Axel Breutigam on his artwork:
For decades my work has mainly been focused on architectural and (broader) landscape photography, with some excursus into street photography once in a while.
Wandering the streets of bigger cities to explore interesting angles of familiar or new buildings as well as going inside museums, convention centers and shopping malls – all with camera at hand – that was ‘my world’.
But the same can be said for the opposite: Leaving the city to seek quietness and concentration in nature in order to find challenges in landscape photography.
That all changed when Covid-19 hit.
Due to social distancing mingling in crowded cities and exploring the inside of buildings wasn’t an option anymore.
Niether was landscape photography in unknown territory – travel restrictions kept us home or close to home.
What to do?
I started looking for things which surround us every day – and came across flowers.
To be honest, I’ve never been a real ‘flower person’. I always liked flowers but more the way “oh, yes, they are nice”; I never took the time to look at all the variety of flowers and their details.
Nevertheless, I started to take photos – in black & white, of course – and all of a sudden realized how different and beautiful their shapes and details are.
Flowers are most of the time associated with colors. Taking away those colors let flowers ‘shine’ in a different, new light.
Now their shapes, structures and all their details play the important role.
Everything gets calm all of a sudden.
After a long and successful career as an attorney and CPA in his native Hamburg, Germany, Axel Breutigam sold his company and relocated to Vancouver, BC to pursue his lifelong passion of photography.
Breutigam studied under Alan Ross, Ansel Adams’ former assistant, and the exclusive printer of Adams’ Yosemite Special Edition Negatives. Under Ross, Breutigam enhanced his technical skill and was taught how best to use digital processing techniques that emulate the darkroom prints of earlier decades.
Breutigam has established himself as an international award-winning black and white photographer with a distinct and technically sophisticated style. Intriguing perspectives, bold lighting and abstract shapes are characteristic of his evocative, timeless compositions.
Breutigam’s subtle abstractions, aversion to excessive digital manipulation, and penchant for sharply focused, tonally rich and high contrast photographs draws parallels to the straight photography style pioneered by members of the West Coast Photographic Movement, whihc included renowned photographers Edward Weston, Paul Strand, and Ansel Adams.
Breutigam’s motifs of abstraction and sharply focused forms makes his photographs remarkably contemporary, while the traditional techniques he practices imbue his photographs with a timeless quality that recalls this earlier movement.