Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Florian Maier-Aichen

Florian Maier-Aichen

            Florian Maier-Aichen was born in Germany in the year 1973. He attended college in Germany but then realized that in their culture, photography was viewed as a hobby or side interest. He saw the art being created at that time in California and decided to move to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles at the University of California that he received his MFA.
A photographer by nature, Maier-Aichen bases his work in photographs, but then paints, draws and imposed images on top of the original images. He moves away from the basis of photography, which is documentation, and rather creates a fictional world. His work is not what you think of when you think of fictional photographs. His artworks from afar and even close view look real. In the series that I looked at and was elaborated on in “Fantasy” on pbs.org, Florian Maier-Aichen was talking about how he finds inspiration in antique postcards. These old post cards were often re-copied, in other words, the images on them were so cliché and seen time and time again. He stated that the more images in one spot, more the reason for him to take yet another. The post cards were also un-realistic. Maier-Aichen was shown on http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/florian-maier-aichen shooting an image he once saw on an old postcard. It was a skyline of a city with water in the foreground, originally there were approximately 15 light sources, in recent days there were far more as well as a change in the landscape due to tearing down of old warehouses. He talked bout how he would go in post-production and alter the image more to make it closer to the original as well as take out parts he did not like.
            He shoots with an old style glass plate camera. Not a 35 mm point and shoot or DSLR. This method reminds me of Sally Mann. His camera seemed to be very similar as hers and his end images remind me of her work. The type of camera they both use allows for error. The camera is not secure so it allows light leaks and random affects. He prints and presents the photographs in a large scale. He wants the viewer to see every detail. He said that he wanted people to get lost in one corner and not to become distracted by the other.
            Florian Maier-Aichen expressed that taking the photos is only half the work. When choosing the framing of the image, he likes to cut the frame in half by a natural line. Whether that be a horizon line or a skyline or other naturally occurring lines.  He takes wide angles landscape images or aerial shots. All the images are highly thought out and representational.  He conducts a large amount of postproduction alterations to his photos before they are finished. His goal is to “create idealized painterly landscapes” as well as a finished image with a representational upper part and an abstract lower part. He even works with tri color photography to restore and reinvigorate the classic nature of photography.
            Florian Maier-Aichen’s work relates to mine in the purest fact of photography, but also by his idea of re-photographing the norm and the already seen. I as a photographer am ok with photographing things that people are used to. As long as something is different, new or interesting. To create a lot of his images he takes night photos and those require long shutter speed much like the images I have taken for this first project. I do find more contrasts with his work then similarities. I do not draw over my images in postproduction. I do not highly alter my images in postproduction. I do minor corrections but never painting and drawing on top of things. I do find it very interesting though, his ability to keep the images appearance real. Even though he has edited and drawn over the image, from a distance it looks real. What I take from Florian Maier-Aichen, in relation to my art work, is that I could try to play around with my images more and use cameras that allow for error and it will still turn out to be an interesting photograph.
            When looking at Florian Maier-Aichen’s work I believe that some are very strong where others fall short. I like the landscape and aerial images where it looks more real. There is such a great level of detail within the image that I could analyze them for hours and still miss details within the images, such as Aus Ven, 2011. Then looking at his far more edited images such as Untitled, 2007, it just is too unreal to me. I think he is strong as deciding what to edit and how to construct this different reality but in some cases when it is taken to far it loses the reliability and truth behind photography.




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