Yesterday, I had a great meeting with Berlin-based photographer Lars Borges at his studio. I had been referred to him by photographer Frauke Fischer and a very good friend of mine who works for an independent music label company based in Berlin.
Throughout the years I have been styling, music and music artists have often influenced my work, so looking at Lars’s site it was interesting to see the work he had done with artists such as The Klaxons, Gossip and Pete Doherty.
One of the nicest aspects of working in the industry is the opportunity to meet new creatives to talk shop and life. I particularly liked my meeting with Lars, because he seemed to really ‘get’ my work and where I was coming from. Also, despite seeing my work on my site, he took the time to go through my portfolio and go over each editorial with me, telling me his observations and preferences.
At the end of our meeting, I decided to do a quick interview with him-
MyFashionslashlife- What made you want to get into photography?
Lars- I was given a camera by my uncle when I was 14, it was an old single reflex camera. It had no lens, so I took up a weekend job and after a while I was able to buy my first lens. Throughout my teenage years I had many artistic ambitions but I didn’t know how to express or realise them. So this yearning manifested in me taking pictures of anything I could see- flowers, friends and so on, and then I put photography aside for a while because at the time I couldn’t see how I could make a living out of it. But then in my early twenties, I decided to make a go of it as I really loved taking pictures and the instinct of capturing people’s emotions.
MyFashionSlashLife- Growing up which photographers particularly inspired you?
Lars- In art school, I was hugely inspired by photographers like Gursky, Sander and Martin Parr. But I didn’t think I could make a living out of that kind of style of photography, so I decided to focus on portraits. In this regard, I really liked the work of modern photographers like Nadav Kander.
MyFashionSlashLife- What do you like in particular about the work of Nadav Kander?
Lars- He does advertising, portraiture, art but no matter what project he is doing, all his photos have the same artsy vibe and that is something I really admire. I consider myself as a photographer, not an artist but I want to do work that is artful and that is what Nadaf’s work is like.
MyFashionSlashLife- On your website, I can see you do portraits, music and fashion. Which came first for you, music or fashion?
Lars- Music came first. My wife always makes jokes about me about being ‘Berlin’s most famous techno photographer’. I rarely listen to techno now, but when I was still in art school and trying to grow my business, I shot Richie Hawtin, who is a very famous minimal techno DJ, and this press photo changed his image from being a nerdy character to the ‘Lord of techno’. After that, things got easier for me because minimal techno was at its height and I got a lot more clients who wanted their ‘Richie Hawtin’ photoshoot makeover. At the time, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be labeled and known as a ‘techno photographer’, but I’m super grateful for the shots I took then as they allowed me to gain recognition, grow my business and have the money to buy my equipment and so on. And although I still shoot DJ’s and record producers, I would say that this makes up about 10% of my work.
MyFashionSlashLife- Fashion-wise, which magazines do you tend to read or flick through?
Lars- I prefer the more artful, experimental ones like Purple, Sleek, Achtung and 032C. I am not so interested in Prada and Givenchy high fashion, sometimes as an art form these labels inspires me, but the whole scene that comes with these types of designers doesn’t inspire me. I am more interested in young, edgy, artsy and conceptual fashion. I hate using the word, artsy so much but you know what I mean!
MyFashionSlashLife- What aspect of the photography process from realization to the finished final image do you find the most tedious?
Lars- In general, I hate the pre-production process. For example, when clients with no creative vision involve themselves too much in a project. It annoys me when they have no trust for the artistic people who they employed to do the job in the first place. When such clients have this kind of attitude and control, it often leads to a grey, shitty, boring and totally uninspiring final image, which was not what they hired the creative team for in the first place.
MyFashionSlashLife- What kind of advice would you give emerging photographers?
Lars- Work hard and be true to yourself. Also shoot as much as possible because that’s how you develop your style, how you familiarise yourself with working with other people and it’s also how you learn from your mistakes. It’s also good to look at other more established photographers so that you are inspired and are aware of how hard it is to get to that point in your career.
MyFashionSlashLife- Finally, what do you think of the fashion industry in Berlin as it stands now?
Lars- Well, it is getting better and more international and you can really see this during its fashion week. Years back, the fashion industry in Berlin was more provincial and village-like and now our designers are getting international recognition and being featured on Vogue covers. So the fashion industry is moving but it still has its back roots in Berlin and sometimes you can really see that, but that is also the beautiful thing about Berlin.
All music and fashion images courtesy of Lars Borges