Germany based fine art photographer, Victor Hamke, shoots portraits and weddings. Self-taught, photography didn’t come to Victor through a family camera - he bought into it himself. Victor’s philosophy and his ambition is people oriented, and focussed on relationships - not just social media centred. When you look at Victor’s work, you feel his sensitivity - his storytelling vision marries surrealism with documentary - a style so unique, soulful and poetic that it completely mesmerises.
1. What do making images mean to you?
It means many things at once. But first and foremost it is a gift to be able to express myself through images – it is an own language.
I spend an enormous amount of time with photography, reflecting on what I do and extending my skills. Besides the persons I love, photography plays the most important role in my life.
2. Where did you grow up and how did that play a part in your photography?
I grew up in Western Germany. Everything went pretty normal. After school I studied Literature and Media. Photography started to play a role in the midst of my studies. At first it was just a hobby, but I became addicted pretty quickly and things developed their own dynamics. I'm not that person who already took his first photos with the camera of his dad.
3. When did you find your calling in photography?
A few years ago. Everything started with portraiture, but I soon found out that portraiture was not enough. I started to experiment with digital manipulation and spend a ton of time on learning everything I needed to create what I wished to create.
4. What is your favourite non-photography pass time?
Spending my time with my dearest, my friends and family. My life is dominated by two things: People and visual art. Of course I also listen to different kinds of music, watch movies and enjoy a thoughtful conversation. But probably most people do. :)
5. What movie did you love recently?
I loved "The Revenant“. That movie was really striking – wow. Pretty intense and raw. Not too much story-telling going on, but I was absolutely impressed by the atmosphere and the acting.
6. Is/Are there any project(s) you wish you could do - or might do?
There are. For the wedding portfolio I still wish to spend a greater amount of time with doing Styled Shoots. I have done it in the past, but I think it is so much fun and time well spent off-season.
7. Do you shoot with your left or right eye?
I shoot both. Also I recently questioned myself if the decision to use left or right would have an influence on my perception – because there's that thing about one part of the brain being responsible for the emotional things and one for the logical things. I will try to find out.
8. Who do you respect - in photography or elsewhere?
I respect sensitive, kind people. The world can be a rough place and I find it so rare and precious to meet people that actually care for others. Not just social-media Likes, but real interest and empathy. Sometimes life feels very hollow with all the superficial connections to others.
9. If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Why?
I would have started earlier with photography. But everybody has to take a different way and I'm completely satisfied with how things evolved. I need a lot of time just reflecting on what I do. The result is that I sometimes take a break from taking photographs for several weeks (excluding business things that have to be done). When I come back, I'm always a little better and thoughtful than before. The mental aspect is very important for me.
10. Where do you see yourself in 10 year’s time?
This is what I hope to see: Being someone with few regrets, who treated his precious ones well and followed his intuition. Fear plays a huge role in most people's life. In mine as well and I hope to have gotten rid of my fears in 10 years. (Realistically I am sure though, that I've overcome some fears while others popped up)
Bonus Q: Do you think the gear you use affects the way you photograph? Why?
The gear is my tool. I'm not religious about that and I think that you could even create beautiful things with an iPhone. But for a photographer it is a beautiful experience to have capable tools that make your job easier. I photograph with Fuji cameras and just with primes (mostly 35mm, 52mm and 85mm equivalents). I really enjoy the rise of mirrorless cameras and I love to use them. Small, effective and brilliant IQ. In the end it really is a matter of taste and I respect photographers no matter what they use. As an artist I may just follow my feeling, but the responsibility as a professional is also to have the right tools at hand to be able to fulfil your clients' expectations.
See also Victor's work as featured in Before/ After.