KÜSTENLIEBE – Coastal Love
a phototalk with @lioliene
Endless sandy beaches, rough winds, the sound of the sea, fairytale forests that seem almost mystical, and wonderful people who enjoy life. Our PICKMOTION photographer @lioliene totally fell in love with the life near the coast, especially of the Baltic Sea, where she found the perfect place for her soul. “Küstenliebe” is the German expression for that special feeling – it could be translated into coastal love, a special love for the whole atmosphere of living life near the coast of the sea. We share this beautiful spirit of the Baltic Sea in our Cities & Regions Collection with the world out there, so it’s not surprising that her photos just had to be on our postcards. Today you can find out more about Leonie and her passion for creating beautiful moments.
First of all, can you introduce yourself who you are, where you come from and where you are currently living? A BIT ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL BACKGROUND.
Hi! I am Leonie, 31 years old. I am originally from East Westphalia. In late summer 2016, after finishing my studies, I ended up in Greifswald near the Baltic Sea quite spontaneously, after passing through various stations. I have been living here with my husband since then and I feel very comfortable.
WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING? AND WHAT RELATIONSHIP DOES IT HAVE TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
I studied landscape architecture and work in a planning office. We work on a wide variety of projects there and usually design open spaces in urban environments. These can be playgrounds, parks, urban squares and much more. I came to landscape architecture through my love for nature, but also through the joy of design. To me, it sounded like the perfect combination of the two. It turns out that there’s a lot more to it than that. Landscape architecture is a very interdisciplinary field.
In relation to photography, my studies taught me to look closely, perceive moods and sometimes change my perspective. I really enjoy capturing landscapes that have different effects on me depending on the weather, the season, or my own state of mind.
HOW DID YOU START YOUR path AS A PHOTOGRAPHER? HOW HAS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS?
Already as a child, I loved looking through photo albums. Both of my parents took a lot of analogue photos at times. I think I adapted a certain sight for things back then. When I got my first digital camera, I started myself. But I was quickly frustrated by the poor quality and so at some point, I bought my first SLR camera. At the same time Instagram came up and I thought it was great to create my own “gallery” there and to get inspired by others. At that time I also saw Instagram more as a photography app and less as a selfie platform. Over time, eventually, I began taking photos more and more with the iPhone.
I find it difficult to say exactly how my personal style developed. I’ve always been attracted to simple, often unnoticed, everyday motifs, which I then frame into calming moments. These compositions are mostly bathed in soft, warm light. When I scroll through my gallery, the style hasn’t really changed much. When choosing a motif, however, I have become more consistent, I know more precisely what can work well in which way.
But it is still the case today that photography is just a hobby for me. I haven’t made (almost) any money with it so far.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
Most of all, I am still inspired by nature. In it, I feel closest to myself and can find peace. Although it can be so rough and unpredictable, for me it is one of the most healing places. Nature brings out the beauty and wonders in the most surprising moments. If I’m lucky, I experience moments like this and capture them.
Your photos appear minimalistic and show delightful, well-thought-out compositions, but are also very atmospheric at the same time – how did you develop this style?
This style was created totally intuitively. When I’ve taken a series of photos, in the end, I often liked the ones with the most reduced detail. At some point, I noticed that I often work with the golden ratio and that too was more of a gut feeling. I also usually take photos in very clear light conditions. I love deep blue skies or dramatic cloud images. My place of residence near the coast often plays a positive role in this.
AS one CAN SEE FROM YOUR FEED, YOU LIKE TO BE ON THE GO, HAVE A passion FOR SOFT COLORS AND LOTS OF COASTAL LOVE IN YOUR HEART – HOW DO YOU BEST CONNECT THEM?
I have already discovered a few favourite places for myself up here, but I am still far from finished exploring the Baltic Sea coast. Capturing these places photographically is often an additional motivation for me. For me, the coast offers a lot of potentials and the soft light is often there by itself. But there are also times when I just want to enjoy without taking the photographer’s sight with me.
Does the place you come from or where you currently live have a big influence on the photos you take? If so, to what extent?
Totally! If I lived anywhere else my gallery would look very different. If you scroll back a few years in my gallery, you will also find many pictures from Berlin, for example. I lived there for a few years and that influenced my photos as well as my current life on the coast. So pretty obviously I’m photographing what’s around me. Nevertheless, I perceive my photos of nature to be stronger than urban photos. Nature just touches me more.
What are your personal positive discoveries, experiences and developments that you made and are making during the pandemic?
I realised how privileged I am. I was able to continue doing my work and in a safe environment. If it got too much for me during this time, I had the empty beaches on my doorstep to take some deep breaths.
In addition, shortly before the pandemic, we bought an allotment garden near the water. There we could let off steam in gardening, make plans and clear our heads. That was an absolute blessing! I recently created a small, second Instagram account for this purpose: @wilde_parzelle.
What do you think of the IG community you have built? Do you exchange ideas with other IGers or did you already meet? Have there been any special collaborations?
I’m not the type to be in close contact with my community. Of course, I am really happy about nice comments and I also like to distribute them myself when I see something great. The bottom line is that for me it’s more about inspiration than exchange. Nevertheless, nice contacts have been made here and there that I’m very happy about. A long time ago, I took part in one or two Insta meetings, for example a boat tour with the @nordlotsen through the Rostock harbour. But that’s not my main focus at the moment.
Cooperation has not played a role for me so far. My number of followers is too small for that, I think. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter at all with PICKMOTION, the focus is simply on the photos. I am really happy that after the first postcard, the next round is now going on!
Do you have a favourite photo that you took and what is the story behind it?
One of my favourite photos shows the Amrum lighthouse, which stands out from behind a dune and is illuminated by the sun, with a dramatic cloudy sky in the background. Amrum is a very special island for me. I lived there for a year after graduating from high school while doing a voluntary ecological year. That was an intense year that shaped me a lot.
During my studies, I ended up on the island again for a few weeks. At that time I was in the final stages of my master’s thesis. In order to clear my head in between, I went forays across the island. This photo was also taken then.
Do you still send postcards yourself?
Absolutely, I’m totally into it! Mostly on special occasions or while being on vacation. So pretty classic. I am also always very happy about postcards myself. It’s just small, personal gifts.
Did you know PICKMOTION before our cooperation? And if so, from where?
I’ve known PICKMOTION for a long time. If I remember correctly, even at first from the bookstore. While rummaging through postcards, I suddenly discovered that some of the photos came from Instagrammers whom I follow. That’s how I found out about PICKMOTION.
Can you name three of your favorite IG accounts?
@Lindaberlin I’ve been following for a long time. I love her style and motifs. She captures some really great places, especially in Berlin. That always reminds me of my time there.
@kraut_kopf moved from Berlin to MeckPomm (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) just like me. In contrast to me, really in the rural countryside. How they created a new home and a beautiful garden there, that really inspired me. Not to mention the fact that they’re great photographers!
For me, @minusgold is a very impressive woman who gives an honest insight into herself and her life, and she doesn’t leave out the darker ones either. She is a great writer and she also shows analogue photographs every now and then, which I really like.
Is there anything else, an anecdote or a funny story that you would like to share with us? We are happy about everything.
When it was slowly possible to meet people again after the big lockdown this year, good friends came to visit us. We spent a wonderful summer day on the beach. Back home, I noticed that my wedding ring was gone. We searched everything, but he was simply no longer to be found. I must have lost it on the beach – it was hopeless to find it there. I was sad and a little pissed off at myself that I could lose the ring in less than a year of marriage.
A few days later I came home from work in the evening. Actually, I wanted to go straight to a friend, but my husband Max wrote to me that I had to wait for him. Back home, he proudly handed me my wedding ring.
What happened? He borrowed a metal detector from friends of friends and used it to search the beach for over an hour. After dozens of bottle caps and other treasures, he actually had my ring in his hands. A little miracle!
We love the stories that photos and people have to tell. You too? Would you like to find out more about the photographers who are behind the motifs of our products? Then check out all of the other wonderful and interesting #pckphototalks.