Hi Nur Mut! Please write a short bio to introduce yourself, such as your name, where you are from, how would you describe your works, what do you enjoy, when did you became an artist, what modes of art do you use, anything you want relating to your arts.
My name is Hannes Schulze a. k. a. Nur Mut. I am a freelance graphic designer and photographer from Berlin, Germany.
As a photographer I mainly shoot landscape and nature images during my travels. It’s a great contrast to my regular job where I mostly sit in front of the computer. This duality allows me to keep a good balance.
I started to pursue photography in a serious way during my studies in 2006. There I learned all the technical skills but mainly with a focus on product and commercial photography. However, I quickly found that nature is my preferred subject. Photography became my way not only to capture stunning views but also the memories I associate with these moments in my life. I am not a person that shoots hundreds of images. Sometimes I even come back from a location without taking any. But that’s ok. For me it has to come naturally and feel right. This way photography will always be an enjoyable process and part of my journey.
I only started to sell my work much later because I never thought that someone might be interested in buying my photographs. But with great e- commerce platforms for artists, I was able to reach a growing audience and thus people that like my work.
Can you talk about your creative process?
Well, the only real preparation I do is to always have my camera gear packed and ready to go. I keep the batteries charged, the memory cards formatted and everything as clean as possible. This ensures that I am always able to take a photo when the opportunity arises.
As far as location planning goes, I don’t really do that. I travel to places I personally want to see. When I am there I just roam around and most of the time don’t even intentionally visit the »must see« landmarks. So you could say that my process is about »discovering« great compositions rather than planning ahead.
Which shot was the hardest to set up for?
I would say the image series »Balloon Ride Over The Alps«. We needed to book a balloon, start the trip very early in the morning to be in the air during sunrise and also get lucky with the weather.
The series »Northern Lights« was also a bit tricky to set up. I needed to try a lot of different camera settings to capture the lights during the night. They also need to show up in the first place and when they appear, they are also moving around in the sky so you constantly need to adjust your compositions to get the best shot. Because they are so mesmerising and beautiful to look at it’s also hard to look away and find the time to take some photos.
City Kid, Country Eyes. Could you elaborate on what that quote means for you? Also, something about a sheep farm?
I was born, grew up and am still living in a very exciting city. Germany’s capital: Berlin. I enjoy all the benefits of living in a vibrant city with all the cultural offerings and the around the clock availability of everything. It’s a very comfortable life. On the other hand however, I don’t like big crowds of people. It makes me tense up and become uneasy.
So when I want to relax or calm down I am drawn to the wide and open landscapes, where there is nothing but nature as far as the eye can see. So I am from the city but I need the countryside to balance out the negatives of urban living.
This is probably also why I spent one year living and working on a remote sheep farm in Iceland. It was a crucial time in my personal development and I still have a strong personal connection to Iceland and my host family. The farm became my second home, a place to recharge, that I try to visit regularly.
Which location or country is your favorite for photography?
That’s really hard to say. The country I have the strongest personal connection to is Iceland. I have been there many times and whenever the plane touches down it feels like coming home. Since I always travel to countries I really want to visit, I am rarely disappointed. I would like to return to most of them right away. My highlights would be the Lofoten Islands in Norway, New Zealand’s North Island and Iceland.
Do you have a personal favorite photograph and why is it your favorite?
I think my favourite image is the one called »Stick Together«. It was taken during one of the most exciting times in the Icelandic farm year called »Réttir«. I encourage you to look up some images of this event. During summer, all sheep from a region roam the Highlands freely. In early autumn they are gathered and need to be sorted so that every farm gets back their own sheep. So for a couple of days the community of farmers, their families and friends come together to sort thousands of sheep. Sounds strange but it’s just the most fun thing ever! A great memory.
Have you ever been to Indonesia? Would you like to go someday? If so where do you have in mind?
To be honest, I haven’t yet thought about traveling to Indonesia. I have worked with Indonesian exchange students before and they have always been super nice, clever and in general nice people. They told great stories about their lives back home and it’s fascinating how different it is from my life here. Despite our different lifestyles and cultures we always got along very well.
So I will add Indonesia to my travel list. Location wise, without having done much research, I would like to go on a trip through a real rain forest. I have always been fascinated by their pure size and diversity of life. It must feel like stepping into another world where you are just a tiny, temporary visitor.
Outside of photography, what do you enjoy or like to do?
I am a huge fan of bouldering (indoor rock climbing). Since I am working as a freelancer graphic designer and can mostly organise my day to fit my needs I made it a habit to go bouldering 2–3 times a week. It’s a great exercise and allows me to clear my head whenever I am working on a busy project.
Riding my motorcycle or bicycle is also something I enjoyable very much. Sometimes I go for a ride just because it’s fun. Which I guess is a pretty good reason for anything to do.
It may sound funny but I love to grow plants. Either from seeds or collected plants from my travels. I enjoy to take care of them, see them grow and develop. It’s my morning ritual to go through the apartment, check on the plants, water them and see how they are doing.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring artist perhaps specifically photographers?
Shoot for yourself and your own enjoyment. Don’t do it because you want to make money with it. In my experience this creates a certain pressure and expectations that can lead to frustration. Capture scenes and situations that interest you, that move something within you. When you have a personal connection with your work it turns out way better than if you solely do it for a profit.
But that’s just my point of view as a kind of semi-professional photographer that enjoys taking photos to capture memories.
If you then want to sell your art, there is no better way to start out than to work with an e-commerce company that supports you as an artist and shares your work with an art loving and growing audience.
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