KLAUS TAMM

The German artist Klaus Tamm photographs nature as he experiences it: atmospheric, mystical and fragile.

The transition from photography to painting is quite fluid to him. ‘Photography can get things visible that otherwise would go hidden or overlooked in these fast-paced times.’ This is especially true for aspects which we so easily take for granted. And that accounts for nature and its creatures in a very special way. There is no substitute to it, no plan B. Tamm gets us to this aspect in his series ‘Lichtspielereien’.

The body of work ‘Nachtgetraeumtes’ gets us into the dominion of darkness. We walk through impressive and dreamlike full moon nights, populated by creatures, who have chosen the twilight zone.

KLAUS TAMM: ARTIST STATEMENT

I photograph nature as I experience it: atmospheric, mystical and fragile. The transition from photography to painting is quite fluid; I would say I paint with a lens. Photography can make things visible that otherwise would go hidden or overlooked in these fast-paced times. This is especially true for aspects which we easily take for granted. This accounts especially for the nature that surrounds us. There is no substitute to it. Therefore, to me it is important to capture real situations in the wild as an impressive moment and unadulterated. Nothing in my pictures is artificially created or electronically manipulated. Everything is authentic in the way I experienced it. Following these criteria, of course, the level of difficulty for the captures increases, but I think the authenticity is visible in my images.

My approach in photographic art is that I am concerned with creating an access for people to the beauty of nature and to their feelings about it. Many have forgotten how good it does to just stay outdoors. Just as “music reminds the soul of where it comes from”, I would like to give people with my poetic imagery the opportunity to a rest. Historically speaking, my family has influenced me a lot on that. Many of my family have been observing nature as they were hunters. I have participated in that from childhood on. I would like to express the joy of nature with my photographs. In addition, it is my personal concern to point out how much nature and its creatures need protection and respect. So I try to produce images that act as poetic images and documentation at the same time and are relevant to all of us.

Biography

Schon als Kind interessierte mich die Natur. Ich bin in einer Jägerfamilie aufgewachsen und war schon als kleiner Junge von den Tierfotografien in den Jagdzeitschriften meines Vaters fasziniert. Davon inspiriert kaufte ich mir als Jugendlicher eine Spiegelreflexkamera mit einem kleinen Teleobjektiv.

Ernsthaft begann ich 2005 mit der Naturfotografie und kaufte mir in dem Jahr meine erste Digitalkamera.

Es war mir immer ein Anliegen, mit meinen Fotos die Menschen für die Natur zu sensibilisieren. Mein Ziel ist es, künstlerisch anmutende Fotos zu gestalten die den Betrachter innehalten lassen.

Meine Fotoreisen führten mich in abgelegene Gebiete nach Norwegen, Schweden, Finnland, Bulgarien, Rumänien und Spanien, aber auch nach Südafrika und Südamerika und auf die Falklandinseln. Als langjähriger Naturbeobachter und Fotograf bemerke ich, dass unsere Umwelt zusehends an Artenvielfalt verliert.

Dies hat mich veranlasst, die gemeinnützige Aufwind GmbH für Natur- und Umweltschutz zu gründen. Das Ziel der Aufwind gGmbH ist es, über die Verkaufserlöse meiner Fotografien den Naturschutz zu stärken, indem sowohl regionale als auch internationale Initiativen gefördert werden.

Interview

1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
It’s always been my intention to sensitize people to nature through my photography. I aim to create artistic images that encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.

2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
There are many excellent nature photographers around, and in my eyes their work and their photographies are important because they give nature a voice and help to show people how beautiful and at the same time vulnerable our planet is.

3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
An excellent photographer plays with light and atmosphere. He is able to achieve artistic images, that cause the observer to stop for a moment and reflect – as good paintings can do, too.

4. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
I am fascinated by nature, that´s why I am spending most of my time being outside. Over the years of watching and photographing wild life I have realized that the speed of loosing the diversity of species has dramatically increased. This is why I have founded a non-profit company called Aufwind gemeinnützige GmbH für Natur und Umweltschutz with the purpose to support nature protection projects. All the proceeds from my photographic activities go directly to this institution.

5. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
I am getting very enthusiastic when I could capture rare moments or was able to achieve an image of a simple scene, yet with an impressionistic atmosphere.

6. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
As my photographs are exclusively taken in wild life surroundings, it needs a lot of patience. The challenge then is to catch the perfect moment, when the animal is behaving naturally in light conditions beyond just documenting.

7. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
Shortly after I had started photographing digitally I experimented a lot with light and exposure times to create more artistic images opposing to simple documentaries.

8. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A „NOVICE“?
First, in nature photography it needs a lot of patience. Then, one needs to train the eye to anticipate the perfect moment coming.

9. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
I’ve been interested in nature since I was a child and still I love to be outside, especially in the early mornings and in the late evenings. These offer the most atmospheric light conditions for taking pictures. Also, at these times there is a lot of activity going on in nature.

10. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
Watching wild life and being outside reminds me how beautiful nature is.

11. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
For myself I am happy when I was able to capture the right moment in perfect light conditions. And the more people are touched by my work the better.

12. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
It is my intention to sensitive people to nature through my photography’s and to encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.

13. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
The core of my message would be to respect nature and its creatures. Watch out for the tiny ones which don´t have a big voice. And if you like my pictures beware of that they are only a reflection, nature is the original.

Publications

Awards

– GDT Naturfotografen-Wettbewerb (Society of German Wildlife Photographers)
– 2015 | 1. Platz Gesamtsieger des Jahres „Sumpfsiegwurz“
– 2015 | 3. Platz Vögel „Abendsänger“
– 2015 | 5. Platz Andere Tiere „Krötenzauber“
– 2014 | 4. Platz Vögel „Schöner Rücken“
– 2014 | 1. Platz Pflanzen & Pilze „Spotlight im Wald“
– 2014 | 4. Platz Pflanzen & Pilze „Waldhyazinthe“

– 2013 | 1. Platz Andere Tiere „Im Spotlight“
– 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere „Baldachinspinne“
– 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere „Lauerstellung“
– 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Pflanzen „Mooskapsel“
– 2012 | 2. Platz Pflanzen „Sonnentau“
– 2012 | 1. Platz / Gesamtsieger des Jahres „Krötenwanderung“
– 2010 | 1. Platz Andere Tiere „Wespenspinne“
– 2009 | 1. Platz Säugetiere „Eilig“

Europäischer Naturfotograf des Jahres
– 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Pflanzen „Lichtspiel“
– 2013 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere „Blaue Stunde“
– 2012 | 2. Platz Andere Tiere „First Kiss“
– 2008 | Lobende Erwähnung Andere Tiere „Hängepartie“
– 2008 | Lobende Erwähnung Atelier Natur „Sonnentau“
– 2006 | Lobende Erwähnung Vögel „Im Sandsturm“
– 2006 | Lobende Erwähnung Atelier Natur „Tau im Spinnennetz“

BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year
– 2015 | Finalist Wirbellose Tiere „Wings of summer“
– 2015 | Finalist Plants „Meadow Canvas“
– 2012 | Erwähnung Kaltblüter „Sizing Up“
– 2009 | Lobende Erwähnung Tier Portraits „Hare Sitting Tight“

Asferico International Photography Contest
– 2015 | Highlight Vögel „Middle spotted woodpecker“
– 2015 | Highlight Andere Tiere „Canopy Spider“
– 2015 | Kategorie Gewinner Pflanzen & Pilze „Herp Paris“
– 2015 | Highlight Komposition & Formen „Spawning cords and tedpoles“