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Tobias Holzweiler

Interview, 10/2023

Hi Tobias, thanks for taking the time to make this interview. It’s been difficult to find information about you, what could you tell us about yourself?

I’m a 29-year-old photographer from Germany. I started photography back in 2015 when I picked up my first DSLR. Nowadays, I shoot both digital and film. But mostly film whenever I can. My work focuses on people, documentary, street, and the mundane things in our everyday lives.

When did you start as a photographer? did it take a long time to find your style? or maybe you haven’t found it yet?

I picked up my very first DSLR in 2015 and began documenting some city trips I did with friends back in the days. Since I used to be a DJ until 2018, I brought my camera to some shows and began to snap some photos. Shortly after, I photographed parties and festivals. In 2017 I started to meet with friends and strangers to shoot ‚tfp ‘shootings. I was lucky to travel a lot in the past years and to see incredible places and people.

It took me a lot of time and failure to develop my very own style. I truly believe photography is an ongoing process that is very much influenced by your surroundings, mood, everyday circumstances, places you see, and the people you meet. And ultimately, your style is evolving every day.

Is it hard to find your style in photography or are you happy with it? do you spend time thinking about it or you just flow and let the things happen naturally?

One piece of advice I can give is not to try to ‚fit ‘into a specific niche in photography. I started out photographing what I’m interested in, and I’m still doing it. It still brings me the most joy. Photography enables me to find beauty in the ordinary and the everyday life. If you feel like shooting with people —shoot portraits. If you feel like shooting nature —go travel and document it. I think you should follow what you’re interested in the most and don’t think you should only stick to one topic.

Which one do you enjoy most, shooting film or digital? can you tell us about your first steps in film photography?

I started Shooting film one year ago because my favorite photographers also shoot film. All I wanted was to understand why they’re doing it. So I bought my Leica M6, a fully manual film camera that changed my way of photographing entirely. It taught me to slow down and to rethink my compositions. At first, it was super “painful “to spend a lot of money on film, but now after one year, 95% of the time, I would always pick up my analog camera for a personal project rather than going digital. It’s just way more fun and the photographs I take mean so much more to me personally.

Honestly speaking, I love your work. How do you evaluate your actual moment? do you feel that you are giving your best?

I’m pretty happy with the results I’m able to achieve with my photography. When I have an idea or a specific picture in my mind, I can realize it with the photographs I’m taking. Yes, I feel productive in a sense that social media enables me to share what I want to share online easily. That gives me a feeling of working and evolving as a photographer. But there is definitely a long way to go since photography has so much more to offer. I want to shoot more editorials in the future and have fewer shootings, therefore more conceptional ones. As I mentioned before, once I feel comfortable with what I’m doing, there are always some new inspirations that caught my attention and make me feel like I still have so much to learn.

Could you tell us about the kind of clients you have and how do you make a living with photography?

My photography focuses on working with people, e.g., portraits, event documentations, commercial shootings, and weddings. I also meet with Influencers and shoot little campaigns with them. I also create videos, but my photographs are way better.

Most of your photos have a cinematic vibe, do you find inspiration in cinema? where else do you usually find inspiration? is there any photographer you would like to recommend?

I know a lot of my photos look cinematic, I love shooting at night. But to be honest, I’m not seeking this cinematic look that much. Nowadays, I prefer a much more natural look. But somehow, the sceneries I’m shooting have that cinematic feel in themselves, I only press the shutter. I love watching movies, but I wouldn’t consider myself a huge movie fan. I have my favorite movies and watch them over and over again. Because when I really like one movie I get lost in it whether it’s the story, the music, the locations, everything can trigger my attention.

My favorite photographers are definitely Joe Greer and André Wagner (both street photographers from the US). I just love their candid way of capturing life in such a beautiful way. Since photographing strangers in the street is very difficult in Germany (due to the law regulations we have), I don’t shoot as much street photography as I would love to.

Could you take one of your photographs and tell us what is behind that image?

This is by far the photograph I remember the most. I took this photo right at the opera in Paris in October 2019. There was this girl with her yellow dress standing right next to me. I wanted to photograph her but didn’t know when the best timing would be. I focused so much on acting natural and waiting for the right time to take the shot that I totally missed the point that a lot of strangers started to cross the street. Then, out of a sudden, the girl’s boyfriend appeared, grabbed her by the face, and gave her that kiss. I was shocked and excited at the same time and took one single shot from the hip. My heart began to beat faster, and I walked away. I couldn’t look at my camera for almost 10 minutes since I still felt so overwhelmed by the whole situation. Then after sitting down on a bench, I looked at my camera. And I’ve nailed it.

You said in your bio “photography changed my entire life”. Would you like to explain it in more depth and tell us how do you see the photography nowadays? do you feel that you have the same enthusiasm and that kind of naive fascination similar to a child discovering something new?

I don’t feel like a child when I’m out photographing since it became my job and profession. But I’m taking my camera everywhere I go because having my camera by my side enables me to look at life in a different and more meaningful way. It didn’t change my life because I can make a living from it, but looking through my camera and taking photographs is my way of expressing everything I see and feel in an aesthetically pleasing and human way.

What other hobbies do you have when you are not shooting with the camera? does it help you in any way?

I used to be a DJ for almost six years and I still love music. I get a lot of inspiration from it because it’s able to change my entire mood in seconds. I also love working out and getting new inspiration by talking to like-minded people. I love talking about mindset and productivity and always look for ways to improve my own life.

You also have a YouTube channel, how is it going? would you like to tell us about future projects or promote anything?

My YouTube videos are not that special, to be honest, but after doing photography for more than five years now, I think I made some experiences worth sharing and talking about. I try to upload a new video every now and then, but I definitely want to make YouTube a way to give my community something back for all their love and support.

Is anything else that you would like to comment?

Thank you for having me. I hope someone will feel inspired reading my answers. Keep shooting, and don’t settle. Life’s a big classroom, there’s so much to learn.

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