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One more Klick

Just about every photographer dreams of clicking the shutter on a Leica camera one day. How did you get there?

The whole thing was a coincidence, actually. I had wanted to go on a road trip for a while, and at the last minute I applied for the “Verleica” project. The project, created by Paul Ripke, offers a few young photographers the opportunity to take a Leica with them on their travels, which most of them wouldn’t normally have in their budget. I also want to give a huge thank-you to Julian Busch, who is now organizing Verleica.

Which cities did you visit?

With a total of more than 3500 kilometers, I racked up quite a few cities. From Cologne, we drove through Paris and made a couple of stops along the French Atlantic coast. Then we went on from Royan all the way to the south, to Molliets. Then we went to San Sebastian and from there through the Pyrenees to the Spanish Mediterranean coast. We liked it so much that we stayed there. Finally, we went back through Montpellier and Lyon.

Even perfect locations can make for boring pictures if the atmosphere is wrong.

Your imagery thrives on the interplay between light and shadow, sunsets, geometric lines and half-naked bodies. Is there a kind of higher philosophy behind these elements?

I wouldn’t call the whole thing a philosophy – I just try to use light and colors to create a mood that everyone can understand. My goal is for people to see a picture and be able to imagine themselves in that situation or in that place. Symmetries and geometric shapes have always been one of my weaknesses, and who doesn’t love sunsets and naked skin? Haha.

When do you consider a photo to be a success?

I would call a photo a success if it is easy to understand, transports you to a specific situation or evokes a special feeling. I like it when the object stands out from the rest of the image, whether it is through blurring, light or color, and you don’t have to spend a long time looking at it to figure out where the focus is. Symmetry can be very helpful for directing the gaze.

Felix Hackland Selbstporträt 2
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Felix Hackland Selbstporträt

You’re majoring in Media Studies at the Rheinische FH Cologne. A wild guess: your parents wanted you to learn something sensible (and then you smuggled in the media part)?

Haha, sorry, you guessed wrong. Of course I’d love to drop everything and run around from one beach to the next with my camera, but I believe you should always have a backup plan. I think I found a major that not only interests me, but can also be very useful in the long run. The department head has been very helpful with that – I want to give a big thanks to Ms. xx. After all, I can’t live off a great photo that sits on my desk where no one can see it. Even if passion is the main reason I’m doing this, I can’t completely ignore the economic aspect.

What would you say is your “full-time” job? Student or photographer?

Good question. From a time perspective, it’s fairly equal. But since I really think about pictures and photography all the time, morning to night, instead of exams and projects (sorry, Mom!), I would describe myself more as a photographer.

What do you always need to have with you when you’re on the hunt for “the moment”?

First of all, of course, a camera, which is not a logistical challenge for me personally. I believe a camera body and lens that you’re familiar with and can use 100 percent of the time are worth a thousand times more than 40 pounds of camera technology that you have to lug around with you. It also fits easily into your camera inlay. I usually drag friends along who have to put up with my spontaneous photo ideas any time of day or night (you guys are the best!). I also usually throw in a change of clothes and of course plenty of beverages. Although I tend to skip the beer spritzer and indulge my hip lemonade fetish. Pack it all up in style in a pinqponq, and off you go! ;)

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