Photographer Guido Krueger is one of the Torpedo Factory's newest members. He recently moved here from Germany and is settling into studio 306 this summer. We caught up with him to ask about his work and travels.
TFAA: You have what seems like two completely different careers- software architect and photographer. Does your work in one field inform your work in the other, or is it a radical departure?
|Very early in my career, I participated in contests, creating pictures|
like the following one (which, as an example, won me a studio lighting kit).
GK: First, I would like to say thank you for having me here and for giving me the opportunity to speak about my life and my photographic interests.
As a software architect I had to work on long-term projects in large teams so I had to be goal-oriented and determined and had to be able to build lasting relationships with the people around me. I'm used to work systematically and accurately and I've learned to observe carefully and to analyze and understand subjects well. Hopefully, these skills help with my photo projects, too.
I have always been a creative person, even in software development. But, obviously, the theme and organizational embedding of my work has changed. I'm no longer employed at a large corporation, I'm no longer responsible for a bunch of people and for large scale software projects. I have more freedom than before, but on the other hand have a lot more responsibility for my personal development and for keeping track of all the small projects that I'm usually working on.
TFAA: How do you choose your subject matter, what kinds of things draw your eye?
GK: Actually, I have travelled a lot around Europe and I've been to the United States a couple of times before becoming a resident. I have always been attracted by all kinds of urban settlements and by the interaction between landscapes and man-made structures. I enjoy photographing people and their activities and I love visual storytelling in the old-fashioned way.
|I've also been doing lots of landscapes and urban settlements|
in color. Travel photography has always been one of my favorite topics.
TFAA: What kinds of cameras do you prefer?
|"The best camera is the one that you always carry with you". Recently,|
my iPhone has become my "best camera", so I never again miss an opportunity
for a spontaneous snapshot (in this case done with the "Hipstamatic" app).
GK: I work more like a photojournalist than a fine art photographer. I use relatively small cameras with a bunch of different lenses. I only work digitally, no film anymore. For most of my current work, I use equipment from Olympus and Panasonic based on the Micro Four Thirds Standard. Cameras and lenses are lightweight and reliable and the image quality is amazing.
TFAA: I noticed on your blog you mention you have 17,000 images. How do you archive them? (Being a computer guy must have its advantages... :)
GK: I've always found that the chronological storage of files is a good idea. On my Mac, I create a folder for any shooting that I do, no matter whether I might get 3 or 300 files. These folders have the date and the subject matter in their name (e.g. "17-ArlingtonFullMoon"). Each of the folders is inside another folder that corresponds to the current month which itself is inside a folder for the current year.
|I love photographing people. Most often I photograph people casually,|
within their normal environment and while doing the things they
This structure is used without change in Adobe Lightroom, which is the basis of all my photo editing activities. Since my folder structure contains dates and either names or locations and since Lightroom has a very fast search engine, I can usually find any picture within seconds.
Using chronological storage has the advantage of being simple and easy and it keeps the directory hierarchies clean. No empty or duplicate folders, no orphaned directory trees, no extensive thinking about folder names during image insertion.
Occasionally, I use other features to ease my file organization (for example collections, keywords or export folders), but these are subordinate. Regarding the storage of previews, catalog data, image manipulation results and so on, I fully trust Lightroom's capabilities and it's built-in database.
Data backup is very important for me. I do it regularly with Mac's "Time Machine", which is easy to use and reliable. I use three different backup drives. One is always connected to the computer and is used for daily (!) backups. The others are stored safely in different remote locations and are used on a weekly basis. This scheme has always saved me from data losses through fire or water, computer failures or accidental deletes. Time Machine backups can also be used to greatly simplify setting up a new Mac from scratch.
TFAA: That sounds very efficient! So how did you hear about the Torpedo Factory?
GK: Shortly after we arrived in the region, my wife and I heard about a "beautiful little town" south of DC that we must see, close to the water, with nice shops and restaurants and with a big art center. Soon after that, we came by on a visit and discovered beautiful Alexandria and the Torpedo Factory with its large and unique variety of wonderful artists.
TFAA: Are the exhibition opportunities similar in Northern Germany?
|And finally, sometimes, I create classical portraits.|
GK: Since I'm new to the scene, I'm not quite sure about it. To the extent that I oversee it, the opportunities are better here. Of course, there are museums or galleries in Hamburg, Kiel or Luebeck, and we have artists with their studios or galleries even in smaller cities, but I would say that art in general is not as widely present in Northern Germany as in this region. And as far as I know there is no such institution as the Torpedo Factory, at least not in Northern Germany.
TFAA: We are so glad to that you're in a studio this summer! What's it like, settling in?
GK: I'm very happy to be juried in and I'm glad Jim Dean offered me the opportunity to sublease and to eventually become a partner in his studio. I love the creative environment and the contact to the other artists. I'm happy that I found a place where I can seriously follow all my photographical interests. Besides other projects, I'm currently working on a system for photographic image composition that I've been pondering with for years. It might or might not become a book during the next years.
TFAA: To wrap it up, here's Guido's artist statement. Come visit him in studio 306!
Guido Krueger is an award-winning photographer and best-selling book author from Germany. He has been working as a professional software architect, part time photographer and blogger for many years. After moving to the D.C. area he is now focusing entirely on his photographic career.
In his coverage of the world, Guido strives to be honest, accurate and comprehensive. He prefers lightweight equipment and rarely uses a flash or tripod. Many of his pictures have been taken with point-and-shoot cameras, some even with smartphones.
While not being overly concerned about the technical aspects of photography, Guido understands the value of good equipment, thoughtful image composition and significant content. A strong center of interest, the careful arrangement of image elements and a good understanding of the light are of great importance to his pictures.
Guido is a Torpedo Factory Artist and a member of the National Press Photographers Association. He holds degrees in Computer Science and received his photographic education from the New York Institute of Photography. Guido and his wife Katja live Northwest of Washington, D.C.