Marcus Schäefer is a multi-disciplinary artist and a film director who has expertise in storytelling. As a photographer he gives powerful messages to the viewer.
What makes a photograph powerful?
"I believe there are a few aspects that make a photograph powerful, one of the most significant one‘s is the fact that photography itself is the only language in the world that everyone can understand. You look at a good photograph and you will get the message. However, what I find even more interesting is playing with that particular message and altering it at my own discretion. I personally am not interested in capturing so-called „reality“ - it‘s my very own interpretation of reality that intrigues and motivates me to do photography. There is a certain poetry in photography that projects an artists‘ view on the world - how they see it or how they want to suggest seeing it by harbouring the ultimate goal of self-expression. It‘s like creating a new, universal language that people would still understand without difficulty - that‘s what makes photography truly powerful."
Marcus’ photography is composed of Black and White which is inspired by his mindset and he believes it does not have a limiting effect on storytelling.
Do you think black and white has a limiting effect on storytelling?
"I think it‘s the complete opposite - when it comes to my work black and white actually opens up entire new avenues of escape and expression and therefore isn‘t limiting at all. It‘s like entering an upside-down realm that is much more sensitive, abstract and intimate than the world of color. Especially the non-color black helps composing and steering otherworldly vibes in a non-color realm. In my eyes, black is the embodiment of dichotomy, on the one hand it‘s very dominant, strong and intimidating, whereas on the other hand it‘s sort of vulnerable, melancholic and sensitive. Black is multidimensional, seems endless and makes me think of the dark, infinite universe, black holes, gravity and the beginning of life. It‘s mesmerising and makes me reflect about myself like staring into a mirror. Black is absorbing and seems to come across as very depressing, frustrating and dead, but is actually extremely sexy, vibrant and uplifting. That‘s really what I love about it and therefore the element of black and white is fundamental in all my creative endeavours and I am using it as a central component to my visual messaging. "
In your world view, is the world black and white or does it lay in a grey area?
"I don‘t see the world in black and white - I see it in all its rawness & color just like everyone else does. However though I am scanning it and am seeking for opportunities to intercept and create my very own interpretation of what I am viewing to take the observer on a journey and have them dwell in my individual perception of a moment in time and space. That particular moment is a manipulated excerpt of the „real world“ and is translated into my predominately black and white story telling. I see it as an act of observation, interpretation and translation."
Storytelling is done by the individual Marcus believes that his storytelling should be done by what he sees and interprets; this can be seen in his drawings.
How does drawing influence your photography?
As mentioned above - I tend to not shoot the exact likeness of something, but capture my personal interpretation of what‘s in front of my camera. It‘s more about creating a specific atmosphere or feeling, rather than the static reproduction of reality. Drawings help me understand and guide this specific photographic approach and also sometimes make my photographs become a hybrid form of a drawing. By blurring outlines and modulating tones I want to allow one form to merge into another (same happening in my drawings) and create a certain other-wordly mood. What I specifically like about drawings is the idea of an instant creative outpour capturing my most current state of mind and emotions which often leads to unexpected, beautiful results and makes every single drawing unique & authentic in it‘s purest form. Honor the error - that‘s something that I actually learned from drawing and then more and more applied to my photographic practices. Both my drawings and photographs depict an emotional communication with the audience - the individual perception is never really identical and that’s what I love about it. So, my drawings undoubtedly became the most significant inspiration for my visual narrative in photography.
Which form of art sets you free?
Any form of art sets me free since the initial idea of art is that there is no guidelines and no limitations.
1. Drawing - 110 x 150 cm (43 1/3 x 59 inches)
2. Drawing - 70 x 100 cm (27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches)