We are pleased to welcome Maximilian Mann as a new laif photographer. On this occasion, Berthold Steinhilber, member of the laif cooperative supervisory board, had a conversation with Max about his work.
Berthold: Your work “Fading Flamingos”, which I found very impressive, has received many awards. In it, you deal with the consequences of climate change. To what extent do you think photography can support this topic?
Maximilian: Photography is a medium that can be read very quickly and can move us emotionally. Much better than a scientific text can, for example. Of course, data and facts about the climate crisis are enormously important, but photography can add an important layer. It can have an emotional impact on us and make some topics more tangible. But I don’t think we should be naive either. Because at the end of the day, from a global perspective, humanity has less of a knowledge problem and more of an action problem with regard to the climate crisis. But that doesn’t make it any less important to keep showing images that make the crisis visually visible.
Berthold: Our culture is strongly visual and we process a lot of information through images. What topics would you like to photograph in the future?
Maximilian: Right now I’m working on a big project about the climate crisis in Germany. I want to take pictures that surprise and show: Climate change has arrived here in Germany, too, and is by no means only to be found in the far distance.
Berthold: If there are photographers who have influenced you, tell us briefly about them?
Maximilian: I think I was actually most influenced by other students studying at the FH Dortmund. Working on my own projects together and discussing photography was formative and then also led to the founding of the DOCKS Collective. But of course there were also big names that influenced me, such as Alec Soth or Bieke Depoorter.
Berthold: Since June 2022, laif has been owned by the laif cooperative. Was the cooperative idea a deciding factor in your choice for laif and what are your expectations?
Maximilian: Yes, definitely. I think the idea of a cooperative is very nice and contemporary. I also hope to meet a lot of great new colleagues.
Berthold: What makes life difficult for you as a photographer – apart from these questions?
Maximilian: Finding a good mix between freelance work and assignments, annoying bureaucracy and sometimes price negotiations. But basically I consider it a great privilege to be able to work as a photographer and can’t imagine a more beautiful profession.
laif thanks Max and Berthold!