Critique

Portfolio: Alina Emrich

Today’s issue features German photographer Alina Emrich with a series about her relations with her parents.

The section “Portfolio” shows photos of young photographers who work in different genres, and the editorial board of Bird In Flight asks them to explain their motivation to work with photography, what goals they have and who they learn from. Today’s issue features the portfolio of Alina Emrich.


Alina Emrich, 24 years old

Born in Frankfurt-am-Main, lives in Hamburg; studying documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Hannover. Since July 2014 she has an internship with the GEO magazine as a photo editor.


When did you get involved into photography?
When I was in high school, my father – also a photographer – taught me how to snap pictures, develop film and print photos. After finishing school, I bought a digital camera and a one-way ticket to India. There I was an intern of the Madurai Messenger magazine in order to familiarize myself with the culture and traditions of the country.

Over the last five years I spent in Asia, I went on an adventure to India and Nepal. When I returned to Germany, I decided to study photography in university. I also attended master classes conducted by British photographer and co-founder of the VII Photo Agency Gary Knight and Marcus Bleasdale in Ruanda. There I photographed women who became widows during the genocide in 1994. I spent another month in Congo and returned to Germany, though without my camera. I was madly hooked on depicting human life stories on photographs.

What do you shoot?
Initially this was classical photo reportage. Today, the main focus of my work is personal stories. The turning point in my life was the project on my relations with my parents. One of the parts of the project includes photographs that my parents shot on a Polaroid camera. It is very interesting when you can use your own work and the work of people that you take shots of can become a collective project. In the end, it’s all about how we spend time together.
Why do you consider photography your thing?
Photography is a great way of opening for one’s self something new and describing things and perceptions without using words. There are moments when you turn off your brain and emotions hit a peak and then photography transmogrifies into meditation.


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What, in your opinion, makes a good photograph?
Probably the chosen moment, magical lighting and ideal forms… We heard this a hundred times over and know it well. I believe a photo is decent when a photographer is fully dedicated to work. In photos it is always visible how much time a photographer spent with people that he takes shots of, be it a few days or a few years.
What difficulties do you run into as a photographer?
I don’t like creating a panic and feel that one can always find their path if you are patient and make your best efforts. However, I am concerned about the current situation with freedom of the press. Compared to 2002, in 2013, the number of protected journalists increased twofold. My beloved India became one of the most dangerous countries in the ratings of world experts. No so long ago three of my colleagues shooting the acts of protest by the Kurds were arrested. So, on this backdrop I can say that I have absolutely no problems.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by many people and many things. For example, I am thrilled by the passion of Marcus Bleasdale for Africa and the poetic style of Joakim Eskildsen, renowned for his work The Roma Journeys. The novels of Lovenstein and Engstrom are absolutely delightful, and I often try to dedicate my time to studying and publishing of photo-books. I am also inspired by famous photographers from Latvia and Japan.


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What camera do you shoot with?
It depends on my mood and the project I am working on. I fell in love with the film camera Mamiya, but of course I have a Canon 5D Mark II and a Fuji XE2 digital camera. Sometimes I have fun with an Olympus and small Fuji Polaroid. This year I started shooting on a GoPro video camera.
Do you earn a living from photography?
Partially. I will graduate from university this year and am currently undergoing an internship at the German GEO. This is tuition based, but I still get through on grants.
.
What else do you like to do?
Healing. I might become a physician or a healer.
What are your goals?
I would like to publish several more photo books, though not many as long as they are specific. I would also be happy to share my experience in photography on topics the value of which is appreciated, and would like to learn how to express my thoughts through this medium.


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