Critique

Portfolio: Jan Welchering

Today’s issue of "Portfolio" features Jan Welchering, who wants his photographs to feel like a brick to a viewer's face.

In the section Portfolio the editorial office of Bird In Flight shows photos shot by young photographers working in different genres and asks them to talk about why they decided to start doing photography, what goals they set for themselves what they want to learn and who they want to learn from. In today’s issue you will see the portfolio of Jan Welhering.


Jan Philip Welhering, 32 years old

Born in Borken (Germany), lives in Berlin. Graduated from Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Works for Spiegel, Musikexpress, Rolling Stone, Karl Anders, monopol, Nido, intro and other publications.


When did you get involved into photography?
I started to focus on photography in 2005. My plan back then was to study design, which I did. At school, photography was more about hanging out and doing stuff. I think becoming a photographer is a lot about just f**king doing it. So in 2012 when my old 9-to-5 design job actually made me physically sick, I quit and started to make a living through photography. Turned out to be the best plan ever.


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What do you shoot?
Basically portraits, people and documentary.
Why do you consider photography your thing?
It’s my source of joy. You have access to places and situations that are hard to get into. You see a lot, meet a lot of people and it’s a lifelong process of learning.
What, in your opinion, makes a good photograph?
If I can believe and feel it. The image has to have something like a soul. For me, because I often take staged portraits, it’s finding the edge between bland and too much. Like with making music in a band, you can’t just focus on what you want, you gotta interact with the others. It’s a lot about interaction, dynamics, energy and volume.


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What difficulties do you run into as a photographer?
I don’t know, maybe the hard times for print publishing these days. The floods of pictures, the devaluation. All that ain’t problems, that’s just the mainstream. I think becoming a well paid photographer was hard 60 years ago and it’s hard now, but maybe it’s even harder today.
What inspires you?
Hanging out with my family and friends, switching off my brain and having a super nice time. When it comes to photography, I love images that are totally different from what I do. I love to look at pictures of rocks, but I always try to shoot images that feel like rocks or bricks to the viewer’s face.
What camera do you shoot with?
For assignments I work with a digital SLR. But for free works I love to work with analog medium format or disposable cameras.
Do you earn a living from photography?
Yes.


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What else do you like to do?
Hiking.
What are your goals?
Go get a boat someday and sail for the rest of my life. See the world.

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