Germany born and California based Integrated Media Photographer Claudia Goetzelmann creates stunning, colourful and imaginative fashion images, having won numerous awards for her outstanding work, including the International colour Awards in 2010 and 2009, the PDN selfpromotion award in 2009 and CANON proFashional award Germany 2008. Inspired by her artwork we wanted to know a bit more about the person behind the camera and asked for an interview. For more images check out www.claudiagoetzelmann.com.
Whom do you look up to?
I don’t really aspire to be anybody else. I feel it’s a dead-end road. One can take clues and inspiration, ideas and then make it my own.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
There was/ is no particular personalities so to say. Perhaps some teachers who encouraged me to pursue my passsion. My biggest influence was and still are my travels. Africa and Asia definitely shaped me. All the places I’ve lived in are also reflected in my images: I’m German, so my work is very graphic (laughs), and then there’s Asia, so it’s also kind of calm and Zen. California, where I now live, is colorful… So I feel like it’s all that, and maybe it’s a little bit whimsical, a little bit understated.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Fashion Advertising photographer, German by birth, visual globetrotter by heart.
How did your photographic career start? What made you want to become a photographer?
I got my first camera at the age of four. I always wanted to be a photographer, but that wasn’t what I did. I studied Social Law, only to find out that I didn’t really like it. I also always loved traveling. So after school, I combined the two and moved to Africa. That became the starting point for me to begin my journalistic work. I photographed a lot of people – indigenous tribes, people I’d just met, etc. I was living in Nigeria at that time. I had an exhibit at the Munich Stock Exchange and the Nigerian ambassador came to the opening. And then I moved to Indonesia and did the same thing. Asia was way easier because they have a bigger infrastructure and it’s more open to photo/ travel journalism. For example, I shot for Cambodia Airlines. I got to travel all around Cambodia to take pictures; I took pictures of flight attendants in Angkor Wat and other remote places for their ad campaign. I moved into advertising while living in Singapore. I never thought that I would end up in the fashion world. I now happily live in both worlds, advertising and fashion. It’s perfect for me.
Quotes and Wisdoms
How do you define creativity?
Can I rephrase the question to what stirs my creativity?
My inspiration – and influences – come from the many activities I do: my travels, meeting and interacting with people, and cultures I encounter around the globe. I like to get off the beaten track and experience the beauty of nature and things that are out of the mainstream. I try to surround myself with people who think outside the box and dare to be different.
What is your favourite quote?
My logo is an old Tao sign that says, “Without observation seeing is impossible.” It’s literally an eye on legs and it also resembles a camera on a tripod. In the era of 20-second sound bites and instant news cycles, it is a very important reminder that we have to look in order to really see. Inspiration is all around if you look instead of just rushing to the next thing.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
Haha – that becoming a photographer also means becoming a psychologist, marketing expert, creative director, human wrangler, actor, book keeper, tele-marketer, art curator, editor, photoshop specialist, tech geek…I am thankful for all knowledge added, but I wished that someone would have told me, because I probably would have taken some Marketing classes for example.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
No – it’s always been my passion, even if I would not shoot commerically I would always nuture this passion…it’s a part of me and defines in a way to who I am.
All images © Claudia Goetzelmann