The Gateway To A Fantasy World – An Interview With Robert Jahns17. November 2016 0 comments
Award-winning photographer Robert Jahns combines artistic photography with surreal, extraordinary imagery. The WhiteWall Ambassador takes viewers away to a fantasy world where reality and dreams become one and the same. With over 990,000 Instagram followers under the name @nois7, Robert Jahns has built up a gigantic fan base. His brilliantly colorful pictures create novel emotions shared by the artist and the viewer. An unspoken agreement is the foundation of all his work: let your imagination carry you away to parallel universes!
What inspired you to become a photographer? And what inspires you now?
When I was 15 years old, my father bought a new camera. I just picked it up and started shooting, because I wanted to try something new. When I am taking pictures, I am inspired by the most diverse things. I look at thousands of pictures on a daily basis. I love to read, and I listen to a lot of music. These are all factors that influence my work. The craziest ideas often just come to me.
Your photography is very multifaceted. What would you say is your thematic focus and why did you choose that?
I don’t consciously pursue themes. Instead, I decide on a concept spontaneously. It is important to me that my pictures cause a reaction. They should bring a smile to your face or make you daydream. I think it’s interesting to dream big and not just to see what already exists. After all, many of my works couldn’t exist in reality, so I use digital editing techniques to create images that look “real”.
How would you describe your style?
I create surreal visual worlds, where you aren’t sure if they are real or not. My style is unique and the pictures are memorable. Maybe you have already seen one of my pieces in your dreams!
Your portfolio contains a picture of an elephant tied to helium balloons and floating over New York. What is the story behind this picture?
At some point, I asked myself if it would be possible to make an elephant fly by tying it to a bunch of balloons. My research indicated that it would actually work with about 50,000 helium balloons. I had this vision in my head, but couldn’t realize it with real objects. So I created the digital image and made sure it was as realistic as possible. My vision became a reality, and now everyone can share it!
What significance does digital editing have for you?
Post-processing is very significant for me. It is the most important and intense part of my work. Without it, my art wouldn’t exist at all. During editing, the true magic of my pictures is created.
Is photography a learnable trade or does it mostly come down to talent?
Naturally you can learn how cameras work and which settings to use for which situations. However, the creativity behind it is not so easy to learn. Good photographers set themselves apart through their measure of creativity and how well they execute their ideas. On top of that, you have to stand out from the crowd: being unique is an important characteristic.
What kind of equipment do you use?
My professional equipment consists of a Canon 5D MIII, several Canon lenses (24-70 f2.8, 16-35 f4, 50 f1.8, 35 f1.4, and 70-200 f2.8) and various action cams. I also have some analog cameras and create smartphone photos.
In your eyes, what makes a good cityscape?
I try to depict places in a way that people have never seen before. If someone creates a cityscape that hooks the viewer and engages them at a deeper level, then that is a good photo in my opinion!
How do you handle criticism?
I never let criticism get to me. Throughout my many years of experience, I know exactly when an artwork is finished and whether or not it turned out well. I work on a single picture for days and always consider the concept and execution. That way, I can determine whether or not I can improve something. I am a perfectionist and my own worst critic.
Product recommendation: Robert Jahns is thrilled with the quality of glossy acrylic glass. “Thanks to the especially brilliant colors, the pictures are very impressive. The acrylic glass offers protection and, above all else, looks very sophisticated, meaning my photos can be presented in the quality they deserve.”
You also do a lot of commissioned work. Do your clients’ ideas ever clash with your photographic instincts?
I always have an in-depth conversation with clients in advance. I want to find out what is important for them to decide if I will be able to deliver that. It is always important to me that I transfer the image in my head into reality and make it come true for myself. In the end, the client also wants the outcome to have my signature style. If a client wanted something I would not want to do, then I would not start the cooperation. However, it has never come to that.
Do you have a photographic role model?
Not one role model in particular, but there are always artists who inspire me. They don’t necessarily have to be photographers. I am always educating myself in areas like “Social Media” and self-presentation. Next year, I want to hold workshops to share my experiences with other photographers.
Any advice for new photographers?
As a photographer, it pays to be highly original rather than simply imitating everything. If you want to “recreate” existing photographs for your own experience as a learning exercise, that’s totally fine – but you shouldn’t publish them. Also it is important to learn from your own mistakes – you can’t beat yourself up just because something didn’t work out the way you planned. It is important to get in touch with other photographers and always keep a dialog going – even the very first conversation can be very instructive and inspire you!
Robert Jahns wants to show the world how he feels. He likes to share special moments and capture his emotions so that others can experience them too. The artist listens to himself and gives the world something very rare: experiences, feelings, moments, and seconds of change and revelation.
This interview was conducted by Andrea Bruchwitz and translated by Benjamin Arntz
You can find more information about Robert Jahns on his website and on his Instagram profile @nois7.