 3:2 ratio or a 1:1 square image, so I started a series of circular images. Photos don’t necessarily need corners 😊
I THINK THAT TO PHOTOGRAPH ARCHITECTURAL STRUCTURE IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN SHOOT PEOPLE OR “LIVING SUBJECT” BECAUSE IS NOT THAT EASY TO CREATE A SENSE OF INVOLVEMENT WITH SOMETHING THAT IS NOT “ANIMATED”, BUT YOU ARE ABLE TO DO THAT. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO GIVE LIKE SOULS TO YOUR FIXED STRUCTURES?
Actually, I find it much easier to shoot inanimate subjects. For me, photography is very meditative, it’s something that helps me regain my inner balance. Hence, I often like to shoot on my own. With architecture, there is no interaction with the subject necessary, it’s just me and the location, and I can take my time without boring anyone 😉. I think the process of giving soul to an image takes place in the post-processing, where I try to give the photos my personal touch. Another secret might be my ultra wide angle lens, which helps created this intense depth, unusual look and dramatic touch to the images.
IN YOUR OPINION HOW ARE YOU DARING WITH YOUR ART?
I try to create unusual and dramatic views of architecture; views that people don’t usually see, images that makes you stop and take your time to explore the image - photos that stand out of your feed and make you stop scrolling.
Also, some locations are not easily publicly accessible, so sometimes I have to be daring to reach the spot that I’m looking for.
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Images provided by Bjoern