Herr Willie, who goes by the moniker @wil6ka, is an ardent globetrotter and passionate film photographer. Being a TV journalist and filmmaker has taken him to places some could only dream of, capturing truly inspiring stories along the way.
Welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Willie Schumann, but I also go by Herr Willie. I am from Hamburg, Germany, and I spend most of my time being a TV journalist and filmmaker. My biggest passion is probably analogue photography. I am interested in people and I like to go to strange places. I am writing about some of them in my column for Lomography Magazine called The World According to Herr Willie.
How did your interest with photography start?
I have always been a very visual person. On the other hand, I was always surrounded by storytelling in my family. I am from East Germany and my dad was a journalist, too. Other than most East Germans he was allowed to travel to western countries, which was really exciting. When he came back from a journey he presented his photographs in extensive slide shows, which turned out to be major events. I think that really triggered my passion for telling a story with a single frame and going to distant places.
How would you define photography? What makes it worth pursuing?
Photography is something pure. A little frozen moment of truth. I personally have a greater emotional connection to my photographs, than to many of my films and TV reports. Maybe good photographs withstand the test of time and with film photography even more so. The look is quite often timeless. I keep on doing it in the most difficult circumstances. I shot at polar stations, in North Korea, and just recently on Mars. The process and the results keep me going.
What inspires you?
My photography is very driven by the moment and I don’t really want to control it. But I try to throw myself into interesting, meaningful scenarios and when I observe something interesting I try to capture it. So inspiration lies in the location and the people, or whenever I am out of my ordinary processes. I think cinematography inspires me, too. I would like to see my photos as a freeze frame of a motion picture.
What makes a good photograph?
A good photograph reveals a moment of truth, small or big. It carries a certain intensity that transpires. I think there are some universal rules of how we look at pictures and how we comprehend them, like a code. But this is not so much a technical thing, rather the energy of the photographer in the process of taking the picture.
Any advice that you’d like to give aspiring photographers?
I don’t really believe in life advice books and I think people that tell you about how love works, probably don’t know half of it. Photography is love. I think you just have to embrace it and go with the flow. If it comes to analogue photography I can only recommend that you take as many photographs with as many cameras and as many films you as you can. With every exposure you will learn something new and you will progress inevitably. Where that leaves you is up to you.
Meet the rest of the 2017 TEN AND ONE Awards jury.