by Alessandra Bettoni
Minimalism is not only a photographic approach, it can also be a life approach. That’s probably the case of this wonderful Author, which we know and appreciate through her amazing images of urban minimalism. Today we move once again to Germany, in a small town near Frankfurt to have a nice chat with Irene Eberwein, to get a bit closer, touching hands with her incredible talent. She is telling us a bit of his story, through her captivating images and her kind words. Enjoy!
Irene is one of the most appreciated minimalistic photographer in the Web, we look at her photographic artwork as an example for the minimalistic approach applied to urban photography, with her essential and clean composition, always resulting from a very few peculiar elements, enhanced by few vivid contrasting colors. Over time she has become a reference point in this kind of photography, followed and appreciated by many people in the main social platforms, both from a technical point of view and for her personality. Yes, because this special lady of photography combines a keen eye for photography and a peculiar care for details, always aiming at perfection in her art and in her life.
Irene is 55 years old, is happily married and lives in a small town near Frankfurt. Working in the administrative offices of a hospital for three days a week she has some spare time to dedicate to this innate passion for photography and also other hobbies, such as sports, walking open air, observing the surrounding nature and travel. With her husband Olli, also much appreciated as a photographer, she comes often to Italy, particularly in Liguria, a land that the couple love very much.
AMB: Irene, thank you for spending some time with us, you know how much we all appreciate you and your photographic artwork. Before talking about your amazing images, let’s start talking a bit about you.
IE: Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and a greeting to all of ArchiMinimal friends. I’m a reliable person, tidy, methodical and tenacious. I’m introverted, introspective and I don’t feel comfortable in the spotlight – I did an exception for you. I’m a mild person and a keen observer. People know they can always count on me, I am sharp, always ready to help, honest and a little bit stubborn, in photography and sports. I try to be meticulous and methodically carry out the activities in which I’m involved.
AMB: Where does you passion for photography come from? How did it happen?
IE: I’ve been photographing for a long time, together with my husband Olli Eberwein. We have been doing it since we were young. At very beginning, Olli took pictures in analogic and as he passed to digital photography I often went with him when out for his shooting. I just gave him some suggestions and tried to “steal” with eyes all I could of his talent, till one day, about 5 years ago, he asked me: “Why don’t you try and start photograph?” I was persuaded and I bought my first camera.
AMB: How do you remember the approach to photography, what did you feel when you looked at the world through the camera for the first time?
IE: It has been wonderful, an incredible experience, but I remember thinking: “whatever I photograph, it will be minimal.”
This thought has been fundamental to Irene and the prelude to her photographic artwork resulting in a very clean and essential minimalistic style.
AMB: Did you start with a reflex camera or was your approach a bit more gentle with photographic equipment?
IE: No, initially I experienced a bit with my little camera, but then it was natural to upgrade to a better camera, a more complex one. I purchased a Panasonic as well. As I progressed in my passion, achieving even more important results, I finally decided to switch to a refkex camera.
At this point, Irene decided to join different photographic groups in the Web and came in contact with many minimalistic photographers. By comparison with all of them, after having appreciated their shots and thanks to her natural inclination, she started shooting “minimal” and she did it in a very natural way.
AMB: Why minimal Irene? Is the minimalistic approach representing you in some way?
IE: I think art in general and therefore also photography, has the ability to bring out in everyone, his/her characteristics and temperament. I’m a perfectionist in life, methodical and rational. That’s where my photographic style comes from, I guess.
AMB: Where do you get your inspiration?
IE: There is nothing specific that inspires me. I mostly find inspiration in the several things that surrounds me. It’s more about time than inspiration, I need time to get the shot I want to achieve. I always study the subject, deciding for the best perspective and composition. I put a lot of care in the preliminary stage and when I review my shots in the camera I’m often satisfied with the quality results and I hardly go back on them with post processing. At the very beginning it was all about flowers, mushrooms and other natural elements, always portrayed with a minimalist approach. Today it is about urban minimalism and I think I found my dimension.
AMB: Your images are always characterized by the complete absence of human elements. Why Irene?
IE: It is true, there are no people in my photos. I’ve been trying in the past to do some street photography, although it is not my passion. Maybe it’s a genre that does not suit my proverbial introversion. My daughter used to say that people in my shots have always a serious and thoughtfull attitude. I promised that in the future I will dedicate a bit more even to this photographic genre.
AMB: What cameras and accessories do you use?
IE: I’m using a Pentax K30. I’ve got different lenses, a 18- 55mm Pentax, a Tamron 300mm and a Sigma 70- 35 mm. I have also a carbon tripod.
AMB: To conclude Irene, we’d like you to leave some tips to those who want to start with minimalistic photography. What would you suggest to all of them?
IE: Just follow your inclination. Do not allow others to influence you. Find your path and inspiration, keep going and your sacrifice will be surely refunded. Be aware that photography is sacrifice and application. This is the main lesson I have learned in years of photography.
AMB: Thank you Irene, thank you for your time and being available to this pleasant chat.
IE: Thank you all, happy new year!
Photogallery – Irene Eberwein