Talking photography by Bastian Thiery
Model turned photographer Bastian Thiery, is piecing together a picture of stories in a very cinematic way.
He is most interested in scene, location, and feel. He likes to puzzle things together…. Things he finds in everyday life, street or any other location that inspires him and gives him a certain feel.
Bastian got into photography while he was living in NY, as at the time boredom got the best of him, so he just started to wonder the streets, and while doing so, he started to photograph people, objects etc…. Photography has now proven to be his own way to investigate life and what is it all about. He is creating pictures that in some way collide reality and fantasy (fantasy because not everything is as it seems, and sometimes complete strangers may be portrayed as ‘lovers’ due to being in the right place at the right time, with Bastian somewhere near to capture the random encounter). His work is a combination of still life, landscapes, and portraits that simply show his personal journey, literally and figuratively.
Where are you from and where are you based at the moment?
I’m from a small town in the German southwest but have been living in Berlin for almost seven years now.
When people ask ‘what do you do?’, what is your answer?
I say I model and study photography, and the order can change.
What is your photography about?
It’s about texture, geometry, eyes, a strange feeling or connection. Maybe sometimes trying to connect things that weren’t in the three-dimensional world.
What kind of photography interests you the most?
I think I am interested in all types of photography. I really like fashion photography just for what it is. The imagination and creating something… But I am also interested in documentary photography. I don’t have a box yet. I mean, I really like photographers who can connect certain genres and make them work all together.
Philip-Lorca diCorcia let say. I really like his book ‘Hustlers’. It was made during AIDS pandemic in the late 1980s and early 90s in LA. I also really like works of Eugene Richards, Alec Soth. And I’m obsessed with Gregory Halpern and Lars Tunbjörk at the moment.
What about fashion photographers?
Jamie Hawkesworth is the one that stands out for me at the moment. I really like how he has no boundaries nor for travel stories nor fashion stories…
How has your relationship to editorial (model) work changed from the time you were not persuing this career and not studying photography, to today, when you are becoming one of ‘them’ photographers? Do you now find it harder, easier?
I think it has definitely changed, in a positive and a negative way. I’m more critical with the final images and also the way they get produced. There are fashion photographers who don’t care about the model at all, not even introduce themselves on a shoot for example. Before I started taking pictures of people I wouldn’t have cared much about that. Now it makes me rather sad to see someone who’s at a point in their career where they don’t even want to engage with their subject anymore. On the other hand I’m very happy to work as a model with photographers who want to really create something beautiful and who share their artistic vision with the team they’re working with. I can appreciate this more than before. I think what’s so special about fashion photography is the collaboration between all the different parties involved, like hair & make-up, styling, photography, art direction, and with some editorials it can be very open where the journey leads to.
Ok now back to your photography — are you impulsive while taking pictures or do you take your time and wait for the right moment?
When I started exploring photography I used to take pictures on the street in New York. I’d see an interesting looking person approaching, would stop and photograph them, very quick. But I’m way too impatient to stay in one place and wait for things to unfold like many street photographers. I feel more like a flaneur. At the moment I mostly use medium format film, which slows me down a lot more than 35mm film, but I still have to walk all the time.
What aspect of photography do you find the most challenging?
I think my biggest struggle is sometimes to stay hungry, to do things or forcing myself to go out there constantly. I think a big struggle is also the whole social media thing, which I don’t hate on but I think the likes and followers distract sometimes. And in general, a big challenge for me is to get out of my comfort zone. I think the best pictures are made outside the comfort zone.
Is there any work out there that you wish you’d come up with first?
Joel Sternfeld’s ‘American Prospects’ — I wish I could have done exactly that trip.
When you are not modeling or taking photos, what do you do?
A few years ago I would have replied ‘partying’, now it’s more long breakfasts, walks with my friend’s dog, going to the museum… I’m constantly listening to music. I try to go to the darkroom and print some pictures once a week when I don’t travel.
What is your favorite city so far?
I don’t have one particular favorite. I like the energy of New York, the art and youth culture in London, parks and clubs in Berlin. I’d say New York is my favorite as it sparked a lot of interests in me.
What are your fave spots in Berlin?
I love ://about blank in the summer time. Then there’s this calm forest at the end of Sonnenallee, ‘Königsheide’ which is kind of close to my house. Just Berlin in Summer in general, in Winter I feel like a hermit. On Tempelhofer Feld is also one spot that I like, it’s where the old shooting range is, nature fights its way back there in a beautiful way.
Photography by Bastian Thiery