Juri Bogenheimer: The Real Face Of Feelings – The New Ones #7

Interview with Juri Bogenheimer

Photos by Juri Bogenheimer – ©All rights reserved

The genre of portraiture has been used from the very beginning to show the individual and to express his peculiarities, his dreams and his sufferings. For these reasons, it has remained one of the most popular genres over the years.

Juri Bogenheimer is a portraitist who has dedicated himself to photography since childhood. He experimented with various genres before finding his true inspiration, moving from memory photos to nudes and finally to portraits.
His artistic vein was encouraged by his family background and became established when he discovered great photographers such as Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh. The faces photographed are characterized by the expert use of lighting that captures not only the face of the character but also the idea that the photographer possesses.

Next up is our interview with Juri. Take a look!

Hello Juri, thank you for taking part in this interview. Tell us a bit about yourself and your character.

The description Best Ager probably describes my age and my stage of life quite well. Born and grown up in Bonn, I am, typical for the people of this region, a positive person with always a joke on my lips.

What is your personal photography background? When you first become conscious of the fact the portrait did, is your preferred form of expression?

Photography has been with me since childhood and I have mainly experienced it in a family context. Photo albums were ever-present and there were also wonderful old pictures of my grandparents and the time. For a long time I was not aware that portraiture was my form of expression, because I also photographed nudes, for example. At a certain point I became aware of what faces do to me and what I do with faces. The power, the desire, the joy, the suffering is nothing other than life itself. And at the same time I often feel that I fail to take this pure life into account. Portrait photography is longing for life. From that point on I called myself a portraitist.
It’s sometimes really crazy how old you actually have to get until you discover the motivation for what you do. Wolfgang Zurborn (Cologne artist/photographer) once said to me: “There is a reason why you do what you do.

Are there any great portrait photographers from the past who inspire you? Which lessons have you learnt from them?

Richard Avedon is certainly the photographer who has influenced my studio work the most. The power of his portraits still fascinates me today. I have spent many hours in the studio trying to recreate his composition, depth and light. He taught me that a white background, light and a person are enough to create a work of art.

Peter Lindbergh is also an artist who inspires me. The way he portrays people often seems so natural and also sometimes casual. A way of seeing that I like very much. It takes an inner attitude to create such images and a specific technique.

I have learned from these powerful images that before I release the camera, I ask myself what I actually want to achieve.

Portraits are one of the most complex photographic genres because they face two people. How important is empathy to you?

Empathy is very important for me and my way of photographing, as I depend on my models trusting me and allowing themselves to be guided. I often create portraits that show the subjects in a way they don’t know themselves. This is only possible if the model allows it. But I have also had sessions where this connection could not be established. The result is usually pictures without magic.

In your portraits, how much do you attempt to evoke characteristics of the individual, and how much do you look for yourself?

It is not my intention to portray the characteristics of the person portrayed. Rather, I create an expression of my inner need or experience in the model’s face. I cannot put into words what it is that captivates or touches or fascinates me. It is a confrontation that deeply satisfies me when it succeeds.

Of course, not every one of my portraits has this intention and depth.  I also love the play and the craft and then call these pictures a “photographic finger exercise”. Interestingly, these are often the images that the models like, often closer to the mainstream.

Photos by Juri Bogenheimer – ©All rights reserved

As we all know, light plays a fundamental role in photography. How much do you think light affects the results of a portrait?

For me, light is the key to a good portrait. This can be diffuse daylight that optimally supports the mood, targeted studio light that creates contours or also the deliberate play with light and shadow gradients. Certainly, you can’t always influence the light, but you always have the choice whether to photograph or perhaps wait.

I don’t leave the light to randomness, but work with flash, reflectors, or diffusers if necessary.

How do you choose the people you want to shoot and the locations in which you do your work?

On the one hand, I have people I have worked with on and off for over 10 years. When I call, they are available.

But it also happens that I contact people specifically when I think they are a face for me.

And then there are models who see my work in other models and want something like that. That’s also a reason why I sometimes only do beauty, because you automatically get requests.
There are faces that fascinate me immediately. But I have also learned that a session is always good for a surprise. You can’t always know at the beginning what will happen during the work.

Good or suitable locations are indeed often the most difficult problem when you have a tight budget or even don’t want to spend anything at all.

Thank goodness I have a network that has grown over the years and I know a lot of people I can ask.

I never do portraits spontaneously, but have a basic idea for which I then look for a location. In the case of studio photography, this is easy because I can set up my equipment anywhere I find enough space. But I also take pictures during the day in bars or nightclubs that don’t open until the evening. You just have to ask, many owners of bars, sports clubs, restaurants, cinemas, etc. are open to good photography. But they don’t want to be associated with cheap-looking nudes.

I have seen your project called “Auf einen Schlag”. Why the monochrome choice? Do you think this decision might affect the reader’s feelings? Moreover, if so in which way?

In my opinion, the reduction to black and white conveys the emotion best. Sweat, struggle, self-conquest. It also seems documentary somehow, as I was used to it from press pictures – in the past.

The location was a sports centre and the fighters wore different colours. Colour would have just looked colourful here. I think if you decide to use colour, you should also make sure that there is a certain colour composition. That was not the case here.

In colour, the hobby and amateur character would be in the foreground and the dramatic would be lost. That’s the reason I decided for black and white.

How did the project “Out of Africa” come about, and how did you develop it?

Out of Africa came about because I wanted to test the CINE film Sibersalz. This film is a Kodak motion picture film (vision3).
From the beginning I had the idea to create an atmosphere as you can see. For this I needed a young couple and a Defender. We started at 6.00 in the morning to have a soft light. I used a Nikon D100 with an 85 mm lens. The story is acted, but thanks to the light and atmosphere and the actors, it looks quite authentic. The film was developed and scanned at Silbersalz. In post-processing, I only increased the gradation, as the scans come out very flat. That is all.

What are your upcoming works?

I am currently working on a book.

The title is TWENTY and it’s about the time when my parents were in their 20s, so it’s a bit like their grandchildren.

I interviewed my father and mother and documented the interview photographically. All pictures were taken in analogue 6×6 with a Rollei SLX and show identical cropping and composition. What you see is ultimately a documentary recording of a sequence of conversations. My father is 88 and my mother 87. This work is very personal and important to me. I am currently in talks with publishers.

Looking forward to seeing your new project, we wish you good luck! Thank you very much for answering the interview

Photos by Juri Bogenheimer – ©All rights reserved

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