July 19, 2023
Photography by Konrad Hellfeuer
Interview by Melanie Meggs
Konrad Hellfeuer is a German freelance artist whose works have a distinctive signature that speaks to the soul. Equally talented in photography and drawing, Konrad's creations are distinguished by their attention to detail, capturing the essence of a moment or subject and showing a keen eye for composition and light. His works are often thought-provoking and evocative, compelling viewers to take a deeper look and appreciate the beauty of his art. Konrad has been passionate about art since childhood and has dedicated the last few years to perfecting his craft, resulting in unique pieces of art that have gained appreciation across the globe. As such, Konrad is a master of his craft, a true artist who is an inspiration to all who come across his work.
We live in a world of constant change, where the old blends seamlessly with the new. Our lives become a mix of tradition and modernity, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed. But amidst all this chaos, we can always find beauty if we take the time to look. Konrad's 'Eternity' series is a stunning reflection of this, capturing a sense of peace and calmness in an unexpected way.
Konrad's photos are not your typical "church photos". Instead of focusing on the bright lights and traditional beauty we have come to expect, Konrad's photos use soft muted tones to create an atmosphere of contemplation. His photos are moody, surreal, and deep. They capture the true essence of the church, offering us a glimpse into something often overlooked.
We can feel the light shining through the stained glass windows, and the intricate details of the architecture. We can almost hear the silence that envelops Konrad when he takes these photos, providing a sense of stillness and calm. Whether you are religious or not, these photos speak to something far deeper than any one belief system. They remind us that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places, allowing us to pause and appreciate what we may have been too busy to notice before.
Konrad's 'Eternity' series provides us with an opportunity to slow down and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of all that surrounds us. As such, it is an important reminder that, even in a world of constant change, we can always find something beautiful if we take the time to look.
My black and white Church series is a reflection of my own personal experiences with religion. The photos are not your typical "church photos". They're not bright, but rather dark and moody. There's something surreal about them that captures the essence of the church in a way that traditional photos cannot.
When I take these photos, I feel a sense of peace and calmness wash over me. It's as if all my doubts and fears disappear for a moment and I'm left with nothing but awe for the beauty that surrounds me. The light shining through the glass windows, the intricate details of the architecture, and the silence that envelops me all contribute to this feeling.
I hope that when people see my Church series, they too can experience this sense of peace and calmness. Whether you're religious or not, there's something powerful about these photos that transcends any one belief system. They remind us that there is beauty in the world around us, even in places we may have overlooked before.
In conclusion, my series is more than just a collection of photos. It's a story about my own personal journey with religion and how photography has helped me find peace within it. I hope that through these photos, others can find their own sense of peace and appreciation for the beauty around them.
IN CONVERSATION WITH KONRAD HELLFEUER
THE PICTORIAL LIST: Hello Konrad, to begin, can you please tell us about yourself. How did you get your start in photography?
KONRAD HELLFEUER: I am a German photographer and draftsman. I was born in a small town in the south of Poland and grew up surrounded by nature, which has always been a great inspiration for my work. Currently, I am based in Görlitz where I continue to pursue my passion for art. As an artist, I believe that true creativity comes from within and should not be limited by any particular style or trend. My work is a reflection of my innermost thoughts and emotions, and I strive to create pieces that evoke powerful feelings in those who view them. Whether it's through photography or drawing, my goal is always to capture the essence of the subject matter and convey it in a way that speaks to the viewer's soul.
As a child, I was always fascinated by the art world. My father worked as a restorer in a museum, and I would often visit him there. It was during these visits that I first became exposed to the beauty of photography. The images on display captivated me, and I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a part of this world.
I started taking pictures with my father's old camera, experimenting with different angles and lighting techniques. As I grew older, my passion for photography only intensified. I decided to pursue it as a career.
Looking back on my journey, I am grateful for those early experiences in the museum. They sparked something within me that has stayed with me ever since. And while it hasn't always been easy, pursuing my passion has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
TPL: When and how did your project first manifest for you? What have you learned from this project that has surprised you?
KH: As I stepped into the church, I was taken by surprise. The beauty of the cupola and the way it was illuminated by the sunlight streaming through the windows, creating beautiful shadows and lights, left me in awe. It made me remember a project I had been thinking about for some time; a project that would bring together art, faith and architecture.
At that moment, I decided to make this project come alive. Little did I know that this project would teach me so much about the power of determination and resilience. As I worked on it day after day, I found myself learning more and more about how to keep going even when faced with obstacles. It was incredible to see how these lessons were revealed to me through art and architecture; something I never expected.
And most importantly, it has taught me that sometimes our greatest accomplishments can come from unexpected moments of inspiration.
TPL: How would you describe your photography in general, and what would you say you are always trying to achieve artistically?
KH: As a photographer, I strive to capture the beauty and uniqueness of the world around me. My work has always been about capturing small details that often go unnoticed. I am obsessed with the play of light and shadow in my photographs, and how these elements can create a powerful image.
Light and shadow are my tools for creating an atmosphere that tells its own story. By carefully controlling the balance between light and dark, I strive to achieve artistic perfection in every photo I take. Each image is composed with a certain level of precision, so that it will have maximum impact on the viewer.
I am passionate about turning ordinary moments into powerful works of art. Whether it's a landscape shot or portrait, my goal is always to capture something special that can leave an emotional impact on others. Artistic perfection means different things to different people, but for me it's finding harmony between all the elements within an image - color, texture, contrast and light - in order to create something truly beautiful and memorable.
TPL: What inspires you? Can you describe how your creative process begins? Do you have any particular habits?
KH: I often find inspiration in films, but I also love to look at illustrated books of all kinds. Sometimes these books can be dark, but that's part of the appeal for me. The process of creating my own art usually starts with an idea or a thought that I want to explore. But as I'm working on it, the piece often takes on a life of its own and goes in a different direction than I originally planned. This is part of the fun of creating art - seeing where the process takes you.
TPL: What kinds of challenges have you faced in your photography? How do you overcome them?
KH: As a photographer, I have faced numerous challenges throughout my career. One of the most significant obstacles I have encountered is finding inspiration and creativity when shooting similar subjects repeatedly. It can be challenging to come up with new ideas and perspectives to keep my work fresh and exciting. However, I have learned to overcome this by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new techniques or experimenting with different angles.
Another challenge that I often face is dealing with difficult lighting situations. Whether it's harsh midday sunlight or low light conditions, lighting can make or break a photo.
Lastly, one of the most significant challenges I face is staying motivated during slow periods or when facing rejection. It can be disheartening when clients don't choose your work or when you're not getting as many bookings as you'd like. However, I remind myself that perseverance is key in this industry. By continuing to improve my skills, networking with other professionals, and staying positive, I know that success will eventually come my way.
TPL: What opportunities has your photography opened up that you hadn’t anticipated?
KH: Photography has opened up some incredible opportunities for me that I hadn’t anticipated. When I first picked up a camera, it was just a fun hobby to pass the time. But little did I know, it would lead me down a path of self-discovery and creative expression. As my passion for photography grew, I started exploring other forms of fine art such as film photography. This allowed me to push my boundaries and find new ways to express myself creatively. Photography has given me the ability to capture moments in time and share them with the world in a way that is uniquely mine. It has taught me to see beauty in everything around me and has allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level.
I am grateful every day for this incredible journey that photography has taken me on and can't wait to see where it will take me next.
TPL: Do you have any favorite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?
KH: I can tell you that Eliot Porter, Ishiuchi Miyako, Takuma Nakahira, and Daido Moriyama are all significant artists and photographers in their own right. Eliot Porter is known for his stunning landscape photography that captures the beauty of nature. Ishiuchi Miyako's work focuses on the memories and emotions associated with clothing and personal items. Takuma Nakahira was a pioneer of Japanese photography's avant-garde movement in the 1960s. And Daido Moriyama is known for his gritty black-and-white street photography that captures the raw energy of urban life. Each artist has their unique style and approach to photography, making them important figures in the world of art and photography. Their works continue to inspire new generations of artists and photographers around the world.
TPL: How do you educate yourself to grow in your photography?
KH: Photography is a never-ending journey of learning and growth. To become a better photographer, one must constantly educate themselves. I believe that there are three key ways to do this: looking at art books, visiting photo exhibitions, and practicing. Art books are an excellent resource for learning about different techniques and styles. They provide inspiration and can help you develop your own unique style. Visiting photo exhibitions is another great way to learn about photography. You can see the work of other photographers, learn about their techniques, and gain new ideas for your own work. Finally, practice is essential for improving your skills. The more you shoot, the more you will learn about lighting, composition, and other important aspects of photography. By combining these three methods of education, you can continue to grow as a photographer and create stunning images that capture the beauty of the world around us.
TPL: What was the first camera you ever held in your hand, brought to eye, and released a shutter on? What do you use now? Do you have your go to settings? Is there any equipment you have on your wishlist?
KH: For me, it was the Olympus 35RC. I remember feeling so excited and empowered by the ability to capture moments and memories with just a click of a button. Today, I use the Sony Alpha a99 and the Sony RX100III. These cameras have allowed me to take my photography to new heights and capture stunning images that I never thought possible.
As for my go-to settings, I always start with aperture priority mode and adjust accordingly based on lighting conditions. And while I'm currently content with my equipment, there are always new tools and gear on my wishlist that would elevate my photography even further. But at the end of the day, it's not about having the latest and greatest gear - it's about having a passion for capturing moments and telling stories through our lenses.
TPL: What are you focusing on right now in your work and photography?
KH: I'm focusing on creating more positive, powerful images in my work and photography. I want to create images that make a difference in the world, and I'm working hard to do that. My goal is to create images that inspire people to be their best selves and to live their lives with purpose.
TPL: What are some of your photography goals?
KH: As a photographer, my goal is to constantly improve my skills and create images that inspire and evoke emotions in others. One of my main goals is to explore new techniques and experiment with different styles of photography. I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and take on challenging projects that will help me grow as an artist.
Another important goal for me is to build a strong portfolio that showcases my best work. I believe that having a well-curated collection of images is essential for any aspiring photographer who wants to make a name for themselves in the industry. I also want to connect with other photographers and creatives, collaborate on projects, and learn from their experiences.
Ultimately, my photography goals are centered around creating meaningful images that tell stories, evoke emotions, and inspire others. Whether it's capturing the beauty of nature or documenting important social issues, I want to use my camera as a tool for positive change in the world.
TPL: “When I am not photographing, I (like to)…
KH: I love to spend time with my family and friends, and when I'm not photographing, I like to read and listen to music. Reading is such a great way to escape into another world for a while, and music can be so relaxing and uplifting. I also love spending time outdoors, whether it's hiking or just walking in the park. There's something so soothing about being surrounded by nature.”
Konrad's 'Eternity' is a breathtaking reminder that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places. It invites us to pause and take the time to appreciate the wonder and magic of the world around us. This invites us to slow down and look for the beauty that is present in our lives. No matter how overwhelming the world may seem, there is beauty to be found if we seek it out. Let us go forth and embrace the beauty in life and take the time to appreciate everything that the world has to offer.