Expressing feelings in a visual way – Interview with Max Robl
Max, it’s a pleasure to have you today for an interview! Could you please start with a brief presentation?
Hi, pleasure to be here and to get the chance for the interview. I’m Max, 29, originally from Bavaria in Germany, but living in Tyrol, Austria, at the moment. Professionally I am working in Marketing/E-Commerce for a global brand distributor company specialized in consumer goods. Next to that, I am also a musician and am trying to get this passion of mine, next to taking photos, on another level.
Looking at your stunning portfolio, its genuineness and spontaneity really stand out. Can we say that the camera works like a visual diary for you?
I think that this is kind of true. I always try to have my camera with me when I am on the road or just in general. I try to capture my everyday life in a different way than it may appeal to me at first sight, by creating this kind of dreamy atmosphere for everyday objects or everyday situations, e.g. by having a morning walk on the beach or in the mountains. I also always have certain “moods” in my head, stuff that I am feeling right now, and I want to express these feelings in a visual way. At least I am trying.
Between landscapes and portraits, your work has a high degree of consistency, given by the remarkable use of natural light. What is your process for identifying good light to photograph, regardless of the weather conditions?
I would say always having the camera by my side helps a lot, because then it is easier to take advantage of great lighting situations that may occur only in certain moments. Other than that I use some Apps on my phone, e.g. GoldenHourOne, to just be sure at which time sunrise, sundowner and blue hour will be happening. Other than that, I always try to keep my eyes open for good light and capture the moment.
Some people feel the impulse to shoot when they come across an interesting subject, others for the right lighting conditions, and others when they find the perfect frame by peeking into their viewfinder. When in reality, a good photograph is the result of the combination of all these factors simultaneously, and we can see that in your images. What about you? What triggers you to take the camera to take a picture, and what do you do when the ideal conditions are not met?
For me, it is a lot about trying out and, as said before, capturing certain feelings that I am experiencing. Luckily, I can always count on my girlfriend as my personal model for portraits, which I am really happy about, but also for expressing certain situations more vividly. Of course, a lot of pictures turn out differently than expected, but that pushes me to try different things that often end in a new way of seeing things, and that personally helps me to develop my photography further.
Of course, even with all these perfect conditions gathered, you can only capture the picture with the right tool, and you’ve already used a few Fujifilm camera models, correct? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different Fuji cameras you’ve used? And which is the one that most often goes with you on a daily basis?
To be honest, I was very sceptical in the beginning when a friend of mine offered me to use one of his Fujis. I came from the full-frame section and was using a Canon 5D MkII for all of my pictures. What I did not like, though, was the size and weight of this camera, even though it had an excellent image quality. After trying out the Fuji X100F my friend gave me, all this changed very quickly. I was also starting to do analogue photography at that time, and the Fuji just felt exactly the same, but in a modern way. I have to say it really blew my mind, also because it’s so small that I could just always take it with me. The image quality, despite the smaller sensor, was just insanely good, and the handling was just so much more intuitive. I then bought a Fuji X-E3 and used some old vintage lenses with an adapter, which I really liked, but the crop factor using these lenses and the lack of autofocus kind of made it a bit harder to explore my full potential. The camera that I fell in love with and use the most still is the X100F, which by today, I own one myself.
Zooms or prime lenses, and what’s your favourite focal length?
Definitely, prime lenses, since the image quality is outstanding and I love the 23mm f2 (35mm equivalent) lens on the X100 series, which in my opinion is the best lens on a compact camera. The format just pushes me to develop my skills just by using a prime focal length and not switching between lenses.
Finally, we could not fail to highlight the beautiful film look of your photos, usually with a generous amount of grain, which gives them a timeless appearance. Would you mind sharing with our readers what’s your workflow to obtain this kind of results?
Sure! I solely edit all my photos using the Lightroom App on my iPhone, by transferring the RAWs via an Adapter to LR, so I am always ready. Normally I play around with a bunch of filters that I have created (must be more than 100) and then try to find this special feeling that I want to achieve. I play around a lot with color grading and changing the color of light to a completely different color than natural. Also, I often use a ProMist Filter on the lens, just to get a little bit more of that analogue touch that I love from shooting with old cameras. Adding grain certainly helps achieve this special look even more, but I do not always use it.
“I’m Max, 29, originally from Bavaria in Germany, but living in Tyrol, Austria, at the moment. Professionally I am working in Marketing/E-Commerce for a global brand distributor company specialized in consumer goods. Next to that, I am also a musician and am trying to get this passion of mine, next to taking photos, on another level.”