We continue our interview series with accomplished photographer, Fritz Liedtke. We want you to be inspired, learn and walk away excited to get out and shoot. As photographers we should support one another and lift each other up. One of the things that has always impressed me about Fritz is that he is talented weddings, portraits and fine art photography. It shows you can shoot more than one style and do well! Go grab your coffee or tea and enjoy! Cheers- Alexis
1. How many years have you been shooting and how did you become interested in photography?
From childhood, I’ve always been one of those people who loves to make things, and to make them beautiful. From designing and building my own bedroom when I was 12, to drawing and writing and making music, I’ve always enjoyed creating.
When I was 14, my dad and I drove our little turquoise Datsun B210 around the United States, seeing 31 states in 30 days. That’s when I first remember taking a lot of photographs, looking for good composition, going through a lot of film. I kept a journal, and made a large scrapbook of photos and text from that journey. I became more and more passionate about it as time went on, taking classes in high school, winning competitions, filling photo albums and bookshelves with photographs. I was hooked. That was 30 years ago. I went on to get a BFA in fine arts with an emphasis on photography and printmaking.
2. What style do you specialize in?
I love photographing people, and telling human stories through powerful images. My favorite work is environmental portraiture, but I also enjoy fashion, editorial, and portrait assignments of all sorts. I’ve also photographed hundreds of weddings. I try to keep my interests and my style varied, so my work isn’t repetitive and I don’t burn out.
I’ve always had a knack for putting people at ease in front of a camera, and people recognize and appreciate this. In taking a photograph, I want to do something more than just create a pretty picture — I want to tell a story, or give the viewer a window into my subject’s life. I like to do things a little bit different. I find myself less and less enamored with the current trend toward the mundane, or with imagery that relies on sex appeal to sell stuff. I’m more interested in images that breathe life, that make good use of light, and that make me say “Wow!” when I look through the viewfinder.
I also work hard at balancing my paid work (commercial/editorial/
3. How did you know that this was the style or subject matter you wanted to focus on, any influences?
Mostly it’s a matter of exploration, of trying things and seeing what fits. I looked at a lot of great photography, and I took a lot of pictures. Many people have influenced my work. Some that come to mind include Mary Ellen Mark, Sally Mann, Milton Rogovin, Arnold Newman, John Singer Sargent, Richard Learoyd. I recently ‘discovered’ the work of Paolo Roversi, the famous Italian fashion photographer. While his work is much more fashion-focused than mine, I find that much of his work resonates with my own work.
4. What tips or advice that you know now would you have given to yourself when you were just starting out?
My advice is twofold: Look at great photography, and take lots and lots and lots of pictures. That’s how you’ll grow and improve. There’s no way around it.
Thanks again to Fritz for taking time to chat with us, below are a sampling of his work. Please always contact the artist for use of their work. To view more of his work head over to his website. See his recently featured work for National Geographic. You can also follow him on Instagram @fritzphoto1.