Ilka Noggler & Franz Thomüller are a German/ Austrian photographic duo based in London (UK). They are known internationally for their quirky and minimalist portrait and conceptual work. For more about the duo, read the interview below and check their website www.ilkafranz.com.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Franz: We are a German/ Austrian photographer duo based in London and interested in colourful, quirky and conceptual people and object photography.
Ilka: And sometines animals.
Whom do you look up to?
Ilka: I can only think of Franz right now, who I admire for his skillful problemsolving on set. While I’m still thinking how we could do it, he’s already fixed it and set the light up as well. True story. He’s pretty smug about it too though.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Ilka: Thankfully we had each other as support and to push us forward. Without Franz I would probably not have made the leap, I had to learn to live with the uncertainty that the career brings, and without me Franz would have been way too lazy! There have also been two friends, who have a lot of industry knowledge and have always helped with all sorts of advice we needed. They believed in us at a very early stage, when we didn’t even believe in us yet.
How did your photographic career start? What made you want to become a photographer?
Franz: Neither of us had linear career paths. We both had different jobs before we came to photography and I think working a job that you don’t particularly like can help you come up with a better plan. We were definitely both always creatively inclined and photography was always an interest.
What was your favourite project and why?
Ilka: I tend to favour whichever project is our newest one.
Franz: I love the ones that we haven’t even started yet, the ones that are still just ideas!
Ilka: But I think among my favourites are our portraits of the husky dogs, which was a commission for ad agency Adam & Eve DDB for Halifax and also our portrait of Camilla Rutherford.
How do you define creativity?
Ilka: Constantly having ideas and actually realising them. And being able to turn something boring into something amazing.
Franz: And doing all that while being true to your own taste and vision.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Ilka: Quit dreaming and start doing.
Franz: And don’t give up. Making art is hard and it takes a lot of work, practice, dissapointment and doing things over, but it’s worth it.
What`s your personal motto?
Franz: I think we don’t have that.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
Franz: I think it’s really hard to develop a creative vision or even work out what you like and don’t like and what kind of work you want to make. Then there is a time where you start to see that your work is not as good as it could and should be. That’s very frustrating. So finding your creative voice and the skills to express it is one of the hardest things.
Ilka: And somehow earning enough money to pay the bills while you figure all that out is a challenge too.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
Ilka: I’m from a German small-town, where most people stay in the careers they went to uni for and only very few people create their own paths. It was in London where I learnt that you can make your ideas a reality. I really think we can achieve most things by working hard and re-inventing ourselves and keeping at it. I learnt that quite late and it would have been useful at 21.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
Franz: I think you never completely lose your passion for it, right?
All images © Ilka & Franz