Architecture, colour and minimalism. Abstracting urban spaces in the city of Berlin with street photographer, Ralf Pollack.
Diversity. A poignant element in the identity of our home city, Berlin. Ralf Pollack, a street and architecture photographer is someone that knows this only too well. Photographing his favourite city, his interplay of colour, form and geometric shapes highlights the diverse graphics of Germany’s capital. Stating that his approach is “abstracting rather than documenting” new positions, angles and unpredictable frames of the city come to life through his minimalist style. Through contrasting primary colours – blues and reds, new building metallics with clashing contexts and nature juxtaposed with overpowering architectural forms Pollack’s attention to detail is so defined.
Hoping to slow down his audience and perceive the everyday as a new experience – his lasting message is the hope that viewers look up and take note of light, deep shadows, colour combinations and deliberate their surroundings.
As a photographer in Berlin, what do you love and dislike most about your city?
What I like most about Berlin is its diversity. It’s often just a few steps from urban space to nature. The best example is the government district. Modern architecture with an interesting design language, directly on the Spree and the green Tiergarten. Every district in Berlin has its own highlights….you never get bored as a photographer in this city.
What I don’t like is the excessive car traffic. The city should belong to the people and not the machines.
What are the nuances you look for when venturing around a city?
I am interested in the interplay of different geometric shapes, surfaces and colors.
Light – deep shadows – color combinations – graphic elements – each of these
things can be a trigger for my work. Not to forget of course, the view upwards. This is very important in my work.. there is so much to discover.
Your style could be described as minimalist. Why this style and what influences lie behind your unique visuals?
Details have always fascinated me. The omission of the superfluous, the effect of blank, empty spaces, the concentration on the essential – is so exciting. To abstract through image details and to work out new contexts is the goal of my photography.
What inspires you the most about street photography and has this inspiration changed since you began shooting street?
The exciting thing about street photography is that you never know what you’re going to get.
The light at different times of the day and year, new positions and angles, unpredictable situations. Every day with the camera on the street is new, unique and inspiring.
In your own words, what does the term mean to you and what do you think it’s position in today’s world is?
Street photography for me is about exploring and capturing urban space. My approach is abstracting rather than documenting. When people are therefore in my photos, if at all, they are often a small part of the whole.
What are some of the images or projects you have created over your career that impacted you the most?
I see my work more as one big project that can never be finished. There are certainly photos that I like in particular at the moment or that have a certain meaning for me. This is usually put into relation very quickly – new insights, influences and experiences permanently change the perspective on my work. My most important photos are those that I have not yet made….
Do you have a favourite city to shoot in? If so, where and why?
Berlin – every day – again and again.
Your attention to detail is so defined, do you hope your audience will slow down and perceive the everyday as a new experience through your work?
That would be nice. Slowing down is so important in these hectic times. Capturing an image subject, slowly circling it, trying to understand it, and then maybe creating a great photo….
Photography is also therapy….
What one defining message or feeling do you hope people take away from your work?
I hope that people feel joy when looking at my photos. If I can achieve that with my pictures, I will be happy.