Long Exposure Photography Interview #12: Stephanie Loges

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Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

This article is part of a series of interviews with long exposure photographers to celebrate the release of my ebook Slow. You can keep track of the interviews by clicking on the Long Exposure Photography Interviews link under Categories in the right-hand sidebar.

 

Stephanie Loges is a German photographer. A photographer for most of her life, she became serious about it in 2008 after taking some photos for a magazine she edited. She seeks to elicit an emotional response with her images, and uses black and white, minimalist composition and long exposure photography to do so.

Interview

How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of look do you try and create in your photos?

Tough question! I am not sure if I have a designated photographic vision. I am searching for a certain look inside my images, conducted by my minds eye, which is dependent on my daily thoughts and feelings. I am a mentally restrained person, which has a large influence in my images. For that reason I am always looking for a “safe frame” (not sure if that sounds right) in which I can move, in search of clarity and the essentials of a subject. Nothing should distract my eye or I feel lost in chaos. It’s like a search for myself, to understand what makes me, why it made me who am I and why I am what I am. A search for my essentials. Only people who know me in person understand or may understand that. The whole photography process is a pure emotional thing for me.

Name three photographers you like and why.

Andrew J. Lee – For his thought provoking third world people photography and his awesome eye for compositions in long exposure photography. A master of trees.

Keith Aggett – For his brilliant long exposure fine art work. Minimalistic seascapes at its best. If someone comes close to what I have in mind how to convey a certain feeling, then it is Keith!

Nathan Wirth – For his poetry, his art of humour and his inspirational photography. I am so in love with his infra-red images, the trees, the rocks and the buddha. If there is zen, then Nathan is zen!

These three guys greatly influenced my work and I am so thankful to know them! I could have named many many more and hope that those who I did not mention feel offended.

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Long exposure photography – what’s the attraction and why do you do it?

For several reasons:

1. I can shoot in daylight situation, even on a bright sunny day.

2. I have never been a point and shoot photographer. I need time to think about what I do.

3. Control!! I gain full control over the light.

4. I came from painting and drawing and was tired of it. The long exposure effect comes very close to what I have painted and drawn. It allows me to isolate the subject from all the distracting things in the world. It makes things stand out, underlining the shape, structure and light of a given subject. It makes things visible which I never would see the “normal” way. “Seeing the invisible”, by the way, was the motto of my first exhibition.

Why black and white? What’s the appeal?

For the same reason as above. Black and white allows me to see the essentials of the object. I gain full control (seems to be the most important thing in my life anyway) in post-production. Before I started shooting digital, I used film and it was so much easier to develop black and white film than colour. Even my painting and drawing I did in monochrome with either charcoal or mono watercolour. I simply think that I don’t have a good eye for colour, although I love to look at other people’s work a lot.

There are a lot of seascapes in your portfolio. What is the attraction of the sea for you as a subject? What is your favourite place to take long exposure photos?

First, I was born and raised on the Baltic Sea coast. I’ve been there as a kid almost every day, sailing along the coast up and down. But that may not be the main reason. The sea itself never is the main subject I am looking for. It is the whole environment the sea serves and the way subjects are embedded there. It is quite unique and helps the minimalistic style I am looking for. And in the end I find the stillness, the solitude, the nature and myself along of thousand miles of coasts.

My favourite place most probably is St. Peter-Ording Beach at the German North Sea Coast. Once the season is over and the tourists are gone, I find almost everything here. A very unique place here with it’s stilt houses, jetties, marks and lighthouses. A small paradise for every photographer, be it long exposure or not. But it could be any other place as well. Especially these days, when we are connected through social media, we see thousands of photographs each and every day from various places around the world. And there seems to be so so many places I definitely want to go and shoot.

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

You also have a lot of architectural photos. How does photographing buildings differ from the landscape? In what ways is it similar?

A lot? I wish I could do more! The work of a wonderful architect and great photographer, Julia-Anna Gospodarou (check out her series “Like a harp’s string”), inspired me to take architectural images. The clearness and (almost) perfect lines, shapes, proportion and geometry, which I miss sometimes in my seascape photography, are what I look for in architecture. The interaction of light and how these different proportions working together makes it so straightforward, and completely different to seascapes.

The post-processing of architectural images is fun pure to me. I like how I can gain control over almost every single part of the image and adjust the contrast to my desire. The similarity is more on the technical, the photography side, as I can use the same long exposure techniques here, especially for a more fetching sky. Unfortunately we don’t have any remarkable architecture up here, the down side of living in the back-country. But Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen and some other major capitals are not so far away. So expect some more from me in the future .

I believe you live in Germany. Can you recommend some good locations for long exposure photography to photographers who are not familiar with your country? Where are your favourite places to take photos?

Yes I am from Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost part of the country and very close to Denmark. We are surrounded by the Baltic and the North Sea. Plenty of options to choose from. But there are quite some “really” good locations I would recommend to everyone visiting us up here. I already mentioned St. Peter-Ording Beach and Westerhever Lighthouse. Then there is Sylt, the most northern Island of Germany. A place where usually the high society of Germany resides. But when the tourists are gone, Sylt turns into a paradise. Choose from five Lighthouses, several groyne fields, ship wrecks and other delightful long exposure subjects. Also the Kiel Canal delivers some fantastic objects to pick from. I really recommend using Google Earth and get inspired by Flickr before you make a plan. Even if we are a very small country, there is about 1,000 kilometres of coastline.

How important is light in your imagery? What types of light do you prefer for long exposure photography?

Photography is all about light. It sounds obvious and we all know that. But it’s not that easy. As I said earlier, the advantage of long exposure is the ability to shoot in daylight situations and the fact that it will give you way more control over the light. The Zone System developed by Ansel Adams can easily be adopted to digital photography. That helped me a lot to control the light in a certain way. For the quality of light I try to avoid direct sunlight and prefer twilight. This can either be sunset (rather not as I am a late riser), or sunrise or cloudy days.

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

There is a strong design element in your compositions – an awareness of geometry, graphic design and negative space. Do you agree? How would you sum up your approach to composition?

Yes I agree. I think that the design element is just a remnant of my past when I drew a lot and limited myself to keep everything as simple as possible. It is nothing I do intentionally, it happens, but I also know how it supports my images.

You crop some of your photos to the square format. Why do you do this and how does it affect the composition? How important is aspect ratio for you?

Extremely important! It´s either the square or double square (panorama – two squares together). I’ve found out that only the one or other will work with my images, most probably because I look in square when I compose my images. So it does not affect the composition, but the composition affects the crop. The double square gives plenty of room for negative space. I know, that both formats costs a lot of pixels, but pixels are not the all and everything, especially not in my photography. The most perfect shape for my eyes is the circle, right after that comes the square, so hopefully that will underline how important that is for me.

Links

Stephanie Loges on Facebook
Stephanie Loges on Google Plus
Stephanie Loges Flickr

Photo Gallery

Here are some more of Stephanie’s photos:

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Long exposure photography by Stephanie Loges

Slow

Slow: The Magic of Long Exposure Photography ebook by Andrew S. Gibson

If you’d like to learn more about long exposure photography, my ebook Slow takes you through the creative possibilities of using slow shutter speeds, from blurring motion with a shutter speed of 1/30 second all the way to long exposure techniques using shutter speeds of five minutes or longer.

 

All photos in this interview are protected by copyright. Please contact the photographer for permission to use in any way.

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3 Responses to “Long Exposure Photography Interview #12: Stephanie Loges”

  1. Nathan Wirth says:

    Stefanie,

    Wonderful to read your thoughts and I am very touched and truly humbled that you mentioned me. I am, of course, a big fan of your work!

    Best, Nathan

  2. Hi Stefanie,
    A great read, it’s nice to see the photographs of other photographers that share the same passion and similar styles, but it’s even better to read what makes them tick.
    All the best

    Mike

  3. Andy Lee says:

    Hey Stefanie,
    Such a great insight into your work my dear! Truly a great read!
    I too like Nathan am humbled and touched for the mention. It’s kinda blown me away a little if the truth be told.
    Also as I’m awaiting the return of my IR converted camera, I will be keeping an even closer eye on your interpretations! 🙂

    Here’s to much success for you in 2013!!

    Andy

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