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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Focus on Photography: Cristina Marx

Self Portrait

What are some of your recent projects?

Being the festival photographer at the recent Soundance and Kim Collective festivals. Attending the Jazzfest Berlin with a photo pass and hearing some great performances. Going to concerts every night and the unlimited33. Planning two exhibitions at Berlin concert venues for autumn and winter 2020.

Magda Mayas, Solo, Letra / Tone Festival 2019 @ Radialsystem Berlin
What is the decisive moment (referring to Henri Cartier-Bresson) in photographing free jazz/free-improvised music/creative music? 

Trying to catch a special moment of action, or rather inter-action between musicians and especially the emotions in musician´s faces. Besides this, to me, it is not so much about catching a concert in a single shot, but rather to document a concert. So that someone who was not able to attend, could possibly feel like he or she would have been there as well. Personally, I don´t think that Cartier-Bresson´s quote can be applied 100% to concert photography. In dance photography, which I am also doing and loving, there are other issues to be dealt with as it is much more physical, i.e. dancers need to be in control of the photos taken of them. The physicality of the performances is stronger and decisive. Some concert performances can get very close to dance though. In the end it might simply be all about body and facial expressions…

William Parker, FMP Festival 2018 @ Akademie der Künste Berlin
Can photographs, in this digital and Instagram age, still tell a story?

Yes. Telling a story with photos is not so much about the media being used, but about what the photos are telling and about what the eye of the respective photographer is seeing. It can be very personal, depending on one´s emotions when listening to the music and watching the performance and interaction on stage.

Barcelona Series (Andrea Neumann, Axel Dörner, Sven-Åke Johansson), FMP
Festival 2018 @ Akademie der Künste Berlin
Do you have a musician, configuration, setting, or instrument that you feel works well with photography? 

No, any would do, as long as I can relate to the music, and as long as there´s good light and enough space to change perspectives.

Junko Wada, MAKURA, Soundance Festival 2019 @ dock 11
Do you have a musician, configuration, setting, or instrument that you feel does not work well with photography? 

Bad light and bad vibes.

What is your preferred/recommended camera/lenses? 

As a beginner I would not dare to recommend anything so far, but for now I am very happy with my Fuji XT2 camera and its lenses.

Any advise for the novice photographer? 

Don´t try to be cool and show off with your possibly expensive camera, rather simply try to concentrate on the music and take good photos without being in the way of others. And if you don't love the music, it won't work. And yes, it helps if you take some classes and check out other concert photographers work and read a book or two on photography.

Anything else that we should have asked, but did not? 

What happens between musicians and photographers? There is a lot of energy in the room during a performance. IMHO, photography interacts with the performances in a very specific way. It is a complex and sensual situation.

Also, what happens in your own mind and with your feelings when taking photos during a concert? What do you see what the audience might not see? Are you missing something off the music and what is one gaining when taking photos? Does it weigh up to what you might be missing during taking photos? There are many questions.

About Cristina Marx

Born in Timisoara (Romania) in 1967, immigrated to West Germany in 1985, studied Chemistry, finished and then dropped that and started working as a film projectionist, film curator and film festival organizer in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Munich. Moved to Berlin in 2000 to work as PR manager and festival coordinator of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). Since 2005 working at the Film University Babelsberg, responsible for sales and distribution of student films. Started with concert photography in 2015.

See more:
Rieko Okuda, Annapaola Leso, Soundance Festival 2018 @ dock11