Johannes Reinhart has a unique vision for capturing the most amazing imagery. He has the ability to see the world in an striking way, capturing life that most of us miss.
Johannes has created works for many exhibitions and has won many prestigious awards for his provocative work. Most of all, his love for photography and showing the world through his unique eyes, really stands out.
Find links at the bottom of the page to check out more of the amazing work of Johannes Reinhart.
As a kid I was fascinated by those mysterious cameras with all those buttons and dials. I mean, which boy isn’t? But it took me to the age of 22 until I finally bought one of those button cameras. I was then lucky enough to go out on a beautiful autumn afternoon. Around the lake I grew up on in Germany and take my first roll of film. My first pictures turned out amazing. Even though now I look back at them and see there was a lot of room for improvement …like lots. Though, I was hooked and loved it instantly, and so my passion began.
Initially I just tried to emulate what a professional photograph looks like. I think it took me another ten years before I would say that I started to have my own vision. I think it constantly evolved and continues to evolve. Just like life shapes us, life also shapes my photography.
Yes, I spent 13 years as a wedding photographer. Starting with film, back in the day where families were happy just to get a sharp picture. Then digital came along and I had to learn a lot to transition to digital, which was also liberating.
Back to your question, I approached my wedding photography with my personal philosophy, which is always do the best you can. I tried to create beautiful photos that resemble the spirit of the wedding day. Including the love, the funny moments, the sad moments, the formal photos and the party. Essentially, I would photograph how I would have liked my wedding to be photographed. And, combined that with quality products, so that clients could look at the photos and relive their wedding day in all their uniqueness.
Short answer: Escape!
Long answer. I always like a good photojournalistic image. When I heard of street photography which is about capturing life as it happens, mundane or otherwise I was immediately intrigued.
It also happened that I was photographing weddings and portraits for a number of years. Looking after our 2 young kids as my wife went to work. So life is a constant juggling act. Going out on the street with only one camera and lens was a great escape. The fact that you never knew what you are going to get, also made it interesting.
But best was that when I got into the zone I found it to be quite meditative. Forgetting all the worries in the world, which made me do it more of course.
Most of the time I just go out with an open mind and see what I find. But what I realized over the years, and especially since I teach photography, is that I capture pretty much anything I connect with. This can be as simple as an object bouncing in nice light. Or, as complicated as trying to bring compositional order to the chaos. I think the first thing I look for is good light, and then I look for someone or something interesting.
I find it hard to linger at a place for more than a minute, let alone five. So, I am mostly on the move and make decisions on the fly. For example, if I see an interesting person walking down the street. I look around and see if there’s anything around I can match them with. If there is, I try to get myself in the right spot to capture it. So it’s preconceived ideas on short notice. Then when something unexpected happens, rather than thinking this isn’t going to plan. I try to take it as an opportunity to see if I can get a better shot.
I think the strong point with this approach is that I get images that are fresh and that can’t be replicated …even by myself.
I think everything that has happened in my life has shaped me in one way or another. Since I try to shoot from the heart, it naturally comes out in my photography.
For example, I was a skater boy growing up in the 1980s in a small German town, where skateboarding was looked on as almost a criminal activity.
Much later in life when I was shooting my first real project, which was documenting a group of sword fighters. I realized that I am drawn to people who do Fringe activities.
Other aspects of my life have shaped some of the series I have shot – e.g. Heaven and Earth and In Search of My Father.
Ultimately I want to create images that make you feel, so mood and strong emotion is somewhat necessary, right? I’m not sure if my photography has changed me, because to a degree my photography is a part of me. By shooting from the heart, and analysing my photos I can learn about things going on in my subconscious. A number of years ago I had depression. My glass was definitely mostly empty, though at the time I shot some very beautiful and colourful beach scapes. These made me see that there’s still beauty in this world and beauty within myself.
Photography certainly has had a large impact of my life. Most of my friends here I made through photography. I can’t ignore that winning those big awards really helped my self-esteem too.
I think when you come to the stage of knowing how your cameras works and know how to take decent photos, it’s time to start a photographic project (or two).
A project will narrow your focus, which sets boundaries, which in itself creates limitations. Those limitations are good to focus your creativity to push those boundaries within the limitations. There’s so much you can learn from doing projects. The hardest thing definitely is finding the time and then sticking it out and finishing it. So I think it’s very important that anyone who starts a project should be passionate about what they want to sink their teeth in. It’s probably also good to start with smaller projects at the beginning.
Either projects resemble a period in my life and photographic career, so even though they are sitting on opposite sides of the spectrum, for me, they are both valid. I also hate being locked in a box and that everything always has to be serious, so for the moment Selfies stay on the website. Though nowadays I prefer the direction of Heaven and Earth where the images are more complex and have more emotion.
Tricky question to answer. I think it’s a bit like ying and yang in a loop. The way I view the world influences the way I photograph, which through reflection feeds back to the way I view the world.
Yes, I am concentrating on one-on-one workshops and mentoring, and find it very fulfilling. It comes quite naturally for me to help people, so it’s a really good fit and when you see the light go on in somebody because they just ‘got it’, it’s hugely rewarding. Plus, I always learn a thing or two myself.
I think a big part of getting people to follow their own vision is done by removing obstacles that we photographers place on ourselves. The other part is to get people to trust in themselves and their own likes, dislikes and the way they view the world, so I try to create a safe and fun place for people to experiment and then hope it flows from there.
Learn the basics and then ‘Shoot from the Heart’ and create work that is true to who you are.
Competitions have certainly challenged me over the years. I used to have a hate/love relationship with them and sometimes still have. Though I always learned something just by entering, which is the real value, especially early on in the game.
I think the most challenging part of entering competitions is not being swayed by what’s currently trendy. Luckily, I have learned to trust in my vision and I think the only reason I have done so well in competitions, is by staying true to myself. So now I find it a little easier to focus and create images that are meaningful to me and then enter what I think works for the competitions.
Exhibitions really force you to think about what you want to say with a body of work, which is really valuable in terms of learning and can be a very rewarding experience.
Post processing is an important part to getting the feel right. Having said that, I’m all about getting it right in camera. While you can do lots in post processing, there’s no substitute for getting lighting and composition and action right in camera.
With a lot of my images I use pretty basic post processing and then control elements with curves with masking to locally brighten, darken and add contrast to an image. Curves is super powerful and it is definitely worth spending the time to understand it. Luminosity masks makes curves twice as powerful and gives me superb control in getting my vision on screen and paper.