JAN OTTO SCHREIBER
Equivalent I-III (2011)
The Desert Project (2010)
Somewhere between the Shores (2009)
Jia Zi Zha Press
The Photo Coterie
behind the scenes
Jan Otto Schreiber 是一位来自德国汉堡的摄影师，去年，他决定前往澳大利亚。他买了张货船的票，在海上漂流了两个来月。等到船在澳大利亚的码头靠岸的时候已经沿路拍了超过250张经过的岛屿、船只和海面的照片。他花了好几周编辑、校样最终出来了14幅作品。Jan 将这个系列命名为“海岸之间，某个地方”。略微泛黄的作品中蔓延着一股怀旧气息，形成一种静谧的氛围，令人陶醉。为此假杂志专门对他做了访问，请他谈了谈这个系列和他的摄影。
Jan Otto Schreiber, a photographer from Hamburg, Germany, decided to explore Australia last year. He bought a ticket aboard a Cargo Ship and embarked on his 2-month journey. By the time he reached the Australian shore, he had taken over 250 shoots of the sea and the ships and islands passing by. he spent weeks editing the proofs and finally ended up with a collection of 14 images. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE SHORES is the title of this project. These yellow-tinged, pale collection of photographs mimick the experience of quiet nostalgia and the subtle stillness of the ocean.
Jia Za Zhi invited him to talk about this series and his photography.
想想以前那会儿，我很迷一些著名的广告摄影师，像 Nadav Kander、John Offenbach、 Jim Wright，还有 Michael Schnabel（最后我做过他的助理）。他们可以周游列国，欣赏到地球上最奇特的地方，可以去常人无法进入的地方，拍摄有名和有趣的人。
How does the idea of “Somewhere Between the Shores” series form?
It was always supposed to be an ‘art’ project, but I wasn’t sure in what kind of direction it would lead me. On a cargo ship, there is pretty much nothing to do all day, and you can’t disturb the crew, those guys are there to work. So I spend a lot of time sitting outside and looking at the sea and waiting for little occurrences on the horizon which I documented when they felt right. When I reached the Australian shore, I thought to myself : “all those image will look the same” and I almost threw away my 30 rolls of film. The inspiration hit me when I looked at the contact sheets and every frame was different!
Could you please talk about the life on cargo ship for 2 months?
A cargo ship is a world of it’s own, its like a self contained economy there things happen all the time. The isolation from the rest of the world was surreal – no emails, no phone calls, and pretty much no news on what’s going on in the world.
And unlike a normal passenger boat trip, there are no bingo nights, no group tours of the boat, no one to flirt with. And that’s what I loved about the cargo ship and that’s why I chose to travel by it. I knew being on a cargo ship would put me in a unique atmosphere and I was hoping it would inspire me. At that time I urgently needed to get away and this was what I needed. As a passenger on a cargo ship there are no strangers, you instantly become friends. I had a ball with the Filipino and Russian crew.
Do you still remember the first time you picked up the camera? Could you tell us why you became a photographer?
As a young boy I always wanted to become a painter, but I think I was never talented enough. So I decided it must photography. I absolutely love creating images, and nowadays I enjoy working with briefs and art direction.
One of my photographer friends in China told me that it is really difficult to manage it, because the commercial will interfere invisibly when you are doing a personal project. I think you handle the problem very well, how do you manage it?
It takes a lot of extra time and sleepless nights. I think the artistic side is very important, a photographer needs to show what he or she is capable to create, to come up with new ideas and to inspire art directors and art buyers.
Who inspired you when you realized you wanted to become a photographer? And why?
Back then I was fascinated by famous advertising photographers like Nadav Kander, John Offenbach, Jim Wright or Michael Schnabel who I eventually ended up working for. Those guys travel the world, they get to see some of the most stunning places on earth, getting access to places no one else is allowed into, shooting and meeting other famous and interesting people.
I was pretty much attracted to this kind of action and adventure and I still am.
As a photographer, what inspires you the most in daily life? What gets you excited?
I like to be outdoors, I like the adventure: Getting up at 4:30am – climbing up a mountain to a location and then shooting at 5:30 at sunrise when models/cars or product is ready, this is just amazing.
And of course the paycheck gets me pretty excited, good work should always be payed good and fair.
Your photography is poetic, do you have any poets or philosophers you admire?
I love Nietzsche.
I think I was most influenced by his ‘Human, all too Human’. It’s a fascinating collection of aphorisms in particular the first section which deals with metaphysics and deciphering the dreams. Dreams and subconscious thoughts and feelings are something I like to explore. I hope it’s reflected in ‘Somewhere between the Shores’.
In your mind, what would be an ideal life for you?
I’m playing with the idea of living between New York and Asia.. I’m fascinated with China and its unique culture, I’d love to spend more time there.
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Interviewed by Yuan Di, Jia Za Zhi Press