Klaus Tamm

Klaus Tamm

Nationality: Germany
 

Artist's Statement:

I photograph nature as I experience it: atmospheric, mystical and fragile. The transition from photography to painting is quite fluid; I would say I paint with a lens. Photography can make things visible that otherwise would go hidden or overlooked in these fast-paced times. This is especially true for aspects which we easily take for granted. This accounts especially for the nature that surrounds us. There is no substitute to it. Therefore, to me it is important to capture real situations in the wild as an impressive moment and unadulterated. Nothing in my pictures is artificially created or electronically manipulated. Everything is authentic in the way I experienced it. Following these criteria, of course, the level of difficulty for the captures increases, but I think the authenticity is visible in my images.

My approach in photographic art is that I am concerned with creating an access for people to the beauty of nature and to their feelings about it. Many have forgotten how good it does to just stay outdoors. Just as “music reminds the soul of where it comes from”, I would like to give people with my poetic imagery the opportunity to a rest. Historically speaking, my family has influenced me a lot on that. Many of my family have been observing nature as they were hunters. I have participated in that from childhood on. I would like to express the joy of nature with my photographs. In addition, it is my personal concern to point out how much nature and its creatures need protection and respect. So I try to produce images that act as poetic images and documentation at the same time and are relevant to all of us.

Vita:

Schon als Kind interessierte mich die Natur. Ich bin in einer Jägerfamilie aufgewachsen und war schon als kleiner Junge von den Tierfotografien in den Jagdzeitschriften meines Vaters fasziniert. Davon inspiriert kaufte ich mir als Jugendlicher eine Spiegelreflexkamera mit einem kleinen Teleobjektiv.

Ernsthaft begann ich 2005 mit der Naturfotografie und kaufte mir in dem Jahr meine erste Digitalkamera.

Es war mir immer ein Anliegen, mit meinen Fotos die Menschen für die Natur zu sensibilisieren. Mein Ziel ist es, künstlerisch anmutende Fotos zu gestalten die den Betrachter innehalten lassen.

Meine Fotoreisen führten mich in abgelegene Gebiete nach Norwegen, Schweden, Finnland, Bulgarien, Rumänien und Spanien, aber auch nach Südafrika und Südamerika und auf die Falklandinseln. Als langjähriger Naturbeobachter und Fotograf bemerke ich, dass unsere Umwelt zusehends an Artenvielfalt verliert.

Dies hat mich veranlasst, die gemeinnützige Aufwind GmbH für Natur- und Umweltschutz zu gründen. Das Ziel der Aufwind gGmbH ist es, über die Verkaufserlöse meiner Fotografien den Naturschutz zu stärken, indem sowohl regionale als auch internationale Initiativen gefördert werden.

Interview:

1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
It’s always been my intention to sensitize people to nature through my photography. I aim to create artistic images that encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.

2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
There are many excellent nature photographers around, and in my eyes their work and their photographies are important because they give nature a voice and help to show people how beautiful and at the same time vulnerable our planet is.

3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
An excellent photographer plays with light and atmosphere. He is able to achieve artistic images, that cause the observer to stop for a moment and reflect - as good paintings can do, too.

4. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
I am fascinated by nature, that´s why I am spending most of my time being outside. Over the years of watching and photographing wild life I have realized that the speed of loosing the diversity of species has dramatically increased. This is why I have founded a non-profit company called Aufwind gemeinnützige GmbH für Natur und Umweltschutz with the purpose to support nature protection projects. All the proceeds from my photographic activities go directly to this institution.

5. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
I am getting very enthusiastic when I could capture rare moments or was able to achieve an image of a simple scene, yet with an impressionistic atmosphere.

6. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
As my photographs are exclusively taken in wild life surroundings, it needs a lot of patience. The challenge then is to catch the perfect moment, when the animal is behaving naturally in light conditions beyond just documenting.

7. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
Shortly after I had started photographing digitally I experimented a lot with light and exposure times to create more artistic images opposing to simple documentaries.

8. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A "NOVICE"?
First, in nature photography it needs a lot of patience. Then, one needs to train the eye to anticipate the perfect moment coming.

9. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
I’ve been interested in nature since I was a child and still I love to be outside, especially in the early mornings and in the late evenings. These offer the most atmospheric light conditions for taking pictures. Also, at these times there is a lot of activity going on in nature.

10. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
Watching wild life and being outside reminds me how beautiful nature is.

11. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
For myself I am happy when I was able to capture the right moment in perfect light conditions. And the more people are touched by my work the better.

12. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
It is my intention to sensitive people to nature through my photography’s and to encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.

13. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
The core of my message would be to respect nature and its creatures. Watch out for the tiny ones which don´t have a big voice. And if you like my pictures beware of that they are only a reflection, nature is the original.

At Work:

»It is my intention to sensitive people to nature through my photography’s and to encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.«

Awards:

- GDT Naturfotografen-Wettbewerb (Society of German Wildlife Photographers)
- 2015 | 1. Platz Gesamtsieger des Jahres "Sumpfsiegwurz"
- 2015 | 3. Platz Vögel "Abendsänger"
- 2015 | 5. Platz Andere Tiere "Krötenzauber"
- 2014 | 4. Platz Vögel "Schöner Rücken"
- 2014 | 1. Platz Pflanzen & Pilze "Spotlight im Wald"
- 2014 | 4. Platz Pflanzen & Pilze "Waldhyazinthe"
- 2013 | 1. Platz Andere Tiere "Im Spotlight"
- 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere "Baldachinspinne"
- 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere "Lauerstellung"
- 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Pflanzen "Mooskapsel"
- 2012 | 2. Platz Pflanzen "Sonnentau"
- 2012 | 1. Platz / Gesamtsieger des Jahres "Krötenwanderung"
- 2010 | 1. Platz Andere Tiere "Wespenspinne"
- 2009 | 1. Platz Säugetiere "Eilig"

Europäischer Naturfotograf des Jahres
- 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Pflanzen "Lichtspiel"
- 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere "Blaue Stunde"
- 2012 | 2. Platz Andere Tiere "First Kiss"
- 2008 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere "Hängepartie"
- 2008 | Lobende Erwähnung Atelier Natur "Sonnentau"
- 2006 | Lobende Erwähnung Vögel "Im Sandsturm"
- 2006 | Lobende Erwähnung Atelier Natur "Tau im Spinnennetz"

BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- 2015 | Finalist Wirbellose Tiere "Wings of summer"
- 2015 | Finalist Plants "Meadow Canvas"
- 2012 | Erwähnung Kaltblüter "Sizing Up"
- 2009 | Lobende Erwähnung Tier Portraits "Hare Sitting Tight"

Asferico International Photography Contest
- 2015 | Highlight Vögel "Middle spotted woodpecker"
- 2015 | Highlight Andere Tiere "Canopy Spider"
- 2015 | Kategorie Gewinner Pflanzen & Pilze "Herp Paris"
- 2015 | Highlight Komposition & Formen "Spawning cords and tedpoles"

 

Project: Nachtgeträumtes

My motivation for this series was the experience that nature never sleeps. There are only other species that have opted for the dark time of the day. The full moon is a natural source of light to capture night-time species. At the same time full moon or night is regarded by many as a special time and for special events.

Photography means designing with light -regardless of the time of day. Therefore, the night shots are in my work equivalent to those produced at daylight. There is, however, a higher degree of difficulty in capturing animals in front of moon, especially when it appears in full splendor -a phenomenon that happens only 12 times a year for one night. Choice of position (free view, no disturbing elements), exposure (light-dark contrast) and the selection of the lens, focal length (image sharpness, scale) are decisive as aesthetic and compositional means for these motifs.

Such motifs need special planning, and only for the reason that there are only a maximum of 12 occasions a year. On top also the weather conditions must allow you to see the moon. Furthermore, it is necessary to choose the appropriate, night active species as a motif. You need quite a bit of knowledge about the behavior of these animals. You need knowledge on the geography (the course of the moon, the local conditions for choosing well the location for your camera…). Much time and preparation is needed, and, last but not least, some luck that the bird you want to capture actually shows up and that the perspective is right.

I still have some ideas for this series and am planning to realize them. And only for the reason that there is only one opportunity a month, it has a special charm to create such rare pictures.

Project: Endlich

For more than 100 years wolves were regarded as exterminated in Germany. Sightings are possible today, but are very rare, since the animals are extremely careful. Capturing them in the wild is an even greater challenge.

I am happy that they are now reintroducing to local forests and enriching our fauna. The attributes attached to them are stealth, shyness, intelligence, speed, vigilance, and so on. It is a subject that triggers and polarises emotions - not only because of all the mystification from the past.

Of course, as a wildlife photographer, you also want to create images of this exciting species, which is most closely associated with the term "wild". I spend a lot of my time finding the wolves and getting the opportunity to expand my portfolio with this species.

As a means of aesthetics, I choose a long focal length. In the picture’s composition, it is important to try to predict the movement of the animals. A lot of patience is needed. I sat for over 300 hours until I could capture first image of a wolve. As the wolves are just beginning to return home, I still see many possibilities to continue working in this context.

Project: Lichtspielereien

It was and still is my drive to really paint with the lens all those natural, almost mystical moments in nature.  Here, where nature can unfold unhindered without human influences, I find my motifs.

The stylistics I use in this portfolio characterizes a large part of my work. For aesthetic reasons, I in most cases decided for a short focal length or a macro lens and a lower camera position. The composition is based on the inclusion of the brighter parts as part of the picture.

A clear, undisturbed evening sky is good for these pictures. The location in connection with the course of the sun must be carefully chosen.

From this context, I have developed another series, which soon will be shown in an exhibition in Schleswig with the title "Fairy Tale Hour".