After two articles about his photographic work, Ingolf was so kind as to grant us an interview. Ingolf has become a household name, especially in Germany, under the nickname “Ostakt,” with his fine nude art photos, but his talent has many more facets. You can get a glimpse of his photographic work here.
Could you please tell us something about yourself?
I have been photographing seriously since 2005 and was introduced to this hobby purely by chance.
Can you briefly tell us about your photographic background? When did you start taking photographs, how did you start?
Like everybody else, I photographed while on vacation. After a chance encounter with a nude photographer, I became involved in similar photography, and in developing films myself and enlarging prints in the darkroom. The technical stuff is one aspect, but there also is a lot of very dry theory. I devoured some theoretical treatises from the GDR on nude photography. It was not always clear to me why all this is necessary, but there are many things one can always look up again. I think one can see in pictures if the photographer has also engaged in the gray theory.
What photographic style do you prefer? Would you like to specialize in a specific area, such as street photography or portrait photography?
I prefer natural photography, both in portraits and in photography of nudes. I would prefer my nudes to be classified under portrait photography, despite the fact that the portrayed persons are naked. It actually is not about nudity as such, but always about the person.
Can you tell us how your workflows from the moment you get the idea to the stage of final presentation?
When a model asks me what I have in mind, I usually have to match the setting. I plan only the location, which should provide as many lighting situations as possible. I shoot digital now, but I still have the black and white look. A photo usually works for me only if I do not have to spend more than a minute processing time.
Could you possibly provide a tip to the amazing fine art photograph style, how much the pictures are processed afterwards, and what else one should take into consideration?
I cannot give any hints, because everyone has to find his own way. Good, bad, who can judge?
In your opinion, what constitutes the art of producing extraordinary fine nude art photographs, and what are the characteristics of a good picture in this field?
A good picture? I cannot really say. One actually develops oneself, or should at least try to. What I liked 3 years ago will probably bore me today. But for me, the most important thing is actually how the photographer regards the light.
What equipment do you use and what are your favorite focal lengths?
Technique is of secondary importance. For years I photographed with a Canon 400 D and 550 D with a 50 mm fixed focal length, which, by means of the cropping factor, could result in the ideal 80 mm portrait objective.
What characterizes your work in comparison to other fine nude photographers / portrait photographers?
I really cannot say that.
Were there interesting incidents in your photo shoots, whether funny, embarrassing or sad?
The interplay between model and photographer is always exciting. One can never predict the outcome.
What are the most important experiences you had during your photographic career?
One has to constantly invent anew, anything else is boring.
What advice would you give to a newbie for his/her photographic career?
One should be in control of technology, but should use as little technology as possible, talk to the model, whether dressed or naked, it makes no difference.
Were you inspired by other photographers, and if so, which ones?
Günter Rössler, Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton, Ruslan Lobanov
Would you like to tell us about something that is important to you?
Developing further, constantly searching for new things.
Thank you very much for this interview. We will follow your progress in photography and will continue to be inspired by it.