A photographer with an eye for the architectural, Annette Schreiber creates works that make the most of the atmospheric potential in photography. Her photographs often observe high rises, finding a surreal, sparse reality in familiar angles. Schreiber revels in negative space, letting the natural gradients of light in each urban landscape overtake her compositions. Even when the subjects of a photograph are rigid and linear, Schreiber transforms them into distorted, atmospheric objects that set their own patterns of wood, glass, and steel against the subtle swathes of sky.
Much of Schreiber’s work is black and white, allowing the contrast between light and dark to be the focus. More than documentary, Schreiber’s works use a moody blend of greys, towering architecture, and silhouetted trees to convey emotion. Imbued with the photographer’s own feelings, each image communicates a tone beyond its subject matter.
Born in Germany, Annette Schreiber began photographing as a child. Since earning her Master’s Degree in Photography in 2000, Schreiber has interpreted the world through her camera lens with a unique eye towards the sentiment behind the image. She recently won two categories and received an honorable mention in the 10th Pollux Awards.
LSA: Photography is a diverse and fascinating medium that can captivate people. The interplay of light and form, colour and structures can be impressively staged and leave a lasting impression in life. This is not the only reason why photography is so popular. A master of this artistic subject is Annette Schreiber. She got a professional master title in photography. Originally, from Germany, she moved with her family to the United States, where she has lived and worked for many years. Annette, thank you very much for giving us an insight into your artistic career and information about your work. What fascinates you about photography and how did you come to occupy yourself more deeply with this medium?
Annette: First of all, thank you so much for the honor to be interviewed by this incredible art magazine where I am able to talk about my passion of photography. Photography for me is a medium to express my feelings and emotions, not something fictional but the everyday experiences I encounter. I capture beautiful moments, moments of excitement and depth. Things and/or situations, which affect me in a positive or negative way. It feels like meditation to me.
LSA: What motivated you to run an apprenticeship as a photographer?
Annette: I stumbled my way into photography. I wanted to study Grafik Design but was told to do a creative internship or apprenticeship beforehand. I applied at a photo studio to become a photographer and at several design stores for interior design. I got accepted to start as a photography apprentice in our local portrait studio, and that’s how my journey began.
LSoA: Were there special challenges during your vocational and master training?
Annette: While getting my bachelor’s degree I was not so much interested in the technical side of photography than in the creative part but have learned to appreciate it very much over the last two decades in this business. When getting my master’s degree many years later, I enjoyed everything very much. I was taught the psychology of customers, book keeping and thinking outside of the box. How to sustain as an entrepreneur in the photography business. All the fundamental things you might need over time.
LSA: Photography knows many different fields of work and genres. Which topics interest you besides portraiture?
Annette: I love everything in photography, especially architecture, landscapes and the human face.
LSA: One of your specialities is architectural photography, which makes up a large part of your publicly known oeuvre. What is it that fascinates you so much?
Annette: One of my favorite hobbies is to read. Through one of my books by Ayn Rand “Fountainhead” I fell in love with architecture. I started to look at buildings and structures in a different way. I also got interested in the works of many architects, their life, their way of thinking. Architecture is art in itself. It combines the creativity and intrinsic values of the architect with its surroundings.
LSA: New York is the focus of your architectural work. This surely has something to do with the impressive skyline and the buildings there. Can you explain your preference to us?
Annette: NYC is special. My favorite city. I was always fascinated by it and in addition, I call myself lucky enough to live just 100 miles southwest of New York. The smells, the noises, the variety of people and buildings. So versatile and random but still so harmonious. I just love this city and I think it shows in my photography. Everything there feels so familiar but still so different.
LSA: Are there photographers who influence you and your work?
Annette: Yes. I always admired Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz and their portrait work. Ansel Adams and his talent for detail in landscape photography and Henri Cartier-Bresson with his incredibly artistic and journalistic style, inspire me and my work a lot. I also find the works of Mark Twain, Vincent Van Gogh, Nikola Tesla or Frank Gehry incredibly inspiring. Even though not all of them belong to the photography society. It is their spirit, their bison for something extraordinary.
LSA: The tasks that the Covid-19 pandemic has set for all of us will certainly have an impact on your artistic activities, which you will have to learn to deal with. How do you deal with these issues?
Annette: I take it easy and adapt. I exhibit more online on my website for architectural fine art photography or on Artsy and Artnet. I had the honour to be interviewed by some galleries via Facebook live, was part of a fellow photographer’s podcast and have interviews with magazines like yours. Do I miss physical exhibitions and art shows? Yes, I do. Not just as an artist but also as a visitor. I miss the whole cultural experience. On the other side, it is important to adjust and adapt to change and I embrace it. In addition to my fine artwork, I also own a portrait studio which requires most of the time my full attention. I take great customer service very seriously. The present life circumstances of many people have changed, which affects everything, but it will pass and get better at one point. I am very optimistic regarding the future and until then I remain positive and adjust to the present situation.
LSA: Are there people you would like to portray? If so, why?
Annette: I never really thought about a question like this. Every person I am allowed to portray, is special. It is very exciting to watch how people behave in front of a camera. Some feel really awkward while others are so natural and easy going. I love this challenge. Kids are great models when allowed to be themselves. So much character, so much life.
LSA: What are your artistic goals for the near and distant future?
Annette: I am a big believer in variety because it encourages creativity. Right now, I am working on my Fine Art and Portrait Businesses to make them better and more efficient. Once it is safe enough to travel again, I am planning on a trip to Germany because the architecture in the bigger cities there, like Dresden, Berlin, Frankfurt and especially Hamburg did not get enough of my attention so far.
We would like to thank you for your time, for this interview, especially for your great artistic work and wish you much success for your future.
Annette: My pleasure. Many thanks and all the best for this incredible magazine.
Interview by Dieter Hanf