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Friday, June 15, 2007

Holger Maass - The Idea Comes First

German photographer Holger Maass is an artist whose surrealist images are firmly grounded in photographic and digital technique

The Idea Comes FirstOne can't merely look at a Holger Maass photograph; one is visually transported into a different place and time, not necessarily of this world, bringing to mind the quote, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Maass' photographs are more like snapshots of the deepest fantasies and dreams one has while lost in thought in a magical world only existent in your imagination—or in his imagination.

Surreal people and places take the place of the mundane. Gorgeous women and men tease you from the pages of a Maass advertisement, beckoning you to enter their impenetrable world. You would go, if you could. Alas, this world of brick and mortar keeps your feet planted firmly on the ground, leaving the characters and situations in Maass' photography alive only in the mind.

But as fanciful as Maass' images are, his visual inspiration comes from much more grounded work. The likes of Rubens, Botticelli and Titian have all inspired Maass' work. He's an avid visitor of Renaissance art exhibits and a devotee of European traditional art. His unique fusion of classic work and modern digital manipulation lends itself to a style that's solely his own.

Where many new photographers can edit and create images that might look contrived and overdone, Maass has turned the process into a bona fide work of art. There's no mistaking Maass' photography as relying heavily on postproduction work, but as he himself admits, “A terrible or boring image will never become a good one using digital techniques.”

Continues Maass, “Many people take picture after picture, hoping that you can correct everything with digital manipulation techniques, but this is not always true. Sure, you can give that picture this special kick, but only if the source picture already was a good shot.”


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