German Photographer and Art Director, Nick Frank, finds inspiration everywhere to construct his own reality. With a particular affinity for architecture, Nick effectively creates photos with an emphasis on strong patterns and symmetry that he retouches to produce a seemingly artificial effect that makes his subjects seem hyperreal.
How did you get into photography? That’s a tough question which cannot be answered easily. I’ve tried a lot of different things: music, motion-design, 3-D, stuff like that. Either I did not have the necessary talent or at some point I wasn’t able to push forward on my own because it was so specific or technology based, that I was simply overwhelmed.
In my job as an Art Director, the quality of my work depends on many factors: the client, the consultant, developers, sound designers, myself of course, etc. If one of these screws does not engage properly then the end result is often unsatisfactory. When doing photography, I’m not dependent on anyone, I press the release button, I edit my pictures and even put them online at any time I want. In addition, I am my own Art Director, I do the planning process, think about it, stage the pictures. For me, this is a holistic and straight forward process so I see results on the screen relatively fast. I also like that you can be outside or inside and you can basically find something to shoot anywhere.
How do you choose the subjects you photograph? If it comes to architecture, it’s all about lines, strong patterns and all forms of symmetry. I recently installed the new apple iOS 6 and there is a great 3-D map application now. A huge amount of Munich’s inner city is already included and I find this app perfect for spotting architecture since you can zoom in/out and rotate everything you see in a very high resolution.
Something interesting I’ve noticed in your work is how the qualities of the subjects you shoot are exaggerated. What inspired this? There isn’t a specific source. Inspiration is everywhere: the internet, television, the subway, and even in the shower. Inspiration does not necessarily need a visual component. Sometimes inspiration is noise, maybe even a smell. If I want to be inspired specifically, I look at pictures of my contacts in the relevant photo communities. I like shooting with wide-angle lenses. It compresses the center but gives you really interesting results at the outer parts of the image. In combination with a contrasty retouch, (I really like to dodge & burn,) there are often almost artificial results.
Has Germany had a profound influence on your creativity? If yes, how so? The environment is always forced to have an impact on one’s creativity or inspiration because it is decisively developed from this. Formality, rules and objectivity are attributes that can be found in my pictures as well.
Do you have a particular philosophy when it comes to retouching photos? When reviewing my pictures, you can see it‘s not my intention to reproduce the real world, instead I am constructing my own abstract reality. Statics, mass and 3-D are no longer relevant. At a rate of 60% my pictures are created on the computer and usually at the moment I take the picture I already know what the finished result will look like. I do not have a real philosophy though. The ratio must be right. It is the fine line between too little and too much re-touching.
What is the best advice you have been given that you find yourself constantly remembering? Learn… accept… understand… to know who you are and what you can do will help you a lot. Where am I strong and where are my weak points? Develop some kind of self-confidence.
Is there anything /anyone on your radar now that you think our audience should pay attention to? Matthias Heidenreich’s Berlin urban explorations are pretty awesome. He really has an eye for the minimal and the colour processing is just perfect. You should definitely check out the Ost/West galleries.