Frank Kemmerer's work is a collection of breathtaking architecture, towering geometry, vintage vehicles, analog equivalents, fabulous flora, and masterful macros, stitched together with a smile and an undeniable affection for life. In Frank’s words, “My personnel photographic manifest will never be finished, I am still on my way”. In his search to reframe and redefine photography… to switch it up, to reorder the status quo, Kemmerer continues to dazzles his viewers with each and every one of his unforgettable frames.
For me, photography is a unique form of expression in my daily life. My pseudonym for my photographic works since 2012 is LIVE IMPRESSION. My personnel photographic manifest will never be finished, I am still on my way. Photography is not only witness of the now, it also helps us in learning to see, to reframe, to question the status quo, to switch the position, and to understand the conception. Photography accompanies us on our way and challenges us to involve and to fulfil one’s self and give an impulse to the community. Photography is a daily search, the freedom to reframe, the challenge to create, the ability to document, the power to define the hero, to focus on the detail, to color the scene, to bring light in the dark. Photography is the language of the world and needs no words to express. The internet gives us the technique to share, the ability to comment, to meet the smallest and largest places and things, the cultures and styles. It’s a gift to enjoy. It is a school of seeing. It is a reminiscence of the past. It makes us responsibility for the future by using our senses, by using our brain. So let’s continue writing the photographic story together."Frank Kemmerer
Kujaja: What type of photography do you enjoy most and why?
FK: I love monochrome work and the Polaroid and classic film tones. Monochrome places more emphasis on the composition and the lines in the capture. With the Polaroid tones and some classic film simulations, it’s possible to create a captivating mute shot.
Kujaja: How did you get involved with the type of photography you’re doing now?
FK: The starting point was a business trip to Hong Kong in 2012. Equipped with a small point and shoot Nikon, I decided to invest in a DSLR and some lenses. The workflow, then, was based on a camera, my iPad and the internet. Today I mainly focused on architecture, street, and some personal work with my family and friends.
Kujaja: Do you have a unifying theme throughout your photography?
FK: Many of my captures are defined by a special point of view. I love to integrate architecture directly with the sky using the lines of the building façade, using this to compose a captivating light, shadow and line constellation.
Kujaja: How do you choose the places you photograph?
FK: Most of the time the camera is my daily companion. Thus, the places are generally random. The randomness challenges me to find interesting compositions everywhere.
Kujaja: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
FK: To find the time to improve and to create my own style.
Kujaja: Do others recognize your work when your name is not attached?
FK: One comment on Kujaja regarding my image ‘Waiting’ was, “As soon as i saw it, i knew it was yours (the crop I guess!!) AWESOME MATE…………….". This was a great compliment for me, but I think it’s a long journey developing your own style.
Kujaja: Who are the photographers who have influenced your thinking, photography, and career path?
FK: Career is not the right word but, along the way, the internet was the main driver to explore what good photographers are doing. For street I love the classics of Hernri Cartier-Bresson. For architectural work I get inspirations from the internet platforms like Kujaja or 500px.
Kujaja: How do you shoot in non-ideal shooting circumstances?
FK: The new technology gives me the option to shoot in nearly every light situation. When it’s raining, a small umbrella helps a lot. Thus, there are no excuses!
Kujaja: Do you think gear really matters?
FK: To get a great picture you need your eye and a basic camera. But for me the fun of taking pictures is linked with the right equipment. For me the portability of the equipment is important.
Kujaja: RAW or JPG and why?
FK: As mentioned before, in the beginning I was a JPG only shooter so, for my workflow, (sans computer), that was the right and fastest solution. But today I enjoy working with JPG in monochrome and have the opportunity to switch to color via camera RAW processing or post-processing in Lightroom. To recover highlights or dark parts of the capture, RAW indeed gives me more options. So today I’m a happy JPG and RAW shooter.
Kujaja: What is your opinion regarding darkroom vs. lightroom?
FK: I have no history with darkrooms and I am working to improve my knowledge and skills with Lightroom, but Photoshop is still an unknown land for me.
Kujaja: Can you describe your post-process workflow?
FK: The first three years I worked only in JPG with my iPad and Snapseed. But today I shoot in both JPG and RAW. My camera setup for street and architecture is monochrome, to get a first impression during the shooting. (My camera gives me the opportunity to select different monochrome setups and via the EVF - electronic viewfinder, I can see what I will get). The post-process workflow is mainly Lightroom, some helpful VSCO presets and Nik Silver Efex.
Kujaja: What is your best post processing tip?
FK: Try different tonalities and always experiment with monochrome.
Kujaja: Many photographers feel that we're all inundated with images thanks to the web in general. Have you seen a change in the way people interact with your photos because of that?
FK: Yes, the time is faster than ever and the perception time for a picture is sometimes reduced to a fraction of a second. The challenge is to transport your story or a little interesting part in this fraction of a second, to hold the viewer for two or three seconds or more. I love the Kujaja approach to link the capture with music. Sometimes I stay with the captures for two or three minutes with great background music!
Kujaja: Has social media played a role in your photography?
FK: Yes! First, the technical opportunity to capture, process and share at any place or time. Second, the great platforms like 500px and of course Kujaja. I also enjoy reading interesting photography blogs mainly on my IPad. One of my favorite apps for storing and sharing good links is Flipboard.
Kujaja: What type of images do you view as overdone, or too common?
FK: Every style or niche has its own fan base. Thus I will not be a judge over what is viewed as common or overdone work. As long as people have fun capturing, sharing and viewing, this is perfect.
Kujaja: What are your photography weaknesses?
FK: My wife say always I am too slow to catch the moments. I am working on it.
Kujaja: Has photography changed you as a person?
FK: Yes, I see more details, more compositions and light. Sometimes it’s a photographic meditation. It’s a daily opportunity and invitation to stay and enjoy the now, and it is a good practice to improve awareness and mindfulness.
Kujaja: And, finally, what is one question no one has ever asked you that you wish they had asked you?
FK: Today the community produces more pictures than ever. Photography is the new language of the world provided by the internet. What are the challenges and opportunities in today's photography for education, ethics, psychology and art?
Kujaja: Thank you for this interview Frank.