He has always refused to call himself a photographer. His brilliant geometric compositions, the interplay of light and shadow and risky high-angle perspectives are currently displayed in an exhibition. We talked to @konaction aka Konrad Langer about the charm of cities, mobile photography and diligence.
You’ve always refused to call yourself a photographer – currently you are hosting two photography exhibitions. Are you still refusing the label photographer?
Concerning my exhibit, one can talk about it as photography, for sure. But I still struggle to label myself as a photographer, as you said.
I believe that what you achieved in mobile photography is brilliant and that your stream is a great example of how to create interesting and fascinating photos with very few tools. Is there a trick that always works?
Working hard always works. As well as looking for new places, creating ideas and putting them into pratice. Of course there are motifs which always get a good response on Instagram, either because they are graphically well made, because they trigger positive associations or create a surprising moment for the viewer. You can’t find those on demand though.
Apart from a few exceptions your stream looks very urban. You show empty spaces, the individual surrounded by architecture and patterns of modern housing constructions. What do you find intriguing about the City – concerning both composition and content? And do you think you match the spirit of modern times?
Hehe, I am happy when I meet any spirit at all. Seriously, there are many things I am attracted to in cities. The contraries, the surprises, the traces of history – exactly those places where the city is made tangible. I am fascinated by big settlements of modern housing, because of its visual language but also because of the melancholic atmosphere it often spreads. The more a city seems urban and dense to me, the more fascinating it is to capture.
For some photographers the city is a collection of sights – what value does it have for you?
A state of consciousness. A place of contrasts. A playground.
Which criteria does a spot need to have in order to be captured by you?
I like places that have a structure, caused by architecture or contrasts due to light and shades, but also patterns from a high angle or a negative room. Surprises are another aspect I look for or whether I can manage to purposely create an illusion by alienating the context.
Most of your travels are city trips – as far as I remember you were impressed by Hong Kong where you took amazing photos – how do you prepare for your travels? Do you plan a lot beforehand or do you just go with the flow? Do you pay much attention to any local Igers?
I really like to visit cities, especially because of Instagram I got inspired to see certain places. On a perfect day I don’t have any obligations and the entire day to be out and about and explore. Very often a plan a little bit ahead, to have a rough plan about where to go and what to see. Especially when it’s my first visit, I like to walk around by myself. That’s when I’m the most productive and curious. Of course I always meet local Instagrammer – in this way I made many great contacts and memories. I’m very grateful to be part of this community.
Berlin is your homebase. Which places would you show to your friends, which are your #hiddenplaces?
Such situations usually happen very spontaneously. I don’t have a certain program I go through with friends who visit me. Most of them already know Berlin anyways.
Any plans for 2016?
Definitely do some traveling, further I work on developing within the area of my interests and capacities.
You told me once that you are attracted to mobile photography due to its limitations. Nothing keeps you from composing a great photo – does a professional camera appeal to you at all?
To be honest, it does not only appeal to me, at a certain point it is a necessity to use a professional camera if you want to develop in the field of photography. Everyone who did this step will confirm that. Eventhough, I like the visual effect of many phone cameras and I adapted my visual language to the technical requirements. It’s fun to make the best out of the shots I took with my smartphone and to surprise people with its quality. My personal Instagram account still is mobile only.