Semi-professional, German born photographer Lennart Bader, was only 14 when his classmate bought a Canon 30D camera. He was so impressed by the pictures it produced, he purchased a Canon 350D himself soon after. He spent the next few years photographing mainly during the holidays but without really experimenting with his photos, and because his friends didn’t enjoy having a camera around, it stayed at home most of the time.
It wasn’t until 2015 that he decided to revive his forgotten hobby during a time when he was changing a lot of aspects of his life. He started by contacting some local models in his home town of Cologne who were starting out and did his first shoot in April 2015.
After he finally had the courage to publish his pictures on Facebook and Instagram, the feedback of the community was incredibly overwhelming and his social streams grew fast. He originally shared his work without any big expectations, but photography is now a huge part of his life and even a mentionable source of income. One year on, he is still astonished by the progress he has made.
Lennart, where do you currently live?
I’m studying and living in Aachen, which is quite close to my hometown Cologne.
What genre of photography do you specialize in?
My favourite genre is a mixture of portrait and lifestyle pictures, I also love photographing travel-documentaries.
Describe your style of photography?
I love capturing moments instead of constructed setups. I don’t need a perfectly posed model, what I need is an authentic person in front of my camera and a vivid background. I love placing people in interesting environments. As I almost always shoot at 35mm and f 1.4, the background plays a big role in my pictures.
Someone once told me that I should capture moments, but how you feel them, not how you see them. I like that description.
What are you working on at the moment?
I recently photographed a summer campaign for a German watch-producer and I am still in post-production with those images.
What is your next project or assignment?
This summer is going to be all about travelling for me. I want to go to Asia and travel around without any distractions. My camera of course will always be with me. I hope to create a nice travel documentary and maybe be able to do some shoots with local models.
Are there any photographers whose work/style you admire?
I don’t really have one or two favourite photographers. I like so many styles and many photographers. At the same time I don’t even think I know most of the important photographers that you really should know if photography is your passion… For me, names are not that important. If I like a picture, I like it no matter who took it – not the other way round.
What is your favourite memory from your experiences?
Last year I went on a road trip through Portugal with my friend André Josselin, who is also a photographer and one of my biggest inspirations. The days were so magical. We were a perfect small group of people that, although we didn’t really know each other before, became very close and had a wonderful time.
You can view my photos here.
What’s the biggest photographic challenge you overcame?
Shooting a summer campaign at 4°C with a windy sea and trying to make it look like 30°C.
What’s in your camera bag?
I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
I also have several lenses (24-70mm, 70-200mm, 15mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm), but more than 90% of my pictures are shot with my favourite lens – the Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART. Whenever I take my other lenses with me for a job, they usually stay in the bag!
What photographic equipment would you never leave home without?
That would be of course my favourite combination, my Canon EOS 5D MK III and 35mm 1.4 lens.
As I still see myself as a newcomer, I don’t really feel comfortable giving big courage or advice speeches. What I have learned in the last year is a well said phrase; “Do your thing!”
I regret that I didn’t revive my passion for photography earlier. Just grabbing the camera and capturing these special moments that I love, gives me so much that I can’t really believe how I could have lived without it for such a long time. If your friends don’t get your passion, don’t let them hold you back. Look for people who share your passion and exchange with them – that is the best source of inspiration and support.
Any pitfalls they should avoid?
Don’t pay too much attention to social media numbers. Likes, followers and so on, don’t mean anything. They’re just numbers, plain and simple. The social media photography communities are a great source of inspiration and exchange, but in the long run it is all a big bubble that you should leave every now and then to focus on yourself.
Lastly, if you weren’t a photographer what would you be doing?
Right now I’m still doing my masters degree in industrial engineering. As my photography ‘career’ is getting more and more serious, I don’t really know where and at what point I’m going to be in one or two years time. But as I am an opportunist, I’m really excited about the years to come and look forward to my next challenges.
To view more of Lennart’s work or get in contact with him visit his website.
Images by Lennart Bader. All rights reserved. No usage without permission.
Interview by Kav Dadfar