Volker Birke ( Germany )

"I can't draw, but release the shutter (I suppose)."

All his life Volker Birke has been fascinated with nature, particularly sea and landscapes, and how it relates to personal feelings, atmosphere and moods. He got his first camera around the age of 10 more than 40 years ago (taught by his father, later on doing photography primarily self-taught).

Therefore, artistic sea and landscape photography has always been a favorite subject (viewing landscape paintings also, e.g., created by Caspar David Friedrich or William Turner in the late 18th and 19th century). Although, he is much interested in other genres of photography as well. For the last ten years, he has primarily employed digital SLR cameras (Canon), though still shooting and developing film (primarily b&w 35 mm, Zeiss and Yashica cameras) occasionally.

True to him until today:

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.

It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.

Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."

(Albert Einstein)

"My job as a photographer is to bring order to chaos. While it's true that our world is full of visual richness, it's also true that our world is full of visual chaos. The difficulty in creating strong, dynamic photographs is in dealing with that chaos. Out of an infinite number of elements, I (and you) have to select and arrange a certain number of them into some visual harmony.

Consider the difference between a painter and a photographer. Starting with a blank canvas, the painter constructs an image by adding only those elements needed for visual excitement. But my job as a photographer is to eliminate, to strip away many of those chaotic elements that exist in front of me until I arrive at the strongest possible image." (Norton, B. 2001. The Art of Outdoor Photography - Techniques for the Advanced Amateur and Professional, Voyageur Press, Hong Kong, ISBN 13:978-0-89658-459-4, 12)

According to Harald Mante, Retired Professor of Photography at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, some main principles have significantly been impacting Volker's work so far: experience, good concepts and coincidence (trusting to chance) Any image can be evaluated at two different levels: firstly, regarding content and message (rational recognition and emotional reaction) and, secondly, quality of composition and design (including arrangement of image elements and color management, tones etc.). The content of an image is chiefly evaluated by the viewer whether it conveys a certain information or not and according to his or her interest in this information. In order to create good image contents, experience, good concepts comprising creative, original, innovative ideas and / or sheer coincidences (trusting to chance) are required. Remarkably enough image contents can yet be recognized even if a poor technique or composition has been applied to the image. Therefore, a good technique and composition are primarily required to facilitate and support the recognition process.


Gallery Echiquier