German photographer Christian Richter balances the beauty of nature with the grit and grunge of abandoned places into a cohesive body of work that is uniquely his own.
I reached out to Richter to discuss his work, his inspiration, and where he’s going next.
Hillary Fox: Tell me about yourself. How did you get started in photography?
Christian Richter: I started out in photography when a friend gave me his old digicam back in 2009. Exploring abandoned buildings is a passion of mine, and now I had a new toy for my playground.
Only a few years later did I pull the trigger and buy my first tripod and DSLR, in November 2011. I fell in love with photographing old buildings and later landscapes. I’m currently working towards becoming a full-time pro photographer.
What influenced your approach?
I was inspired to capture the the world with my own eyes. After I made the jump online I saw a lot of pictures from other photographers. The long exposure work from Cole Thompson comes to mind; I wanted to start learning about it. Now I’m inspired by everything—landscapes, clothing, people, food—the world is full of inspiration.
You have a striking collection of “urbex” photography. What draws you to shoot abandoned places?
I love the history of old buildings and the style of the “old masters” architecture. When inside a great old building the walls speak to you and the decay reminds us that all has an end. It’s magical.
What’s in your gear bag?
I think equipment is not so important. All new DSLR cameras bring good results. In my bag is a Canon 5D Mark II, mostly with a wide angle lens for rooms. For landscapes I sometimes use a strong ND filter, 10 stops or higher, and of course a tripod.
What’s been your favorite place to photograph?
My favorite places are landscapes and these old buildings. It’s always a surprise what you’ll find, and I think both worlds are a wonderful contrast in my work.
Where are you off to next?
I’m planning a few trips next year including Italy, Netherlands, Germany, and France.
What is your biggest challenge as a photographer?
The hardest part of being a photographer is to be yourself—to be original rather than copy work you might see online.
What advice do you have for other photographers?
The firsts steps are the hardest. After many, many and I mean many photos, you will develop your own style. Just like any sport, it’s hard work to build yourself up. Try it alone and make a lot of mistakes. It will help you grow.
Where can I license or buy your work?