We continue with our 'ohw? are you?' blog series. This time we talk to London based photographer duo Ilka & Franz. The duo have a fantastic portfolio of quirky and minimalist conceptual work involving people, objects and animals. We recently had the pleasure of collaborating with them.
Anyway, enough from me... let's hear from the guys themselves.
How did you guys first meet?
Ilka: This is really not a very exciting story... because we met at a house party in Bethnal Green in East London... Franz had just arrived in London to start assisting and I had been here a few years already.
What made you decide to become a creative photography duo?
Franz: We did a few projects together at the beginning and somehow that led us to talking about ideas and shoots and opportunities a lot, so it kind of evolved from there. I also look at it as a family business, which is something I always wanted.
Ilka: Plus, it made sense to work as a team because our skills and experiences and the ways in which we work are quite different but really compliment each other.
Was the move to London brought on by career opportunities or would have moved over to the UK none-the-less?
Ilka: I went to uni here and somehow still haven't managed to go home so I didn't choose London to further my career but it developed here and I'm sure it did in a very different way than it would have in Germany.
Franz: For me it was a more conscious decision. I was looking for opportunities to assist and learn from photographers and for that London is great.
You started off creating wonderfully quirky portraits, what inspired you to broaden your scope to incorporate still life photography?
Franz: Somehow we always thought still life is boring but at the same time people started telling us that our portraits remind them of still life work because they are so precise and static. We started combining our portraits with objects and later even worked still life elements into our portraits. Leaving the human out and focussing on objects only was a natural progression.
Ilka: Yes, and now were really into it. We still love portraiture but still life is great too. It is a very different way of working. It is a lot more crafty and can be very tricky and fiddly. Each shot is a real challenge. In still life there are few lucky accidents, if any at all.
How did you stumble across ohw? & what was it about the brand that interested you?
Ilka: I can't remember for sure but chances are we found you on Instagram. We are always on the lookout for brands to work with and with ohw? we liked the product as well as the existing photography. That makes it easy to come up with ideas and we loved that you were so open to our very different and quirky approach.
Which artists/photographers do you draw inspiration from?
Ilka: There are so many. We gather inspiration from all over the place and it is not only photographers. It can be a painting or some silly snap we stumble upon online. I think it is much more internet culture and sometimes the outside world that give us ideas rather than other professional artists.
What is the piece of work you are most proud off?
Franz: This is a difficult question. We look at our own work so much and I think with every project it gets better so I tend to be proudest of whatever is our latest work. That is because it tends to be our best and I haven't had much time yet to get tired of it.
Ilka: I think there are individual pictures that you grow fond of over time. They kind of stick with you and come to being the pictures you enjoy most showing. I think the most important thing is though that with every project or commission we try to make it our best work yet.
Thanks guys, it was an absolute pleasure talking to you!
Take a look at more of their portfolio here: Ilka & Franz