Gus Woltmann Q&A
Q. What inspires you to take pictures?
A. Everything around me is always inspiring. I feel like life is one big photo just ready to be taken. Everything that you come across in daily life may be normal to you, but it is special to me. Every part of it is unique as life's own work of art. This twists my arm to understand it before the moment disappears anywhere. That is a photographer's greatest struggle: every single moment is precious and we simply cannot capture everything, no matter how hard we try. I can get inspired by anything. Art is something that I am in love with, in any form. I must say, music, paintings and even nature are an inspiration for me.
Q. How did you learn to create influential pictures?
A. I have been very lucky to catch unique moments of life, whether they come through people, places or sunsets. The camera has always been in my hands, and this induced me to capture everything, and capture it in the best way I could. Ever since I learned graphic design, I found it interesting and thought-provoking to recreate and manipulate the pictures. As I said before, art is very fascinating to me. It clicks with my passion. I find retouching my images an extremely artistic and creative process. Bringing everything to life is my profession and my one true love, and the retouching of the images simply adds to the reality of them as I make sure nothing appears illusory.
Q. I want to become a photographer. Do you have any advice for me?
A. A photographer may be born ready, but many become one as well. You need to become one with your camera and become one, same with the photo, you need to understand what is going on and live it all as if itâ€™s yours. Trying and not giving up is the first and most timeless mantra to succeed in any field, and photography is no exception. You may fail at it once or twice, maybe, but with the lessons learned from that you will put together an improved result in the third attempt. A good place to start is looking for online tutorials. There are many good ones out there, including free ones and others which charge. See this as an investment, not an expense. After all, your passion demands it. Nevertheless, you can start with a camera that fits your budget. The most important thing is to just keep shooting photos. Shoot what you see, shoot what stirs your imagination and shoot what is all around you, whenever you see it.
Q. How do you create a picture?
A. Generally speaking, I divide the process of photography into three distinct sections: planning or sketching the idea, shooting the material and finally integrating the pictures. Go to a place that fits your vision of the final picture and shoot what you want and need. I love keeping my photos original, and synthesise my own ideas directly as a series of pictures, so I take plenty and then I go through killing my darlings by removing the ones that I do not need. It is a hard process, but it must be done. Once I have the photos ready, I put the collection together, an original Gus Woltmann. Piece of cake!
Q. How long do you take to create a picture?
A. My turnaround varies from work to work. However, I try my best to complete pieces within a few weeks from the beginning of the project. But of course some projects require much more time and the customer is aware of that, sometimes people place orders far ahead like for some winter holidays and of course I canâ€™t really shoot them when the sun is out and bright.
Q. Do you allow me to use your existing pictures for my book or anything else?
A. That would be a big â€˜NOâ€™ from me. As an artist, I do not encourage or allow the use of my own art for personal benefit. Nevertheless, if you would like me to create something new for you I do accept commissioned projects for which you can feel free to contact me at any time at email@example.com. I will gladly shoot something exclusive for your book, but do not use my existing work under any circumstance â€“ I will always find out.
Q. Do you provide signed prints of your work?
A. That depends. You can email me and I will let you know if I am able to provide signed prints to you.
Q. Do you work part time/full time?
A. I work full time on my commissioned projects as they are by and large my bread and butter. That being said I always try to dedicate enough time to my personal work too. Just like any artist, a photographer needs personal growth and that is when I do work for myself, which I end up selling. I never stop working though â€“ even when I am on holiday I see it as another chance to grow.
Q. What else do you do other than photography? Any free time activities you like?
A. While it is hardly a hobby, I make sure to exercise every morning for half an hour. This is my way of starting my day productively. It always keeps me in shape, as sometimes I need to go on very long hikes or adventures to make sure that I capture the perfect photo and just like untouched places are beautiful, so are the modified by mankind. Besides that, if I have the time I love exploring new places and connecting with my friends. Because I travel a lot, I have gathered enough friends from all over the world, photographers and not. But that does not mean that I do not enjoy solitude: being alone is special to me and that is when I create most of my personal projects. Listening to music and drawing are also among my favourite pastime activities, and I try to tie them into my photography when possible. Drawing was my first passion before taking photos as it is more common to give a child a pencil, rather than a camera but that was soon changed, but capturing the world through a pencil is my lover, if you must, while photography is my life-long true love.