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|
Ship Of The Desert, comprised of a model ship in a sandbox.
In 2004, Herbrich was asked to document German athletes headed to the Olympics in one of the largest European photo productions to date. “Olympic Heroes,” shot for STERN, one of Europe’s largest magazines, posed the German competitors as actors portraying a variety of Greek myths, from Apollo slaying Python to the mourning of a fallen Achilles, the arrow still penetrating the vulnerable tendon. Herbrich was given wide latitude to follow his creativity and produced vibrant images for the series.
Advertising and sponsoring has poisoned everything, Herbrich explains. No one can imagine doing something without it. Working for magazines is much better. I normally can do what I want, and they like it. In magazines, there are no art directors who want to be the photographers.Despite his successes, Herbrich finds that art directors and ad agencies often hinder his personal expression, as they’re too focused on the initial layout or idea and not as open to his input. Other times, Herbrich is given a layout that has been nearly perfected in Photoshop and he wonders what it is that they need him for. There are some agencies, primarily in Asia, that Herbrich is still excited to work with; however, to fully explore his ideas, Herbrich works directly with magazines or funds his own projects to get away from the restrictions of the advertising world.
Call Centre, in which Herbrich built a box of mirrors that reflected a single model and extremely bright monitors, which also were used to light the scene.
As Herbrich moved away from the sterility of modern advertising, he also started to pursue his own fine-art projects with more vigor. The body of work “Smoke” used high-speed capture, scientific flashes and thousands of exposures to create simple, elegant images where the folds and tendrils of naturally manipulated smoke is the only subject. The final photographs were displayed at ART COLOGNE and in several galleries and art exhibitions.
And Herbrich hasn’t stopped there. Whereas he’s still establishing a name for himself in the advertising, magazine and art worlds, he also writes articles, teaches workshops and lectures on photography. He has put together several small books where the photography and the text share the story. He sees his future in book projects.
“On one hand, I am a photographer; on the other hand, I am an author, a writer,” Herbrich says. “I did some columns for a magazine and did some books, and I like public speaking. My dream is to become a professor of photography because I can speak interestingly about the work and I love to work with young people. I did some lectures, and it was fun for me to see how people learn.”
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