Considering Thomas Lohr’s relatively new and very graceful entrance into the heavily competitive and at times redundant world of fashion photography, he has made quite a name for himself. In a very short time he has established a distinct and individual shooting style keeping it fresh and young with a no nonsense editorial based foundation; instinctively infusing it with a wink and a nod to 1990’s imagery. Slick, modern, clean and effortlessly cool, we were intrigued and caught up with the photographer to hear more.
Trendland: I see you did a brief stint as an intern in advertising at the beginning of your journey, was this ever a viable path for you, or was this you getting your feet wet? Was the carrot on the stick always getting into fashion?
Lohr: I grew up in a small village in the south of Germany where I finished my A Level when I was 19. Nobody in the area works within the creative field or is much interested in fashion or advertising. I had no idea what I wanted to do as a profession, but I knew it had to be something creative. More by coincidence, I ended up taking on an internship at an advertising firm, but realized fairly soon, that that wasn’t the right thing for me. I never really planned to work in fashion, but the first time I got in touch with it was when I was living in Berlin in 2002.
TL: Was it something you intentionally set out to do, or was it happenstance?
Lohr: When I was studying photography in Berlin my best friend worked as a fashion assistant at a magazine. We did our first test together which we managed to get published. I really enjoyed it so we worked on many more fashion series after that, which is kind of how it all started.
TL: You seem to have a specific POV, there is a sense of mystery and deep longing in your images. The subjects are not forthcoming in what they are thinking or feeling, is this intentional?
Lohr: Yes of course it is. For me Fashion is not the reality, so shooting fashion gives me the opportunity to create my own world. I enjoy quite simple images, straight lines, the composition of an image is of great importance to me. By leaving nearly every dramatic emotion away, i feel it the viewer enough room for your his/her interpretations.
TL: There is also a minimalist quality to your work, does this coincide with artist’s and art with whom you relate to and admire? Which artists and types of art do you resonate with and look up to?
Lohr: I think my work is more influenced by friends and creatives surrounding me than artists i look up to but have never met. I personally admire artist who seem ‘to care’ , whose work is political, like Ai Wei Wei for example. In terms of photography I really like Roni Horn, Gillian Wearing and Rineke Dijkstra. Another artist I was very inspired by lately was Tino Sehgal. I just saw his “The Unilever Series” in the Turbin Hall of Tate Modern which, I thought was really outstanding.
TL: I get a sense that you are interested in portraits, what is it about this type of imagery that appeals to you?
Lohr: I really enjoy meeting new people especially if I find them inspiring in any way. Photographing them gives me the chance to get to know someone even if just for a short while. I might have never had the chance to meet otherwise. I also like the challenge of taking portraits. You have to be able to adjust to a location and light situation under time pressure and try to capture the personality of the person you are portraying as good as possible, often with very little time.
TL: What is in Thomas Lohr’s future? Where do you see your career going and what upcoming projects are you working on?
Lohr: That’s a good question. I can’t answer.
I don’t really like to speak about my projects until they are finished.