« Take a Break » with Linus Ma, the moment photographer – Germany
Tell me more about Linus Ma…who is he ?
I was born on January 21st 1990 in Berlin. I mostly grew up here but also partly in Spain because my grandparents lives there, so I was there at least twice a year, in summer and in winter. That’s probably why I really like being in southern countries.
How would you describe your career path ?
Really? I only need two words for that. Quickly and lucky.
How did you get into photography ?
I was working in the evenings in Berlin clubs as a bouncer for two years. So I got to know a lot of people. In 2012 I travelled a lot, so each month I would be somewhere different and I would take a lot of pictures just for fun. Nothing special to me but then I got incredible feedback every time I was working at the club from people who saw my pictures on facebook.
That really surprised me, everybody seemed to be impressed because I didn’t take typical pictures like tourists would.
Most of your pictures are taken on the instant or in the action, was it a premeditated choice to make spontaneity the center of your work ? why this choice?
Well, staged pictures aren’t something special. The actual art of taking pictures is about catching a real moment and the people in it and that’s something you cannot reproduce with any technical device.
Why did you choose to present your work exclusively in black and white ?
There are a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s of course because I like it. Another reason is people are using Photoshop a lot these days. So everybody is just trying to enhance their color pictures somehow which in the end doesn’t look natural at all. To me this has nothing to do with “true” or “genuine” photography.
I’m keeping every raw. Since I’m showing moments there is no place for photoshop. It’s reality I’m showing and people want to identify with my pictures because they reflect true life.
It’s like this: I take a picture, I turn around and walk on. When I look at them later I think about this moment which is now in the past and for me this has to be in black and white.
Where do you find your inspiration ?
This may sound a bit arrogant but I don’t have a person which would be my source of inspiration because to me this would be like copying someone else. I want to take my own pictures. I want to find my own style on my own and so I hope to inspire other people.
However there is someone who taught me the first steps of analogue photography. I like his pictures a lot of course. His name is Antonio Adam. I really wish nothing but the best for him. If you could think of someone who really deserves to get discovered it would be definitely him.
How do you manage to reinvent yourself in your art?
The snapshots come with the travelling. The staged pictures come with the society. I like to combine things, that seem to not fit together, but still appear to be cool.
I took a photo a while back that became quite popular worldwide. It’s called “Graffiti Wall Street”, or under the different (but wrong) name “A wolf in sheep’s clothing”. It went viral on all kinds of pages like imgur, Facebook, 9gag, reddit and many more.
The picture itself shows a typical businessman on his way to work. He stops and tags a wall with a logo. A woman passes by but she doesn’t say anything.
What I wanted to show with this picture was the society in which we are living in nowadays. Today it’s really hard to get a good idea about who your counterparts really is. Deep inside us all there are secrets but not everybody wants to reveal them to the public. Or like somebody told me about the picture: The guy in the business suit could be a « politician » and the woman could be « people ». And could be interpreted as: « In politics they all are messing up and we all are just watching. »
Are there things you want to experience ? I know you travel a lot, which places would you like to explore ?
Right now I am trying to get a photographer’s permit so I can take photos in the Syrian refugee camp of Zataari in Jordania. Unfortunately this is almost impossible for a free lancer like me. If you are not working for a magazine or a newspaper it’s really, really, hard. And this is really getting to me right now. I really want to help people and show their lives that most people take for granted.
What do you like the most about your job ?
Getting to know new people. Travelling. The different experiences and of course being able to make my own hours.
What are your future projects?
Images that will move people and get them to think. Images that will stay in their minds.
Interview: Nala @ OOBMAG