Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Thomas Herbrich: Magic Man
Using models, stock imagery and digital manipulation, Thomas Herbrich’s work unfolds from his unlimited imagination
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
A city is draped in red silk, with gentle waves of fabric spilling over high-rises and trees, and covering the streets. A horde of elephants is marching single file across a precarious bridge. An Air Milan flight is being fueled with crisp, clean water. The images that come from the mind and studio of German photographer Thomas Herbrich defy logic and inspire imagination. Herbrich has created an astounding body of work full of magical imagery, working with small-scale models, stock imagery and studio photography to craft images that arrest the senses.
Mercedes Soap Road, with 2,000 commissioned bars of soap
“I learned still-life photography there, and even today my photos are still-lifes,” Herbrich explains. “In a still-life, you arrange objects, and I now arrange photos to a final photo-composition.”
Though he gained essential skills in this environment, he wasn’t satisfied with the creative outlet.
When Herbrich was 24, he saw the film 2001: A Space Odyssey in the theater and his life was forever changed. The next day he told his mentor that he would no longer be coming to work, but rather pursue filmmaking and create effects like he had seen in Kubrick’s masterpiece. Seeking a project to work on, Herbrich met then-unknown German director Roland Emmerich who was putting together a film called Das Arche Noah Prinzip. The film opened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1983 and was Emmerich’s first big success. One critique, in particular, compared the special effects to those in 2001.
I was in the film industry, but it wasn’t what I had expected, he explains. You are always only a little cog in that crowd of movie people. The final movie has only a little of your style. So I went back to photography.“That was my work,” Herbrich says proudly. Working on the film was an important stepping stone for Herbrich because it allowed him to pursue his creative imaginings and ultimately resulted in the realization that he didn’t want to be involved in filmmaking.
“I was in the film industry, but it wasn’t what I had expected,” he explains. “You are always only a little cog in that crowd of movie people. The final movie has only a little of your style. So I went back to photography.”
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