SEVERIN KOLLER

contact

Instagram
mail@severinkoller.com

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statement

To me, the most important element in my work is believability. No matter if it is a portrait, a street photo or work for a client, I need to feel conscionable about what I create and publish. Despite that a photo is never an actual reflection of reality and the processes of editing, it is the message that has to fall into line with my beliefs and ethics.

Personally, I use the camera as a tool to create a cosmos of images, to understand and interpret life in retrospective.

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Timeline

1986 - Born / living until 2018 in Vienna

since 2005 - Working as a photographer and in the darkroom

2005 to 2008 - Studying at Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

since 2006 - publishing my personal photoblog

2007 -  Mandatory Service

since 2008 - Traveling and working internationally

since 2009 - Producing commercials and music videos

2014 - Publishing VIENNA

2018 - Moving to Los Angeles

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thoughts

On Truth in Photographs

 A photograph does not tell a story. When you look at it, it's your personal interpretation of what you read or project in it. We combine the elements we see and compare it in our mind with our data and knowledge. To awake emotions, it needs a personal connection to the subject, or knowledge of the context of a picture. Most people will feel certain emotions, when looking at a photo of a dead body. It is the information of how and why this person died, that will make us feel anger and disappointment. Without the context, a photo will be interpreted in all kind of ways.

You take a portrait of someone who is in love with you. Some time later that love between you dissolved. No matter when you will look at the photo again, the love that was captured, will stay visible to you and maybe even emotionally accessible. You know that what you look at, is true, captured in that photograph. Truth can not become untrue by time, it doesn’t expire. The photograph documents it. Yet as humans we can’t freeze our thoughts and emotional states by taking photos. It is a misconception that we can save a feeling. We can only create images, so our mind can revisit the past and attach these pictures to our memories.

Looking at photographs can be interpreted as looking at truths from the past. Sometimes we wish we could go back in time, to be young again, to meet those who had died, undo mistakes or make that love real again. In this case, photographs are just illusions. These are truths, that we can see, yet not unlock into the present moment. These photos become traps for the human mind, canvases for our projections that we feed with nostalgia and wishes of looking at something that we know once was true.

On Street Photography

I see Street Photography as a study of life, reflecting the place, people and time in its pictures. Photographs that solely focus on graphic elements, without telling a story are studies of form. If well executed, they are pleasing to the eye but might just be decorative. That is no critique on different approaches, like for instance a focus on atmospheres or expressing something more personal. Not classifying it as Street Photorgaphy is no devaluation of the work. Quality can be measured from different view points. It is important though, to keep certain standards of what defines strong or classic Street Photography. A picture doesn’t necessarily need to include people, but it always has to be related to the human condition. In any case, it needs to tell a story about human existence and the stronger the message or impact on the viewer, the better the photograph.

The quality of someone's work will show over a longer period of time. The value of Street Photography can’t be found in a conglomerate of random photos or a couple of lucky punches, but in selections that form a bigger picture that reflects the Zeitgeist.