I’m excited to share this interview with German landscape photographer Johannes Nollmeyer. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing next to Johannes on several occasions and it’s always an inspiration to see how he works – and the final images speak for themselves!
Thank you for taking the time to do this. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you got into photography?
I’m now 25 years old and live in Germany‘s South West, where I grew up as well.
My photographic journey began in my early youth when we spent day and night at the local skatepark and started capturing moments with an old DSLR.
In 2015, I finally got a degree in Photography and had already worked as a photographer for a major steelworks company a couple of years. Today, I find myself mostly visualizing my environment and capturing Landscapes and Portraiture.
Though landscape photography is what you’re most known for, you’ve also done portrait, lifestyle and commercial photography. Are there any big differences between these styles or do you think someone who masters one genre can master all?
While the general understanding of how a camera works will help you through any kind of photographic field, there are still huge differences in the way of capturing these. I would rather suggest finding a specific field to focus on and master it, than ending up as a “jack of all trades and master of none“.
Following up on the previous question, how important is it get out of the comfort zone and try different genres in order to evolve as a photographer?
While my own comfort zone is shooting landscapes, I always love to challenge myself trying out new things and techniques and often found excitement for completely different categories.
In my opinion, your images have a calm but dreamy appearance. How would you describe your style?
That’s hard to say as I never really tried to put my own style into words – but what I usually want to achieve is a clear, authentic and balanced look, which reflects the mood I had while shooting the scene. From now on I might describe it as “calm and dreamy”, that fits pretty well!
You’ve done a great job in creating your own, recognizable, style. What tips do you have for someone who’s trying to find his or her own?
That’s nothing to get done in a week.
I would say developing a very own style is a long process, which never really ends. A good mix of the way you shoot and the way you process is the key. One doesn’t develop his own style while just putting presets on random images, it’s more of finding things in your own photos that make them stand out from others and reproducing these without really thinking about it.
My style also reflects my very own individual taste, how I see my environment and even minor parts you find in many of your photos can help getting recognized.
Many of your images are from less known locations. Can you take us through your process of planning photography trips?
With internet and social media it’s not that hard anymore to find popular scenic views and plan to get there, but every region of our planet has it’s very own characteristics, so turning around from what everyone else is pointing their cameras at and finding beauty in scenes that aren’t shot a million times can be worth a lot.
Several map applications and photo platforms help to get to the most beloved viewpoints and find impressions of what we want to see by ourselves. I usually plan my trips for sunrise and sunset at places I’ve previously seen somewhere to have an idea about the environment and have a plan what to shoot when I don’t find anything else.
Getting off the crowded path during daytime and scouting for different places made me end up more than once shooting a completely different scene than originally planned.
Our world has so much more to offer than the classic postcard views, but there‘s no right or wrong for me what to shoot – there might be a reason these are postcard views. But most important is to just get the photo you want to get, as long as you respect nature and the local rules and enjoy being there rather than being frustrated about a not so epic sunset.
What are your top 3 tips for someone who’s just getting started with photography?
The first thing I would suggest is not to always focus on the latest and most expensive gear, just take the camera you have or the one you can easily afford, get out of your bed and shoot as often as you can.
The second thing I would suggest is to pick up a single prime lens and try getting as much out of it as possible, which often forces us to get creative and out of our comfort zone.
My third suggestion and most important is to shoot for yourself, not for others. You have to like what you do, no matter what anyone else is saying to put you or your work down.
Where is a dream destination that you would like to photograph, where you haven’t yet been?
That’s easily Patagonia.
What’s one piece of equipment you never leave without, and why?
As stated as second suggestion two points above, I once challenged myself to only shoot on a fast 35mm prime for a while and since I got used to it, it’s always the first and most versatile thing to put in my bag.