Stefan Falke is one of those few photographers that have excelled in almost every possible field within the trade. Reportage, freelance work, documentary photography, travel and movie stills. He was born in Germany and has been living in New York intermittently since 1985. He is currently working on a long term project about artists that inhabit the US-Mexican border. He is also a member of the German photo agency, ‘Laif’. Stefan has also worked with some of the biggest names in the media industry that include Warner Brothers Germany, GQ, Architectural Digest, Elle and Reader’s Digest.
Emaho spoke with the multi-faceted photographer, Stefan Falke…
You’ve covered almost every genre of photography. Which are your most favoured?
I have still left out many genres, like landscape and still life. I wished I could do landscapes, but I am not good at it. Funny enough, I seem to shoot decent landscapes with my iPhone, then turning the photos into digital Polaroids, but that’s it!
What made you give up your career in civil engineering?
No regrets at all, it wasn’t for me. I had nothing better to do, my father was an engineer. I am grateful for the chance I had to find out that I was going the wrong way. I was already a photographer by heart without knowing it.
After having published books, hosted exhibitions and done movie stills for a bunch of movies, do you think you’ve achieved your goal yet?
There is no goal to achieve; it’s a life-long journey. Well, maybe this one: I am a working photographer and I am making a living from it without having to do other unrelated jobs. My goal is to keep it this way because I do not want to do anything else but photography.
Do you think living in a metropolis like New York helps making it big in any field of work in terms of exposure and contacts?
No. New York has more photographers than any other city I know of. It is very difficult to make it here, and it is a daily effort. But I happen to like it here. It is a luxury to live here; we all work for the rent. If I had stayed in my hometown I might have been ‘big’ now. But it is not about that. It’s about continuity in my work.
Do you think over editing an image to enhance its artistic elements is legitimate?
Everything is legitimate. I just don’t do it. A bad picture does not get better by enhancing it and a good one does not get much better. I learned that more than 35 years ago in my darkroom. I do some light basic enhancement like tones and colour.
What’s your favourite thing about being a celebrated photographer?
I am not a celebrated photographer, I am just a photographer. I love working as a photographer. Simply doing the daily work is important. I love to create.
You’ve worked with the biggest companies in both print and film making. Name one client you simply loved working with.
Warner Brothers Germany…
Have anything to say about Emaho?
I like the diversity of the articles in Emaho and the fact that Emaho is interviewing me! Thanks guys!
Interviewed by: Manik Katyal and Marukh Budhraja
Photographs by: Stefan Falke