I like to see myself as a bit of a photographic mythbuster. For almost eight years, I’ve been behind the world’s longest running photography podcast Tips from the Top Floor, reaching a global audience. I’m deeply driven by the wish to understand why things work a certain way, why taking a picture one way will create a certain emotion in the viewer and how that can be used to learn to take even better pictures. Like for many, shooting from the gut has served me well for the longest time, but things have only really started to change when I began to deliberately move my entire understanding of photography from the gut into the conscious, learning to be able to create pictures that touch the viewer on a different level. Regularly producing several shows and setting myself up against the expectations of a large and eager audience have been some of the greatest drivers of my life – and I love it!
The regular production hasn’t just been an exercise in constant learning about photography, it is also deeply linked with acquiring the expertise to reach and talk to a very diverse international audience and with building communities on various platforms. Producing and distributing compelling photography content while building several audiences, and moving from old school message-only marketing into a dialog-driven interaction model have opened up an entire new world for me.
These shows and communities have come to be the foundation on which I built my own workshop business from scratch. This has brought me from Europe to the US, to Canada and Japan and even got me to hold the world’s highest photo workshop at Mt. Everest base camp. I am also the driving force behind PocketChris, the photo instructor on your iPhone. With a weekly appearance as the Photo Guy and Photographic Mythbuster on Leo Laporte’s Tech Guy Radio Show, I reach an US-wide radio and international online TV audience.
How did you get started in the business? Who helped/guided/mentored you?
I started myself. Back in 2006 I was laid off from a financially sound daytime job, facing the question: what now? I decided to transform my side business into something bigger and become my own boss. I have never looked back.
How many After Dark Events have you attended and what’s your favorite moment?
This is my first AD as a mentor, I was at AD Kansas City as a participant in 2012. Moments: All of them. (yes, I admit, that was lazy.)
Special Message or Advise for AD attendees?
Take it all in. Track down the mentors you’re interested in. Don’t be worried if you get a little overwhelmed during the first one, chances are you’ll be back for another AD. And a third, … Also, being a bit of a night owl helps.
What are your top 5 skills?
- Broadcasting / New Media
- Explaining anything photography in simple and easy terms
- Finding the good available light
- Video Production
- I’m bilingual, English and German
- I shoot Canon. And Zeiss Ikon. And Kodak Brownies. And Voigtländer. And Camonix. Holga anyone? Marcury II? I’m also not opposed to cardboard boxes with holes in them. Pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Doesn’t have to be digital.
- Specialty Market: Busting photography myths and giving my students as many a-ha! moments as possible.
- One of my secret super powers is quite geeky and computery. You’ll have to ask me personally at AD if you want to know more.
Majority of Business:
- Commercial Work
- Available light as much as possible. Elinchrom inside the studio, manual small flash outside.