My name is Frank Machalowski, I was born in Berlin, Germany. I live and work here. After studying economy in Berlin I worked for 14 years as a business consultant, almost 3 years ago I started my own business as a freelance photographer and artist.
How and when did you become interested in photography?
When I was a little child, my father spent his leisure photographing and was often in his own darkroom. So I was fascinated by this process. Later I bought my first camera and tested it thoroughly. Over the years I began to lose interest in photography. In the early 2000, when the first digital cameras came to the market, my passion was reawakened.Today I am delighted by the charming characteristics and atmosphere of analogue bw film photography in all its facets. So I develop and print some of my photos by my own. In some of my artworks I try to combine the digital and analogue techniques.
Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
I’m a very visual person, a movie junky, but I don’t like everything. I love well-designed films and strange stories. I love the old masters of bw-photography and I read a lot. There are many photographers and artists I admire much. For me, the most fascinated photographers are Hiroshi Sugimoto, Michael Ackermann and Henri Cartier-Bresson. I love the subtle poetic visual language of Sugimoto, Ackermanns purposeful treatment of light and the artistic skills of daily life from Bresson. All of the three are masters of bw photography.
Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
I think in bw photography there is no distraction by strange colors, it’s more directly, if you know what I mean. Furthermore I love the work in the darkroom to control bw material by chemicals (contrast, pushing, toning etc.).
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
At present I have three main series I’ve been working on. The ‘tierwald’ series, where I compose exotic animals in a mystical foggy forest in Central Germany. Then the series called ‘multiexpo’. For this series I photographed landmarks as multiple exposures. It was launched in Berlin, my hometown, but currently I’m working to extend this kind of photography to other cites. For this series I use exclusive analogue film material in both dimensions (35mm and 6×6) and only bw. And the third project is ‘monster’. I take the pictures for this project with an old analog medium format camera, a tripod and some different ND-filters. I develop the negatives by my own. But the question of technique was quickly answered. More complicated is the management of the places and events. I start a photowalk with a look at the daily newspaper or relevant websites, to search for events, witch will attract many spectators. If i don’t know the place, i visit the location of the event some days or weeks before it starts. Then i take some pictures in order to verify that it is worth for this series. Therefore i am looking for unusual architecture or special sights and landmarks and places wherever people come together and move – a steady flow… but mostly it is a random process. This year I was in Barcelona, the final game of the soccer cup took place over there. Three days before the game started I visited the FC Barcelona Stadion to search for some interesting places. I found what I was looking for, but in the end, there where thousands of people but they don’t move enough. In the end I took some interesting pictures for my project but it wasn’t what I expected.
Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I’m a member of the group called ‘Berlin photography’. It is a collective of 32 photographers who are engaged with the city of Berlin in photographic art. In April this year there is planning a group exhibition and in September I have a solo exhibition. Another thing that I want to develop myself is portrait photography. I’m looking for a interesting series where I can integrate photos of people.