THOMAS HAUSER IS A GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHER KNOWN FOR HIS SERIES OF STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF FLOWERS AND WOMEN. DISCOVER THE INTERVIEW ON REDMILK.
Tell us something about your artistic background.
I made an education as a stained glass artist before I went to art school to study painting. I finished a number of corporate art projects – a church, a school and a cemetery chapel, etc. But after moving to Berlin I focused exclusively on painting for quite a while. After abstract beginnings, my artistic development as a painter brought me very soon to photographic subjects, which I transferred into paintings. For these paintings I used imagery which I found in newspapers, magazines and later on the internet. Then, one day, I decided to take my own photographs to use for my paintings and from that very first attempt I never touched a brush or a canvas again. I still can not answer why it took me so long to find a medium that completely satisfies me. No, ALMOST completely satisfies me.
What made you to look at the world through the photographic lens?
The fact that I could not exactly find what I was looking for!
Why do you choose the female subjects and why do you prefer black & white?
Women and girls are my favorite motives as a photographer. I find them very fascinating. As an artist I can’t and I don’t have to explain this. For years now, I prefer to take pictures of girls/women in the age of 18 to 25. In this age girls are sometimes already young women and vise versa young women are still girls. I am interested in states of undecidedness and transience. This is exactly what I am trying to capture in my works – in portraits as well as in still life’s. Time plays a big role in my work. I have been photographing some of my models for several years now and I hope that I can realize some long-term projects with them. I not only photograph in black and white. But true, most of my work is taken in b/w. It is because of the mood and atmosphere I want to capture and a further reason for b/w is simply that greys are my favorite “colors” – I can´t help it, but find greys extremely beautiful.
What is for you the female body?
The biggest challenge for an artist!
From who or what do you get inspiration?
Usually from what surrounds me. That can be an item or a person or a piece of art. Sometimes, but not that often, from reading a book or a magazine.
What is beauty for you?
If we talk about female beauty I would say the following: I am encountering female beauty practically every day countless times. As a young man I had very distinctive ideas of what female beauty is. There were only very few girls that I found truly beautiful or interesting – and they had to fit my ideals from head to toe. I think this is, because you are looking for an ideal at this time of your life. Today all this is very different. I am not looking for an ideal anymore, but I see female beauty in almost every women and every girl I meet – the beauty of youth or mature beauty or that of old age. There is a beauty that shows in insecurity, in the movement of the body or one that shows in the gaze of a woman. I would even say that highest grace and beauty is found in women and in girls that are not in a conventional sense beautiful or pretty. Those who are unrestrictedly beautiful, are beautiful because they are beautiful. Female beauty is like art – a permanent occasion for delight and for despair.
What about your creative processes that is behind your work?
Usually, I have a detailed plan of how I want to design a shoot. I do research on the models or the person I’m going to photograph. But only very rarely do I succeed in implementing this plan. Sometimes I do sketches for the model to show the poses, or I show images I like to take. But in 90% of all sittings these plans fail. I start taking the first pictures and I see that my plan does not fit. Either not her/his personality, not her/his physical appearance or not my own attitude. And the big struggle begins. I call it the fight with the model. It is what makes the photographic process to a great (and sometimes not so great) adventure. Each time you almost always start at zero!
What is your idea about the photographic realism of yesterday and today?
I think photographic realism is a matter of interpretation. Everyone sees something different in it. Let us agree that photographic realism comes into its own when no alienation techniques have been used (photoshop, etc.). Then I’m pretty much convinced that photographic realism, today and in the past, is the same. The interesting thing about photography is the frozen time. A family photo, taken on vacation or at a wedding, is a contemporary document and the older it gets, the more sinister it gets. At the moment of recording almost uninteresting, it becomes an increasingly charged up object over time. I find this effect the really interesting thing about photography. There is little I like more than looking at old photographs, preferably original prints. My most intriguing experience came in 1993 at the Metropolitan Museum in NY. There, out of sheer boredom, I saw the exhibition The Waking Dream: Photography’s First Century. At that time, I had little interest in photography, but these pictures literally burned into my mind. It was a form of fascination and disgust that I never forgot. Unfortunately, it took me another 10 years until I discovered photography for my own art. The title of the exhibition, The Waking Dream, is taken from Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” and suggests, in the words of curator Maria Morris Hamburg, “The haunting power of photographs to commingle past and present, to suspend the world and the artist’s experience of it in unique distillations.” I think this quote hits it a 100 percent – to come back to the initial question.
Three adjectives to describe your photography.
Photos courtesy of the artist