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Q&A - 10 with Erik Gross

Q&A - 10 with Erik Gross

November 28, 2022


 Hi, my name is Erik, I ́m 35 years old and I live in Rostock at the Baltic Sea in Germany. I am a commercial and portrait photographer. 

 

WELCOME TO 10 WITH ERIK GROSS

 1. HOW YOU GOT INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? 

I got into photography through Skateboarding. As a professional Skater, I was in front of cameras a lot and really got interested in how photography works. I thought it would be awesome to document our skate trips so I bought myself a Canon AE-1 and took it everywhere with me, I was hooked. I am self-taught and have been shooting for 12 years now. For the last 5 years I have been working full-time as a commercial and portrait photographer, which still is surreal to me :)  

 

2.  HOW DID YOU COME TO PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY? 

I tried almost everything in the beginning, from landscape to architecture to documentary and I kept going back to portraits, it was simply my favourite. The thing I like the most in photography is to work with people. With portrait photography that is the main key element. I am fascinated by faces and human expressions, I think a good photo can show a lot about the person in front of the camera. 

 

3. WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS WANTING TO GET INTO PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY? 

I would say: portrait as many people as you can. In certain situations it can be really uncomfortable to shoot people you don’t know yet. Little by little you get used to it and it gets easier over time. The most important thing is definitely to build a relationship (of any kind) with your subject. The person needs to trust you. Always practice and push the boundaries of your comfort zone.

4. ARE MOST OF YOUR SHOTS TAKEN IN THE STUDIO, IF SO WHAT ARE YOUR PREFERRED LIGHTING AND ANGLES? 

It depends.I like to shoot both outside and inside. I definitely prefer natural light. I don't use flashes because the look never really appealed to me. A big bright window and a clean wall is what I need to create. Outside I ́m looking for open shaded areas or really low light like sunrise or sunset. An overcast day is also good for me. In terms of angles I mostly shoot eye-level, nothing too fancy.



5. HOW DO YOU GET SUBJECTS, IS THERE A METHOD TO APPROACHING PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH?

Most of the time I ask through social media or in person. If you have a solid portfolio to show, people mostly say yes. Of course the person needs to like your style of photography and she or he wants to be photographed in the first place, but even after all these years I ́m still nervous to ask people so do not worry about that, it is just a part of the profession. 

 

6. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU GOT 'THE SHOT'?


Because I mostly shoot film (at least for portraiture) I can never be sure. Most of the time it is just a feeling. A good number of times the feeling is right and sometimes the best shot is a photo I never expected to be good. So many
things need to come together. Focus, framing, expression, light and the overall feeling need to be right. 

7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOT EVER TAKEN AND WHY? 

That's impossible to say :D There are only a few photos I shot that stand the test of time (at least for me). One of them is a portrait of Verena I took years ago (Its the BW one with the fucked up film borders and the windy hair). I asked her at a party if she wanted to have her photo taken. A couple of days later we met on an overcast day at the harbour. I like that one.

 

8. WHAT GEAR DO YOU SHOOT WITH? 

The analog setup I use the most is a Pentax 67 medium format camera and a Nikon FM2 with a 50mm lens. For digital I use a Sony A7RIII with some fast prime lenses (35, 50 and 80mm)

 

9. WHAT IS THE BEST PORTRAIT LENS? 


Definitely the 105mm 2.4 for the Pentax 67. It is incredibly
sharp and the shallow depth of field is one of a kind. I also sometimes use an old Canon 50mm 0.95, which also has a crazy unique look to it.

  

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FEATURE OF THE FJORD 60-C OR FJORD 36?  


I ́m not gonna lie. I use the Fjord 60-C and I never had a backpack this good. There is a place for everything. Every feature is smart and thought through. If I have to pick one thing it ́s the durability, even when loaded completely with 20kg of equipment. And it looks really good, compared to other photo backpacks.

 

 

Check out more work of Erik's work here;

www.erik-gross.net

https://www.instagram.com/erikgrossphoto/

 



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