Interview with the photographer Ella Hansmann
Fashion, Lifestyle and Portrait photographer Ella moved to London in 2010 to take a step towards her future in the creative industry. Since then, she has collaborated with many brands and influences across the globe to shoot editorials which creatively merge unique styles and striking locations. She is focusing now on her portrait work to explore the topics of individual beauty in modern day society.
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a photographer?
My Dad is a photographer, so I was lucky enough to have a childhood surrounded by photography and beautiful cameras. But it wasn’t until we had a portrait photography project in my art class at school that I actually started to think about planning shoots and creating mood boards. But from the moment I started understanding how to capture portraits I have never let go of my camera and it’s been a long love-story ever since.
It was your dream job?
I think that I didn’t know for a long time what my dream job was, and to a certain extend I feel that dreams can change as you grow and get to know yourself. I can say for certain that it has always been my dream to express myself creatively and I love to do that through the lens of my camera. If you are able to do what you love, follow your passion and other people respect this work for what it is, and perhaps even get inspired by it, then that is the most precious gift.
Which is the first thing you photographed?
I started photographing my friends for a portrait project, as I was always fascinated by different individuals and stories they tell with their characteristic in their faces.
Who’s the photographer you admire the most and why?
It would have to be my Dad as he inspires me everyday with his passion. He teaches me every time I take a picture not only to look for the aesthetic but also understand the complexity of the camera, lighting and the technical aspects, to fully appreciate the art that is photography. He is my greatest fan, greatest critique and always an inspiration to look for new creative ways of expressing myself. But I also adore Annie Leibovitz for her unique way of capturing moments and people’s characters with a certain individual style which is unmistakably noticeable. Her photographs enchant me every time, as she captures her subject in a very honest, beautiful and even vulnerable way. The subjects are not afraid to show their true self in her pictures. They always have a cinematic feel to them but at the same time look effortlessly elegant and this is true perfection. Every detail has been thought through, every little prop has it’s place but when you look at the final image you feel as if you just got a glimpse of a moment in time which was naturally perfect.
When you take a photo, how do you live this moment. Can you detach yourself from reality?
Absolutely! Even the preparation for a photo shoot allows me to completely dive into the creative vision and detach from reality. When I am shooting, I immerse myself in the moment with my model/subject and endeavor to bring all the emotion and creativity I am trying to captivate in front of the lens. There are times when it’s hard to concentrate on the creative part when the technical set-up isn’t working or is very complex. But these are the important moments as you capture the picture always from your individual viewpoint of aesthetic and that brings something incredible personal and emotional to the pictures.
Your job takes you often to travel and visit many countries; What fascinates you more than an unfamiliar place? It can be an ideal location to make the shots?
Photography has taught me to see ordinary day to day places in a different light. Even when I walk around familiar places, my camera reminds me to look at things in a different way, to see the beauty and the uniqueness in everything; The pattern on the street, the way the wind moves the leafs on the trees and the patterns of sunrise the on walls. And this change in perception of the world around me opened my eyes and fascinates me every day.
How did you feel on your first show? What feelings you have when someone appreciates and “reads” your photos?
When you exhibit your work as any artist, there is an overwhelming feeling of vulnerability showing yourself to the world to be seen, all your emotions and thoughts. Every creative output has something of your personality and your dreams in it. Therefore it is an incredibly rewarding experience if you feel you have captured a moment that can captivate people long after the moment has passed. I am always intrigued to hear of the interpretations from others of my photographs and it’s wonderful to see how every person can perceive the picture in a different way. It can touch them unexpectedly and remind them of something beautiful in their lives.
If your photos had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
I would always go with acoustic music, something that is calm and natural, nothing polished or studio produced. With my images I try to show the beauty in every detail in it’s natural imperfect way, so a live recording with minimal instruments and multiple singers would be perfect.
If you weren’t a photographer which job you would like to do and why?
I would be a yoga teacher, possibly in Bali. Yoga has completely changed my life: my dreams and the way I treat people around me. I would love to be able to bring the same feelings of happiness to other people that I received when I stepped into my first Yoga class. And why in Bali? For me it’s one of the most inspiring places on earth, from the nature to the people and culture. It is the perfect setting to refocus life and become grounded again after living the crazy life in the big city.
*Follow Ella on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellahphotography/