Well as 2018 came to an end, I figured why not write a short (here is Ulrich from from when I finished writing this. It got way too long again haha but you can just skip stuff if something sounds boring to you) recap of what happened in 2018 for me. I tried to kind of structure this post into different chapters to not get totally confused by my own thoughts and I hope it’s a bit easier or more fun to read like this. I’m still not a great writer but that’s not what I’m getting paid for so who cares.
So I guess let’s just dive into this. 2018 has been a pretty amazing year for me and a lot happened. I had to overcome a bunch of personal challenges, I worked super hard to progress as a photographer and I finally managed to put things into action, that I’ve thought about doing for quite some time. But most importantly I enjoyed (pretty much) every single day of this journey.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever traveled as much as I did this year, at least not by myself. I grew up traveling quite a lot with my parents but over the last couple years I feel like I kind of lost the urge to travel. This year everything changed and I got super excited to explore wherever I could. For me traveling is not only about getting to know different cultures, but mainly about getting to know new people all over the world. Every person has their own story and enriches your life in one way or another.
The first trip of the year was, when I got invited to go to Berlin for a week with Red Bull for the Red Bull Rising Talent Workshop in Spring. During this week I got to meet a bunch of amazing athletes and super talented young photographers from all over Europe.
After that I went to Barcelona for three days for my birthday in July. I did write a blogpost about that trip already. It was some sort of an eye opening trip for me and it was filled with personal challenges, a nice city and the most amazing people you can imagine.
In August I went to Benin, in Africa, with my parents. I spent the first year of my life living in Africa and going back there with my parents after a long time was an amazing and sometimes emotional experience.
The last trip for the summer was to my one and only love: to New York City. I’ve been to New York quite a few times now but I can’t help myself from going back whenever I can. I have a bunch of amazing friends there and the city just has something magical for me. I also managed to visit some friends in Boston for a couple days.
As I said before, traveling for me is not only about getting to know a new culture or visiting new places. For me it’s mainly about getting to know new people and I managed to meet a bunch of amazing new people this year.
While traveling all over the world, I did meet some amazing new people. I don’t want to start a list at this point but I feel like I still need to give a quick shoutout to Alessandro from Barcelona. I think he is one of the most positive and warm guys I’ve met this year. It would be unfair to leave out the amazing Jonathan and Benja from Barcelona though. They’ve been super welcoming as well and I really hope to see them again sometime soon.
Anyway let’s get back to all the other amazing people I met. As I mentioned before I met a bunch of amazing young photographers from all over Europe during the Red Bull Rising Talent Workshop in Berlin. Every one of them brought something unique to the table and I was able to learn something from each and every one of them. Unfortunately we kind of lost touch after the workshop, so if you guys read this, hit me up and let’s plan some projects together ;)
During my trip to Africa I got to know two amazing internationally known painters. It was really interesting to meet two people who, in the broader picture, do the same thing but they’re two totally different personalities.
Then there were all the amazing BMX riders from New York and Boston. Each one of them was a really interesting and amazing person, but still different. I feel like that’s what makes it so interesting to me to meet new people. As everyone is so different from the next person you can learn something new with every one of them.
When thinking about new people I met during this year, I forget to think about the ones from Austria sometimes haha. So let’s not forget two guys I met last winter, who have become really good friends since then. Thanks to Stefan (he kind of manages to be in what feels like 90% of my pictures lately) and Manuel for being awesome people!
Well it’s not just about the people you get to know though. You can’t forget about all the people who I met before 2018 and who are still not too annoyed by me and stick around.
As fun as it is to meet new people, the ones I’ve known before are at least as important as the new ones. It’s always fun to meet up with friends I’ve known for quite some time, just hang out or shoot some cool pictures together. One of the things I like about shooting with people I’ve known for some time, is that I already know them better. I feel like it’s easier to take an intimate/close portrait of a person you know, than of a person you just met. You just know what the person is like and you can play to show their actual personality. There are way more people like this than there are in the pictures I decided to put on here. I just want to thank every one of you that you were a part of this amazing year.
I’m not sure why, but I feel like I’ve mostly kept this chapter out of my portfolio or social media this year. Anyway, you probably know (well I did put out a long post on social media back in spring, when all of this started) that I got the chance to join the Red Bull Photography team this year. I’ve been working for exactly that for the last four years and it was an amazing feeling to finally reach that milestone. After winning a competition at a Red Bull Photography workshop in Vienna, I was invited to join the team.
From that time on I started shooting smaller or bigger events for them. Just whatever came along I guess. Towards the end of the year I did shoot a couple e-sports event for Red Bull. As you know I come from an extreme sports photography background, so shooting gaming competitions was something totally new for me. The challenge that jobs like this bring with them, is something I really enjoy though. It makes your mind work. You need to find new and creative solutions to cover an event that, from the first glance, doesn’t look like a lot of action. That helps a lot with developing as a photographer though, so I always appreciate a challenge.
Challenges are there to get you out of your comfort zone. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do this year with my photography. I’ve thought about shifting my focus a little bit away from action sports and towards more of an active lifestyle and portrait portfolio. As I was shooting that much sports before, it was easy for me to organize a sport shoot with all the people I knew. It was the easy alternative to facing the challenge of trying to find people to shoot portraits of. Also I had no experience with shooting portraits before so it was kind of scary for me. What do you say to a model? What kind of poses do you want them to do? What expression? What wardrobe? What light? What color? …
Anyway I took on the challenge and managed to shoot way more portraits. I even started a new project I called ‘Friday Portraits’ that is (as the name says) all about portraits. I started thinking about colors, lights, poses, expressions and so on. I looked at other photographers work to get inspiration. I spent a lot of time in front of Photoshop, trying out all kinds of techniques. I worked on my color grading, on the look and feel of my pictures, on the light and on a ton of other aspects that make an image what it is.
It took me quite some time but I feel like I’m slowly seeing progress. I like to think that (some of) my pictures have more of a cinematic look to them now. They are way more thought through regarding the colors, the wardrobe, the light and the editing.
So all together I feel like I did develop quite a bit as a photographer. I’m still far from where I want to be but everything takes time and starting is the first step.
This one is going to be a quick one I promise. As I said before I wanted to get more comfortable shooting portraits, so I challenged myself to shoot one portrait every Friday and post it on Saturdays. Even though I’m barely ever shooting the portrait on Friday anymore, I still try to shoot one per week and post it on Saturdays. This has been quite a challenge for me but it’s a good one to keep me up and moving. Consistency is the key to progression (as a famous Facebook quote once said I assume).
So what’s up for 2019?
I want to travel as much as possible and make new friends all over the world again. I want to develop as a photographer. Work on my lighting and editing. I want to shoot more editorial-/commercial-style (personal) projects to build up a nice portfolio.
I also set myself a new challenge for 2019. Last year my plan was to shoot more active lifestyle and portrait work. This year I want to invite you guys into my world more often. The plan is to show you more of what I do and how I do it. Take you on shoots with me via Instagram stories or blogposts. I want to show you more behind the scenes of what I do and just what I’m up to in life. Even though I might not shoot any Nike campaigns (yet), I think it could still be interesting for young photographers to see how I handle things. If there’s just one person who could take something from it, I’m happy about that.
There is for sure a lot to come in 2019. I do have a bunch of stuff in my mind I want to do and it’s going to be fun. So if you want to tag along, check out my Instagram, I’ll (hopefully) take you along way more often this year. And if I’m not, please hold me accountable and remind me of my plans haha
I wish you all an amazing 2019!