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Production Paradise talks to AOP photographer Claus Morgenstern

19 August 2016

Photographer Claus Morgenstern on how to tell a story through places and human interaction

August 4, 2016 by 

Creating images is the passion of Claus Morgensternand interiors and landscapes are his playground. The photographer from Mannheim is specialised in interior and people photography – two apparent opposites: How can they fit together? Read bellow our full interview with Claus, who has worked for clients like SAKS Urban Design Hotels, Air Plus Internationaland many others, and get to know more about his view on the future of advertising photography, on how politics can help our communities and much more!

Interior Photography Ajando

Production Paradise: Claus, could you tell us something about your journey to become a photographer?

Claus Morgenstern: To be honest – I never wanted to be a photographer! I was filming videos and editing them on my old and green coloured iMac with the basic iMovie software. Then I got my first camera, the Olympus Om2, and I started taking some black & white pictures, and suddenly the option to create a full story within one frame got me really interested. In 2006 I was studying photo design in Pforzheim; after my graduation in 2008 I realized that being a photographer and an artist is what I desired.

“Urban Living” editorial for the KFW Award Magazine 2016

Production Paradise: Your people & lifestyle photography is very vibrant, filled up with emotions and life. Shooting interiors seems to be the opposite – what are the challenges of this kind of photography?

Claus Morgenstern: First of all, I didn’t think that I could do people photography properly. It was never my priority – I focused more on landscapes and interiors. Creating a scene that helped me to tell the story, and getting the right proportions without using human interaction is a fascinating thing that in the end leads you to understand how people should be photographed. Most of the times I choose the background and the environment, and then I insert people into the scene I have created, where I think they stand out more or have the most impact for the image.

Tibetan monks on the mountain chain of Innsbruck

Production Paradise: Last year you joined the honourable “AOP” Association of Photographers in London and opened your own studio in Mannheim, Werftstudio – What do these experiences mean to you both professionally and personally?

Claus Morgenstern: The AOP is another open door and great opportunity to show my work to a larger range of potential clients and to have the chance to interact more with other photographers. Second, having my own studio is a dream, which offers me the possibility to try more things on my daily life without the problem of cleaning up behind me (smiles). Before I used to share co-working spaces, which was a solution but never gives you the real freedom of just trying out new ideas.

Production Paradise: Which project would you consider as your best or most successful one? What was the inspiration behind it?

Claus Morgenstern: “ELECTED ICONS” is my lifeblood. The source of inspiration for this long term project is politics and the possibilities and benefits of the voting system: people have representatives to defend their interests. I got the chance of being in a political position when I was just 13 years old, and implemented building on a 75000 DM skate park in my home town. At this point I realised politics can work and even though you are just one person, you have a voice! I’m thankful for all these people who choose to call this their job and work for the community.

Kasim Reed (Mayor of Atlanta) for “Elected Icons”

Production Paradise: Do you have a dream project you would love to shoot in the future?

Claus Morgenstern: Yes. I would love to photograph a series with some actors and well known people with a social theme. The pictures should make the people aware of charity and convey the message of being more polite to each other. Our world is getting destroyed by stupid issues like fighting other people’s religions – that is absolutely each person’s own business and nothing that we should judge.

CEO of “The Tuscaloosa Newspaper” for “Elected Icons”

Production Paradise: Do you try to keep up with the latest innovations in photography? What is your favourite piece of photography gear?

Claus Morgenstern: I do try to keep up, I think it is important. My favourite gear is the “Leica M”; this camera is giving me a hard time! It feels like learning photography from scratch again. Focus settings and some other features work slower, which in our fast world brings back the fun into my personal way of looking at things.


Pensacola Beach

Production Paradise: How would you describe the current state of the advertising photography industry, and how do you see the future of this industry?

Claus Morgenstern: Well, comparing to back in the days, the industry offers much more potential for a lower budget. I would love to see more authentic ideas than just the uninspired and plain stock photographs showing the client’s logo on the shirt.

There will be great and innovative new ways of advertising in the printed media and moving image field – it’s still a very exciting job and I’m curious about what the next 20 years will bring.

Production Paradise: Have you ever thought about being something else than a photographer?

Claus Morgenstern: No, not yet. But who knows, I’m getting more and more interested in introducing younger people, interns and students into my job. I enjoy teaching creative skills and maybe I’ll become an ambassador for creativity, or a teacher.


Southern Suburbs

Production Paradise: What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting out as a photographer?

Claus Morgenstern: Be curious, be inquisitive, be patient. Listen to the old people and learn as long as you can – that means always! Being an assistant for at least five different photographers provides a wider perspective. A great colleague once said – it takes 10 years to figure out your photographic identity. Last but not least, don’t be a stupid egoist. The business wasn’t waiting for you. But always be an interesting and nice character.

Production Paradise: How has Production Paradise been helpful for you?

Claus Morgenstern: Production Paradise is a great tool to spread my vision, and helps me to find production and post production professionals in areas that I haven’t explored yet.

We thank Claus for the testimonial and these great insights. If you want to see more of his work, have a look at Claus’ websiteor our latest Corporate & Industrial Photography Spotlight magazine. He’s also listed on our directory among other best Frankfurt-based people photographers and Frankfurt-based interior photographers.

Magic Moments: An interview with Oliver Haupt

17 August 2016



1. You had a formal education in Art and Photography. How essential is such a higher education when it comes to a career in photography? Is there any knowledge that has stayed with you ?

Yes, I had the chance to study arts and photography. But prior to this, I had already started doing my own images. I think it is very important to study because you have time to develop your criteria, you are exposed to all sorts of different opinions and you see a lot. It was a very intense time, dedicated purely to making images The best thing is, this wide horizon stays with you forever because once you start to see things differently, you can’t go back.


"once you start to see things differently, you can’t go back."

2. How has your taste in photography evolved since you first got started ?

My taste is under constant evolution though there are many things that have stayed throughout the years and don’t change. This is what make your work yours and I think this comes from the heart and cannot be taught to someone or trained.

Image: "My work is based on the deep love and admiration of life and creature, interfered by permanent presence of transience. How can one enjoy the beauty of creature and loveliness of a movement being aware of it fading away the next instant into nothing? Or is finiteness what gives life its meaning? It wouldn’t be the same emotion if we could reproduce these moments infinitely often. It hurts that all is threatened by transience, I would wish to persist all the power of lost and destruction. I would want to make the moment eternal but wouldn't this destroy the magic? "

3. Children are an ongoing subject matter for you. What in particular do you love about photographing children ? 

" Children possess the unspoilt ability to live in the moment therefore they can give me back what we have all lost whilst growing up. Becoming an adult means accepting many rules and as a result, our emotions get restricted and poor. In this sense, children can be very inspiring and open-minded."

Working with children helps me to unleash my emotions. I can project my feelings into them and express myself in their play. It is like being them, just a bit closer to the essence of life for an instant. This is done by taking images of their play but it also can involve creating objects together with them as well as other ways to participate in their world.

4. What are some of the difficulties when it comes to photographing children and how do you overcome them ?

The worst that can happen (and it happens a lot), is that the parents and society do not waste time to push the transformation of their children into adults. E.g., they train their children to put on an artificial smile or other awful attitudes when they get aware of the camera. As a result, it can take a long time to get these children to feel real joy or fascination.

This is very sad and you don’t get the images you want. Above all, it is sad for the child as well as the parents because they both loose out on the best in life…the childhood. A child deserves to live it and this is a chance for the adult to understand life and get closer to the essence of being on earth. As the child grows, it gets more and more difficult to connect with this again.

5. One the other hand, you also love to photograph much "harsher" subject matters such as jets and combat sport. Why the contrast in subject matter ?

All of my photography is about capturing moments and recording life. Life in it’s diversity gets much more intense and real. An emotionally rich life is much more interesting than a limited one.

" I do not want to limit myself as a person and dedicate myself to only one sort of emotion in life and I neither want this to happen to the images I create. I think this is very important when it comes to how you capture the world."

Contrasting subject matters give different dimensions to my images. It gives depth and this is as relevant for my harsher subject matters as it is for my more tender ones.

6. Which photographers have had the greatest influence on you? In what way have they influenced your work ?

Firstly, I admire Ansel Adams for his love and his monk-like dedication to the material. I try to do what he did in the darkroom when I set my illumination and when I adjust the curves in the computer, finding the magic in balancing the image until it feels right.

My second pick and my favourite is certainly William Eggleston for breaking the rules and for just being a visionary, able to do what he needed to do. I think this is very important; finding your own sets of rules and leave behind the things the society wants you to do.

Finally, I pick Helmut Newton for the style of his images and for being able to do always the same without getting bored. I think it is great to go on and on with the sort of work you like.

And there are many more, of course not all can be that famous, but they all possess the right mix of dedication and talent that makes them producers of great images. 

7. What are some key pieces of advice you would give to other photographers when it comes to marketing themselves and getting noticed ? 

I would highly recommend being real. Be yourself and to let your heart take the pictures. The photographer physically is just the middle man but the image needs to happen on its own.

" The photographer’s job is to create the climate, prepare himself to capture the moment and always be aware that he has not missed that moment. "

Photography happens to the photographer: a very difficult fact to accept for a Homo Faber person from Colone. But it feels as if this is the truth!

8. What would you do if you were not a photographer ?

I adore life and I want to contribute somehow to it. I always have the urge to give back for the marvelousness we have here on earth. If I could not be a photographer or a visual artist who spends his life dedicated to still or moving images, I would definitely be a musician. Music is as spontaneous and immediate as images are.

It is the direct link to the soul and helps you to understand life. It provides a way of being part of the world. And I want to be a part of this world. 



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33SAB 19885 58850

AOP Student Awards 2016 Winners

The Association of Photographers announced the winners of the 2016 Student Awards at a packed presentation and party at The Print Space Gallery in Shoreditch, alongside the exhibition of all finalist images.  The exhibition includes all 55 finalist images, which fall under the themes People, Places or Things. 

Judges James Eckersley, Nigel Harniman & Paul Hill selected a Best in Category for each category, plus one overall Best in Show. 

Nina Baillie won Best in 'People' category, judged by James Eckersley
Kieran Cashell won Best in 'Places' category, judged by Paul Hill
Sian Oliver won Best in 'Things' category, judged by Nigel Harniman
Jo Cock won Best in Show, agreed by all three judges

Kieran, Sian and Jo are all AOP Student members. 

The judges 

James Eckersley is a portraiture and advertising photographer with an impressive client list. Described as a ‘leading light in contemporary British portraiture’, his work is exhibited in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. James will judge the People category.

Paul Hill has worked as a photographer for the Guardian and Observer, exhibited regularly since 1970 and has written books on photography. Furthermore he became Director of Creative Photography at Trent Polytechnic Nottingham in 1976, received an MBE for services to photography, and is the first professor of photography practice in a British university. Paul will judge the Places category.

Nigel Harniman has been an automotive photographer for twenty years, specializing in cars but with a vision naturally encompassing landscapes and lifestyle. The juxtaposition of sheet metal and landscapes, whether urban or natural has always intrigued Nigel, the interplay of light, colour and texture. Enjoying every new challenge that quality automotive photography brings – from defined advertising campaigns to the freedom or editorial projects. Nigel will judge the Things category.

The exhibition runs from 29 July - 9 August at The Printspace Gallery, 74 Kingsland Road, E2 8DL

You can see the winners and finalist here 

Read More

We talk to Pixsy about the hot topic of whether photographers should work for free


Should photographers ever work for free?

GrahamBusiness of Photography


Photographers should not work for free

Every photographer knows the drill: “It will be a great opportunity to build your portfolio,” and “We don’t have a budget for photos.” Given the strong competition in photography, it’s tempting to accept requests for free work.  We strongly discourage working without compensation, but when a Pixsy employee was recently asked by a friend to do a small shoot for free, we wondered how photographers should handle these situations. So we gathered a panel of industry experts and asked then one question: is it ever OK to ask a photographer to work for free?


The consequences of taking unpaid photography work

Photography is your business.
It’s a product and service that others will either buy, or pass up on.

Professional photographers constantly get emails asking them to shoot long hours and provide top-quality images – for no payment other than “exposure”. Any mention of a fee (or lack thereof) is buried under several paragraphs of praise and flattery, and when they try and quote a price, the response can sometimes be hostile.

The Association of Photographers has plenty to say about the common “marketing” promises that come with working for free:

“Too often, work opportunities are presented to photographers on the basis of garnering ‘great exposure’ in return; the opportunity to have your work seen far and wide, the oft-heard line, ‘It’ll be great PR for you!’…Trouble is, it rarely pans out that way. There are so many avenues for publicity these days that aside from some major brands perhaps, that ‘great exposure’ will be meaningless.”

Filing yourself into the “will work for free” category is not good publicity; it’s bad networking, and ruins your own perception of value. When you agree to shoot or produce photographs for nothing, you’re essentially locking yourself out of your own price range.

After all, how can you expect to turn your photography into a profitable, sustainable business if you aren’t able to set your own price? Unpaid commissions can sometimes offer more creative control, but is that really worth undermining the economic value of creativity?

Julia Anna Gospodarou is a multi award-winning  black and white fine art photographer and architect. In her workshops, mentoring programs and best-selling books, she emphasises the business and financial side of photography alongside the artistic.

My work is my passion but it also has to provide me with financial support for myself and my family,”

There is a creative part that goes into it that is very energy consuming, and there is also the investment the professional photographers have to make in their gear, studios, electronic equipment, professional trips, education, bills, taxes and everything else.”

From a practical point of view, working for free creates an awkward expectation of quality:

  • If the “client” isn’t happy with the photos, do they have a right to complain?
  • When you’re shooting photos as a favour, what standards are you working to?

It’s hard to get honest feedback for free work, and it doesn’t matter whether they love or hate your finished photos, everything you produce gets stamped with a “freebie” level of quality.

Working for Free with expensive photography gear

Working for free is an expensive risk. In gear costs alone, photographers need to replace older cameras, order new lenses, and wedding photographers must invest in specific tools so they can shoot in all conditions. || Photo: Jakob Owens

Tiffany Mueller is a professional photographer who also writes tutorials and guides for DIY Photography and Lightstalking, and her work has also appeared on the Pixsy blog! She says that if someone with a budget asks you to work for free, they’re not complimenting your work – they’re devaluing your skills. Whether they realize it or not, they’re basically saying, ‘We like your photography, but not enough to pay you to do it.’  These type of people are the bane of the industry – I try not to waste too much time on them, but if I’m feeling snarky, sometimes I’ll send them back a playful email.”

Unpaid assignments are even worse in the long term, she adds, as you only drag other photographers down with you.

“Each time a photographer takes an unpaid job thinking they’re jump starting their career, what they’re actually doing is destroying any hope of job security. If we all started saying no to unpaid gigs, we’d all be asked a lot less.”  

Remember when you agree to work on a handshake instead of a contract, you get none of the protections of regular photography work:

  • Whoever you’re shooting for will want license rights to the images, and no serious photographer would give those away for free.
  • If shooting an event and something happens to your gear, your penny-pinching “client” isn’t going to foot the bill.
Stop Working for Free Facebook

Members of the ‘Stop Working for Free’ Facebook page regularly post job listings where photographers are asked to shoot for free.

We often see such stories on ‘Stop Working for Free‘; a Facebook group where freelance creatives share their experiences of being asked to work for little, if any, pay. The founder, Mark Pringle, is very direct about the effect unpaid photography jobs and internships have on the job market:

“The willingness of (increasingly) young middle class people, frequently supported by their parents, to work for nothing — this is turning photography and other creative professions into a middle class ghetto,” he says. It’s people’s willingness to work for little or nothing that is creating the situation whereby existing professionals are finding it impossible to find work.”

Robert Kenney, a professional photographer and regular contributor to the group, posted this statement in regards to dealing with unpaid internship and job offers: “Be on your guard for people who act with a sense of entitlement. It’s a mind game. They act as if there is something wrong with you because you do not want to work for free. It is a deliberate trick. View them as con artists, ‘used car salesmen,’ politicians and the like. It’s not worth arguing. There is no ‘paid work in the future.’ JUST SAY NO.” 

Why are photographers asked to work for free?

Photographers aren’t the only creative professionals getting these requests. However, there are specific reasons why if you can take a professional-looking photo, you will at some point be asked to work for free.

Because photography is so popular and everybody can do it, many think that professional photography is just as easy as picking up a camera, shooting a few photos and that’s it,” says Julia Ann Gospodarou. “This is a distorted perception and it is happening becausemany don’t know what goes into doing photography as a profession.”

portable cameras

The commoditization of photography means that every person walking has a camera in their pocket, and less will appreciate the skills and services of a professional photographer. || Photo: Jay Wennington

“I even hesitate to say we enjoy photography, because of Snapchatting, Instagramming and Facebooking,” says Bryan Caporicci, a wedding & portrait photographer and host of the Sprouting photography podcast. “We take the image, we share it quickly and then it’s on to the next one almost as quickly as that one came to us,

An entrepreneur before becoming a photographer, Bryan believes many photographers simply don’t have the necessary passion for business:

“We need to be embodying professionalism, because if we don’t it’s easy to see why a lot of people see what we do as a glorified hobby.”

“If we start running our business like a proper business, with processes, systems, expectations and policies…I would never walk into a cafe and be like “hey can I have a coffee for free?” I understand, OK this is a business, here they have a shop, they got employees, they got prices listed right there. Most photographers don’t have that level of infrastructure.”

Matt Druin Photography

Marketing and advertising are vital for a successful photography business – more so than taking photos || Photo: Matt Druin

One photographer who certainly does is Matt Druin; who put himself on the map by offering free travel on all his U.S. destination wedding shoots. Hardly another photography freebie, he turned his love of traveling and easy-to-fly-from Atlanta location into a key selling point: “I use it as marketing; I put it everywhere. It’s all over my website, it’s all over our social media posts every time, just because it’s something unique.”

“Obviously I would make less on those weddings than I would a local wedding. At the same time, it shows too how much we’re invested in our clients, that we’re willing to do that for them and not take as much money to work with them. I think it’s all about showcasing value.”

Photographing for your own benefit

Sometimes photographers will waive their usual fee for personal reasons. Perhaps the client is a friend or family member in a really desperate situation. Maybe they have a beach house that you hope they will lend you for the weekend. Or, you just owe them a lot of money and want to stop the crowbars coming out!

When it comes to larger businesses, here are some scenarios where our photography panel have offered their services strictly for their own benefit:

If new to the field, some work for the sheer experience of shooting an event or in a studio to build their portfolio, and to start establishing industry contacts.

If you want to start a portrait studio you can start building up your portfolio by shooting your friends and acquaintances for free so you can show your skills,” says Julia Anna Gospodarou. “Same thing for real estate photography. You could ask some building owners to shoot their buildings and give them some photos for free in return for you being able to showcase this work.

Destination Wedding Photogrpahy

Photo: Matt Druin

When an experienced professional wants to move into a new field of photography, they may not charge initially if they don’t have working shots or a strong list of clientele in that industry. However, that doesn’t mean the client/company can’t cover additional costs.

“When I got into doing destination weddings, my very first one I ever did I did for free, in exchange that they would pay for my travel expenses,” says Matt Druin. “Once I have that one destination wedding, and I was able to showcase that to other people on my blog, and start really marketing, doing the SEO and have visual representation…you’ve shown “hey, I have travelled before, and I have the experience,” and that eases things on their end.”

Some feel justified photographing without compensation if it’s for a worthy cause or campaign. Just note that Charities and NGO’s often do have the budget to pay photographers.

“I’ve done pro bono work for local animal shelters and low income families who aren’t in a position to have professional portraits taken and found the experiences to be rewarding in ways outside of finances,” says Tiffany Mueller. “If you’re really passionate about a cause and have the opportunity to help by using your camera skills, go for it. Just make sure you’re actually helping someone in need and not being taken advantage of.”

Photographer building portofolio

Photo: mikebaird // CC BY 2.5

Experienced photographers may want to develop their portfolio and diversify their collection. Rather than taking free work, you can always ask customers if they’d be willing to stay a little longer after a shoot to help you with your experimental photography. You can even offer the prints as appreciation for their time.

“I have no problem publicly announcing things like that to my Facebook page,” says Bryan Caporicci.“But I set the expectation that it’s for a specific purpose. Obviously I’m happy to collaborate and take input on things, but this is not you hiring me as a photographer, this is me hiring you as a subject to photograph. When you frame it that way, I think it really helps keep that value really high.”

Shooting for ‘payment in kind’ as opposed to ‘for free’

If you want to provide your camerawork for something other than money, here are some ways you can make it worthwhile:

Agree on some kind of goods and or services trade: I.e. Is your client a web designer? Then they could help design your webpage.

Bryan Caporicci: “When we were looking to do some container gardens for our home, there was a local florist that specialised in doing beautiful urns and all these great things with outdoor florals. So she came over, realised I was a photographer, and said “I actually need pictures…” I told her, listen: I want to talk about everything I need as your client, and I want you to give me a price on that. And then I’m going to talk about everything you need from me as a photographer, and I’m going to give you a price on that. Then let’s actually just pay that difference.”

Set out how much work you’ll do: Make sure your client understands you won’t work a second longer or take a single photo more than what’s required.

Matt Druin: Just be very clear of the process and expectations of everything. Like: “I’m gonna shoot for exactly 8 hours on this specific day, it’s going to be consecutive time,” because you don’t want to get into a situation where they’re like “well we had 8 hours, we only used 5 on this day, so can we use 3 for the next day?””

The Association of Photographers:“If the brand/company/organisation in question are capable of paying for professional photography (and indeed, seem to be paying for everything else but), then why should the photographer be the one to succumb?”

Don’t accept any vague promises of “exposure”: Sort out something concrete, like setting up a stall with your portfolio, prints and business cards, or putting an advertisement on their website.

Bryan Caporicci photography business expert

Photo: Bryan Caporicci

BC: “If I’m photographing for a magazine that I was already hoping to advertise in, and I was already looking to spend $2000, that for me seems like a fair trade…I always use magazines, because in the wedding industry it’s very prevalent. They’ll ask you to shoot a free creative in exchange for advertising or for photo credit, and I often say ‘that’s nice, but photo credit doesn’t feed my family.'”

Regardless of the money, always sort out a contract: This negotiates what’s expected from both parties, and can guarantee that you’ll be able to use the images in your portfolio to potentially land some paid work down the line.

MD: “All the free shoots I’ve ever done, even for my own personal stuff, there’s always some kind of contract that outlines the who, what, when, why and how things can be used.”

Tiffany Mueller: “I got my first photography job by pitching a photo shoot with a local band I had already done as a personal project to a local entertainment magazine…”

“…Sometimes people don’t know they need a photographer until it’s suggested, so don’t be so quick to reduce yourself to working for nothing.”

Explaining why you won’t work for free

When the person asking you to shoot for free is a close friend or family member, the situation can get awkward…sometimes even ugly.

You don’t have to take it personally. Non-photographers don’t always understand or appreciate the amount of work that’s involved, and may not fully recognize that this is your business. Instead of typing up an angry email or burning a few bridges, you can gently decline their request for unpaid photography work in the following ways:

  • Make them understand that your camera work is not just about “taking photos and sending them to print.” Explain the time commitments, the cost of gear, studio rent and expenses etc.
  • Compare shooting for free to them offering the same priced service to you e.g. if your friend makes designer cakes, ask them to imagine the time and money they’d lose out if they were to plan, bake and decorate a cake to your specifications, free of charge.
  • Gather and present price quotes from other photographers for the same amount of work – it doesn’t matter if they charge more or less than you, the point is to demonstrate that there is a standard cost for what’s being asked.
  • If you’re attending a wedding and suddenly you’re asked to be the photographer, explain that you won’t be able to enjoy the ceremony and occasion when you’re working.
  • Tell them that you have a strict “I don’t mix business with family/friendship” rule (in practice, this is probably a good thing to have!)

Read More

Capturing Interactions & Genuine moments: Artjobs talks to lifestyle photographer Olly Burn



1. Did you receive a formal education as a photographer or are you self-taught ?

I studied photography at Falmouth College of Arts, where I learnt a lot technical aspects of photography working primarily with film and had the time and freedom to explore which areas of photography I enjoyed the most. However, I think the bulk of my learning came from working within the industry, first as a model maker and set builder, then as an assistant for four years.

" I freelanced a bit, but worked full time with two photographers and I think it was during this time I learnt the skills required and got an in-depth view into what it takes to be successful in the industry, from being on set to learning the most effective methods of self promotion. "

2. What do you love most about your job ?

I love the opportunities that come with being a photographer, meeting and working with amazing talented people and seeing incredible places. Travelling for work often opens up the chance of experiences that would be really difficult otherwise.

3. Is capturing that “moment” spontaneous or is it carefully planned prior to shooting ?

I think it’s a combination of the two. When I’m shooting, I try to work in a spontaneous and authentic way, encouraging and working with people to feel at ease and express themselves.  However, careful planning and preparation is vital to make this happen, and allows the shoot to be as real and fluid as possible. On a commercial shoot it’s so important to have every detail considered prior to shooting, so the day can be relaxed and fun and we can really get the best from everyone. With my personal work it’s definitely more about exploring and learning, I get such a thrill from the unexpected and being able to observe and react to things.

" On a commercial shoot it’s so important to have every detail considered prior to shooting, so the day can be relaxed and fun and we can really get the best from everyone. "

4. Is there anything that frustrates you about the industry ? 

Diary management! While some jobs are a long time in preproduction and dates are firm a few weeks before, often things can come in very last minute. Planning life more than a week ahead can be very difficult!

5. What obstacles have you dealt with in your career and what did you do to overcome them ? 

Like in any careers there are obstacles to over come, however I try to see my career so far being a series of opportunities and making the most of them. Luck and fortuity certainly comes into play, but I hope to be able to make informed decisions when needed. 

6. What has been the most challenging location you have ever shot in ? 

We shot for a week in and around Kingston, Jamaica, shooting numerous scenarios in many locations. Downtown Kingston can be quite a dangerous place, we had to have police and security at all times, and also cooperation from the gangs that occupied each area. While the gangs from each area were happy to help (in exchange for cash!) we still had to be wary of rival gangs and not overstepping the mark. But this allowed us to experience areas of Kingston we simply wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise, and meet some really lovely local people.

7. You have worked with some major clients including British Airways, AirBNB, Dove, Men’s Health etc. How have you managed to market yourself so well over the years ? 

I think staying busy with personal work is very important, shooting for the love of it and not to a brief. Getting work in front of people can be challenging and often expensive, but always worth the investment. I’ve produced a few printed promotional pieces in the last few years, each time getting bigger in format and more inventive in presentation, which are sent out to key creatives and commissioners. The response has always been so positive.


" In a digital world, I think a well thought out physical piece stands out and grabs the attention of people who care about the work. "

8. What additional skills do you think a successful photographer possesses that may surprise most people ?

I have really tight team of assistants and I think that’s become a really big part of my career. We travel and work a lot together, but our relationship is very much as friends as opposed to colleagues. Working together is always amazing fun, and when pressures on we’re able to offer each other support. I think clients see this too, and respond well to the friendly but hard working set up we have.


" I have really tight team of assistants and I think that’s become a really big part of my career. "


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Julia Fullerton-Batten talks to Art Jobs on capturing the complexities of life



1. Where are you from, where do you live and what kind of person are you ?

I was born in Bremen, Germany, second daughter to my German mother and British father. When I was just two years old, we moved to the USA. We stayed there for seven years, which meant that I started my education there and adapted to the American way of life. This was followed by a move back to Germany – new schools, new culture, totally different way of life. We were four siblings, three girls and our younger brother. This period of change ended with my parent’s divorce while we were still relatively young. I was sixteen at the time and moved with my father to the UK, where I have lived ever since. I am now married and have two gorgeous sons. We live in a suburb of London. After studying photography and being a freelance assistant to professional photographers for five years, I started my career as a professional photographer in my own right in 1995. I am passionate about photography, hard working and creative.

2. Do you think a talent for photography is something a person is born with ?

That’s an interesting question and, to be honest, I don’t really know. But doesn’t the word ‘talent’ imply an ability that one is born with? Self-taught to a professional standard means that somebody works to develop their skills and hones them to the equivalent level of a talented photographer. Is that possible? I guess we would have to carry out a historical review of past and present major photographers to determine whether the skill was inherent in their nature or developed with practice.

3. All of your Fine Art stories touch on very deep and, occasionally dark, subject matters. Is there a solid link between each of them as a whole ?

My fine art projects from ‘Teenage Stories’ up to and including ‘A Testament to Love’ are semi-autobiographical in nature. Up until my parent’s divorce, my life was happy and relatively untroubled. The scenes in them relate to the fairly normal experiences of pre-pubescent teens and teenagers in general. ‘Mothers and Daughters’ is a reflection of my and my sister’s relationship with our mother, as well as hers with her mother. When a female viewer sees these images, I think these are episodes to which they can relate to, to one degree or another. Beginning with ‘Blind’, I changed theme to a social commentary on the aspirations, social prejudices (‘Unadorned’) and with ‘In Service’, the sexual mistreatment of female and male servants during the Edwardian period in the UK. This is where the darker subject matter begins to come through with gradually increasing intensity. The depth and darkness of the subject matter reaches a peak with my latest two projects  - ‘Feral Children’ and ‘The Act’.

" The scenes in them relate to the fairly normal experiences of pre-pubescent teens and teenagers in general. ‘Mothers and Daughters’ is a reflection of my and my sister’s relationship with our mother, as well as hers with her mother. When a female viewer sees these images, I think these are episodes to which they can relate to, to one degree or another. "


4. Which of the series do you consider the most powerful and why ?

I’m happy with all my projects, but ‘Feral Children’ is a subject matter that was very emotional for me as each of the cases were so tragic, especially the story of Genie. Her father bound her as a toddler to a child’s chair in a poorly ventilated, unheated primitive basement room for ten years of her life. The scope of my latest project ‘The Act’ was mammoth. It involved photographing and interviewing 15 women engaged in the sex industry in the UK. The photographs were of the women performing their acts and portraits. I interviewed them to determine their reasons for their choice of ‘career’ and how they felt being engaged in it. The interviews were subsequently made into a video.

" The scope of my latest project ‘The Act’ was mammoth. It involved photographing and interviewing 15 women engaged in the sex industry in the UK. The photographs were of the women performing their acts and portraits. I interviewed them to determine their reasons for their choice of ‘career’ and how they felt being engaged in it."


5. What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing what you do ?

The most challenging and most rewarding thing is to develop the original idea for a project. This I will turn over in my mind, do online research to improve my background knowledge, play with various scenarios in my mind, always padding the idea out more and more. I let my creativity run wild until the whole thing crystallises and I can start the next phase of finding locations, think of set designs, start choosing models, find props, clothing, etc. On the day of the shoot, I have everything established in my mind, my assistants move the equipment around until I get the lighting I want, I press the shutter of my Hasselblad and we can view the shot on my tethered laptop. But, that is the easy part of the whole procedure once I have concluded that creative process – the most challenging and most exciting thing of the whole project.

" The most challenging and most rewarding thing is to develop the original idea for a project. This I will turn over in my mind, do online research to improve my background knowledge, play with various scenarios in my mind, always padding the idea out more and more."


6. What tools do you use post processing ?

I personally don’t do anything but the most basic retouching using PhotoShop.  I subcontract the major retouching to a professional, who does it under my supervision. I tend not to use too much retouching.  A lot of the feeling and mood in the images is from the way they are lit.

7. What image is your personal favourite and why ?

I have no single favourite image. As I finish a project I get a new favourite. Therefore my current favourites are to be found among those in my ‘Feral Children’ project; specifically the fore-mentioned image of Genie springs repeatedly into my mind. It is significant because of the background story. It is unbelievable for me that a father could effectively torture his daughter for over a decade in that way, by confining her to a child’s chair in a confined space with few playthings and a totally unsuitable diet. It is a relatively simple image of a girl tied to a child’s stool in a simple monochrome painted room with a bare bulb and a high curtained window providing light, no other decoration but a few cotton reels as her playthings. But, if you read her story it is a heart-wrenching image.

8. Do you have any projects you are currently working on or any upcoming exhibitions you want to tell us about ?

I’m just completing ‘The Act’, which is my very latest project. I’m just releasing images and a video, as well as entering these into competitions. This is probably the most comprehensive project I have ever done, as it involved set design as well as all the other aspects of one of my photo shoots, including finding and interviewing real sex workers, lighting, etc. and working together with others on the video. Each project becomes more and more rewarding. I am brewing on a new idea….

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AOP takes its Awards to Edinburgh's Retina Festival

We are really excited to take a specially curated selection of over 90 images from the 2015 AOP Awards to the Retina Festival this month. From 14 - 23 July our show will be exhibited at Our of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh, do come and see us! 

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It's Nice That talk to AOP member Joseph Ford



Work / Photography

Joseph Ford plays with perspective in latest editorial for Avaunt

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Brighton-based landscape and aerial art photographer Joseph Ford has completed a trompe l’oeil for Avaunt Magazine. Titled Anamorphosis, this project uses the lines of a tennis court distorted and overplayed onto an abandoned swimming pool that can only be read from a certain perspective. “Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point to view the image correctly,” says Joseph. The series created for the publication has the feel of a game played at length rather than simply one clever image.

The main image, which displays the anamorphic view in full is one of the most effective produced in the project. The two players squaring up at far sides of the gaffer tape tennis court drives home the size and accomplishment of the anamorphic space, successfully coercing the viewer to read the physical world falsely, and the imagined perspective as intended.

Parkour artists Kevin Francomme and David Banks occupy the camera’s field; it is only in the shooting of figures in action, living and breathing the space of distortion, that the photographs are brought dynamically to life. Though their presence high up and low in the main image solidifies the perspective, some of the most interesting examples of their work are seem in close up, scaling, running and twisting along the walls to further challenge the viewer’s expectation and understanding of space.

Accompanying the images is the tagline, “2.5 kilometres of blue gaffer tape, seven assistants, two anamorphosis artists, two parkour artists and one derelict swimming pool in Glasgow.” A true collaboration, the project was realised with a team of anamorphosis artists and assistants coordinated by Papy and Milouz from TSF Crew.

Joseph also recently completed and collated a series of diptychs pairing aerial landscape photography with fashion products for Avaunt Magazine, demonstrating a keen eye for perspective and challenging the way in which the world is viewed.


Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt


Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt


Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt


Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt




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