Fol­low pho­to­gra­pher Tim­mi Tau­ben­schreck and our glas­ses to Paris

Calling the hectic environment of fashion show's backstage areas his creative playground, photographer, fashion designer, and art director Timmi Taubenschreck is no stranger to vibrant, and at times even stressful, situations.

Tog­e­ther with his crea­ti­ve part­ner pho­to­gra­pher Det­lef Honig­stein, Tim­mi thri­ves on this sen­se of immedia­te crea­ti­vi­ty – oppo­sed to the ana­lo­gue images the duo takes as Honigs­chreck”, which demand a fair amount of plan­ning and deve­lo­p­ment. Based in Ber­lin, Tim­mi and Det­lef regu­lar­ly tra­vel to attend the worl­d’s big­gest fashion weeks, one of their latest trips brin­ging them to Paris last Sep­tem­ber, whe­re they took along a set of neu­bau eye­we­ar glas­ses. We asked Tim­mi all about his tra­vels, his crea­ti­ve pro­cess – and his exci­ting times spent backstage.

When and why did you first get inte­res­ted in pho­to­gra­phy?
I have been taking pic­tures for over 20 years now. I learnt from my father who used to have a sub­stan­ti­al collec­tion of came­ras. He would take pho­tos and sli­des of his various tra­vels whilst con­ti­nuous­ly explo­ring new came­ras. My first came­ra was a Canon Janosch Tigerauge”.

You’re often working with Det­lef Honig­stein with whom you also form the pho­to­gra­phy duo Honigs­chreck, how did you first meet?
We met in the fashion sce­ne about six years ago. A sty­list we both know put us in touch with each other. I have actual­ly been doing fashion collec­tions sin­ce 2009. Tog­e­ther with Det­lef I con­cep­tua­li­zed my loo­k­books, deve­lo­ped cam­pai­gns and worked on inde­pen­dent edi­to­ri­als. We soon came to rea­li­ze that I did not have any authen­tic” back­stage pho­tos taken in any of my seven fashion shows. The pho­tos would always be polis­hed, glos­sy, high end, and beau­ti­ful but never see­med to reflect the true sen­se of magic found back­stage. We, howe­ver, see the cha­os and imper­fec­tion of back­stage in a dif­fe­rent light. We cap­tu­red the­se moments inclu­ding all the mista­kes and deve­lo­ped them into edi­to­ri­als which stand for them­sel­ves. Our work can be descri­bed in one sen­tence: In our work we go for the per­fect atmo­s­phe­re over the per­fect look.”

How do the two of you mana­ge to suc­cess­ful­ly mer­ge your dif­fe­rent crea­ti­ve approa­ches?
Our col­la­bo­ra­ti­on feeds off our dif­fe­rent strengths as well as weak­nes­ses. We know exact­ly whe­re our skills lie and com­bi­ne the workload accord­in­gly for a uni­fied result. Using a com­bi­na­ti­on of ana­lo­gue small for­mat images, pola­roids, instant pic­tures (and soon Super8 video) is uni­que to our style. After each shoo­ting we throw our results tog­e­ther and fil­ter out a best of”. Here I would have to say that Det­lef is respon­si­ble for brin­ging in the poe­try. He takes his time and knows exact­ly which films are sui­ta­ble for which ligh­t­ing con­di­ti­ons. He gene­ra­tes play­ful moments and gets uni­que poses from the models, brea­king through the con­ven­tio­nal back­stage set­ting. I mys­elf on the con­tra­ry am respon­si­ble for cap­tu­ring spon­ta­ne­ous moments. I con­cen­tra­te on details, fab­rics, shoes, or I help Det­lef with more dif­fi­cult ligh­t­ing con­di­ti­ons. My main respon­si­bi­li­ty, howe­ver, lies in taking the instanta­ne­ous photos.

How much do the­se dif­fe­rent approa­ches influ­ence each other?
I am most­ly influ­en­ced by Detlef’s tech­ni­cal know­ledge and image com­po­si­ti­on. He mas­ters the ent­i­re craft­s­manship of ana­lo­gue pho­to­gra­phy and never fails to impress me with the results. Some­ti­mes I fol­low Detlef’s examp­le by using his tech­ni­ques but app­ly­ing them in my own way. I belie­ve I some­ti­mes sur­pri­se Det­lef by pre­sen­ting new came­ras that I have sourced for our team or by dis­co­vering new labels that we need to fea­ture. Our work is a con­stant cycle of mutu­al inspi­ra­ti­on. Having said that, I have to admit that I some­ti­mes sim­ply enjoy the role as sidekick.

What is the best and what the most chal­len­ging thing about working tog­e­ther as a duo?
As a duo you form a stron­ger team. We both know that we would never mana­ge a fashion week on our own. The pre­pa­ra­ti­on and the post pro­duc­tion espe­cial­ly needs to be done tog­e­ther. The gre­at bene­fit is being able to share work as well as having com­ple­te trust in each other. Most of the time I do the pre­pa­ra­ti­on for the fashion weeks – fin­ding media part­ners, con­ta­c­ting desi­gners and labels, reaching out to PR agen­ci­es, boo­king flights and put­ting tog­e­ther a time­ta­ble. In gene­ral, making sure that the work pro­ceeds as stress free as pos­si­ble. Det­lef ist most­ly invol­ved in post pro­duc­tion by selec­ting images and making sure they get sent out to press. Our skills are com­ple­men­ta­ry and that is what defi­nes us as #Honigs­chreck. A small dis­ad­van­ta­ge could be that we don’t func­tion sepa­r­ate­ly, espe­cial­ly during the fashion week. We only mana­ge to achie­ve the pho­to­gra­phic style and workload tog­e­ther and we also share the pay­ment which other pho­to­graph­ers would earn alo­ne. We divi­de the fee but offer a bet­ter end result.

With your own work, when do you feel the most crea­ti­ve?
All my work is crea­ti­ve. I am an inde­pen­dent fashion desi­gner, pho­to­gra­pher and free­lan­ce art direc­tor. I sim­ply com­bi­ned the crea­ti­ve fiel­ds I enjoy­ed working in the most over the past ten years of my care­er. Cur­r­ent­ly I enjoy the work as a pho­to­gra­pher the most. It has the same level of craft­s­manship as fashion design but offers more instant results. As art direc­tor I work tog­e­ther with other pho­to­graph­ers to eva­lua­te and select their image­ry. Such col­la­bo­ra­ti­ons inspi­re and allow me to grow crea­tively. I some­ti­mes look at it as a kind of game and con­si­der mys­elf very lucky to be able to earn my living by working in arts and crafts.

What inspi­red the shoot you did for neu­bau?
We com­bi­ned our latest trip to Paris for back­stage jobs with the neu­bau” shoo­ting. We did­n’t need a huge amount of pre­pa­ra­ti­on time or a big for­mal set­up. The specta­cles were pho­to­gra­phed as they are: urban but clas­sic, timeless and casu­al. After a Hai­der Acker­man assign­ment we wan­ted to shoot our two favou­rite specta­cles. The back­stage shoo­ting had been rela­tively ten­se but important as you don’t have the chan­ce to work with such a gre­at desi­gner on a dai­ly basis. We trans­fer­red this exci­te­ment into the pho­to­shoot. Other specta­cles were shot in a more spon­ta­ne­ous man­ner accord­ing to our mood; on the way to the pho­to­gra­phic labo­ra­to­ry or sim­ply in the stu­dio of fashion desi­gner Nobi Talai with whom we spent the time in Paris. The specta­cles were our dai­ly com­pa­n­ions and had to be rea­di­ly avail­ab­le at any time. We also wan­ted to show this in our images.

What makes pho­to­gra­phing peop­le and clothes back­stage so inte­res­ting to you?
It makes a big dif­fe­rence whe­ther we plan our own edi­to­ri­al or if we are working back­stage on a show. Our back­stage shoo­tings are always unpre­dic­ta­ble – we don’t know the set­ting or the ligh­t­ing con­di­ti­ons in advan­ce. We also don’t know the team and haven’t seen the collec­tion befo­re­hand. We come to the set without knowing what to expect and have to work with what is in front of us – we have had shows in which we had three hours to do our job and even one whe­re we only had five minu­tes. Five minu­tes whe­re ever­ything has to be per­fect! For pho­to­graph­ers who use digi­tal pho­to­gra­phy this isn’t a pro­blem. They can take up to 2000 images and will have gre­at results in the end. We work exclu­si­ve­ly ana­lo­gue and have only one chan­ce to get the ligh­t­ing and the models right whilst having to deal with the pres­su­re and the lack of space. Retro­spec­tively, it was the­se pho­tos which tur­ned out to be the best taken during Paris Fashion Week.

We deli­ber­ate­ly cho­se ana­lo­gue pho­to­gra­phy and want to con­ti­nue using this medi­um in the fashion indus­try. We want to show maga­zi­nes that we, as ana­lo­gue pho­to­graph­ers, can inde­ed live up to the stan­dards of our digi­tal coun­ter­parts. In spi­te of the time-con­suming labo­ra­to­ry pro­ces­ses nee­ded in deve­lo­ping films, prints and scans we are able to deli­ver the pho­tos in the same time­frame. We can crea­te the same amount of work in gre­at qua­li­ty but reve­al an ana­lo­gue touch which even with an app is impos­si­ble to achie­ve. The craft­s­manship of ana­lo­gue pho­to­gra­phy is what makes the job inte­res­ting in the first place. We never edit our images, don’t add fil­ters or adjust colors. In the end it does­n’t make a dif­fe­rence if we take pic­tures of fashion, models, or cars. Alt­hough with cars we may not see the thrill as much.

If you could do any shoot of your dreams, what would that shoot look like?
It was only in Janu­a­ry 2017 that we star­ted taking the back­stage sto­ries and were drea­ming of working with the estab­lis­hed desi­gners who show at Paris Fashion Week. Sud­den­ly, Paris in Sep­tem­ber 2017 was upon us and we had the chan­ce to work with big cli­ents such as Hai­der Acker­mann, Ann Demeu­le­mees­ter and Chris­ti­an Wij­n­ants. We rea­li­zed that it is more about get­ting into the­se big com­mis­si­ons rather than just drea­ming about them. We have alrea­dy been boo­ked for fashion weeks in Ber­lin, Paris and Milan for the begin­ning of 2018. Our dream is com­ing into being fas­ter than expec­ted, becau­se the­se are our dream shoo­tings: tra­vel­ling the world and visi­t­ing fashion shows, to cap­tu­re the grea­test back­stage moments.

And last­ly: If you could tra­vel to any place to shoot next, which place would that be?
We have had the chan­ce to shoot at many dif­fe­rent loca­ti­ons: Veni­ce, South Afri­ca, Los Ange­les, Paris and Mar­ra­kesh. The­re are count­less pla­ces we would still like to go to for edi­to­ri­al shoots howe­ver our main skills lie wit­hin deve­lo­ping back­stage sto­ries. What we have learnt from each loca­ti­on so far is: we hard­ly get to see anything from the city we are in AND back­stage all shows have the same charm!

03 Jan. 2018 · NEUBAU EYEWEAR
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