Marcus Hessenberg is a Photographer and Producer/Director in photography and film. He is a freelancer and puts his focus on editorial fashion and portraits and is mostly based in London. The FIV Magazine did an interview with the photographer, talking about his daily routine as a photographer, career and passion for photography and video. In his opinion there is more versatilty in photographing women than men, he likes the way cultures change and adapt according to circumstances and you can watch him editing his photos in some Londoner cafe with his laptop.
Personal information: Origin, daily routine & shootings
FIV: Marcus your last name sounds like you having german origins. Is there a story behind your last name or are you german?
Marcus: Hessenberg is a german name, although I was told there could be dutch origins but it has always made sense that it could be a hill in Hessen and my German side seem to all be from Frankfurt. There are not many Hessenbergs and i actually found my German cousin through couch surfing and we keep in touch still.
FIV: I saw that you live in London. Do you think it is easier to get into the fashion business in London than in other cities? Why is london so famous in the fashion business? And do you think there it is easier to develope your own unique style?
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Marcus: I can’t tell you how much I love London. London and New York are both my favourite cities. The truth is that London is famous for so many industries and fashion is just one. I love this mix as it means there is a clash of motives in the city. It is used and seen in so many different ways. There are different types of people through out the city and they dress and behave in different ways – there is a constant reaction to eachother and this fuels different communities to identify themselves in different ways. There are also many different influences from all over the world and London is still a port city with people coming and going all the time, each leaving their mark here. London is truly international and all the communities bring their own fashion sense.
FIV: Marcus can u tell me how a busy work day in your life looks like? What is your first step you do on those days?
Marcus: At the moment I am busy! On shooting days I tend to keep things simple – I have a large set up and a small set up – my small set up is a Canon stills camera and a Sony Fs5 Video camera. If I am not shooting I have my laptop with me and move around London sitting in cafes editing. Yes I am one of those laptop people. I get up at 8am usually and get my bike or walk in a direction from Elephant and Caslte, sometimes in to Soho, sometimes South or East. I try to mix pleasure with work as much as possible, I am always working in one sense – from shooting, to editing to planning the next shoot and answering emails.
FIV: On your website I saw that you mainly shoot womans. Do you have a certain reason why you mainly shoot woman? I see the urban look is your style. Why you took the urban look?
Marcus: I mainly shoot women this is true. I prefer working with women generally and in terms of clothing and working with the body I find there is more versatilty in photographing women. Obviously I naturally have a male gaze but I tend to follow many female photographers who work with women’s fashion on instagram. I may work with men more in the future but I would really want to reflect on how to make men’s fashion photography a bit dfferent, it doesn’t come naturally to me. I love women.
I am a city lover and I shoot the people I admire and find stylish. I live in a central inner city bit of London and this is reflected in my work.
FIV: At your website i could read that you like celebrating modern culture and prefer the art going more forward than backward. What does art mean for you?
Marcus: Generally I like the way cultures change and adapt according to circumstances. Cities such as london are always moving and adapting. People compete here and its the same with styles. Birtain as a whole can sometimes have a habit of looking backwards and trying to revert to past stereotypes of Britishness. I react against this as much as possible. Britain can be a very progressive and exciting place in certain corners of the country with some of the most contrasted people in such a small place.
FIV: There are many fish at the sea, that’s a german phrases. Literally translated this means, that your not the only photographer in London. What do you think make you unique and high demanded?
Marcus: Who know’s – I do what I like and I enjoy my work. I feel less and less like trying to impress people and just to do what I enjoy as much as possible – At the beginning you feel like trying to justify your work and create work that appeases other people but I do this less and less. I try to only take on projects that work for me now too. I only shoot colour now. I’m also quite positive and i think this helps. I am always taking every shoot as a learning experience tooo and I want to improve constantly.
FIV: You already had a lot of shootings with differnt people and personalities. what do a model need in your opinion to be successful and a good model? Are there some characterics every model should have? If so which are they?
Marcus: Modeling is a skill – the ability to switch it on when you may not be in the mood, or to switch from happy to moody on demand is amazing. I have had a model who is 5 foot who appears to be 6 foot in the photos, purely because she knew her angles and had a big personailty. I tend to choose models who have personality and their own style. I like it to feel like a mutual collaboration and I enjoy talking with models as we shoot.
Photographer: Way to professional photography
FIV: Compared with other photographs your style look different. Do you want to say something with your photos? And would you consider photography as art?
Marcus: Im not too sure how to define my style. I like colour and i like colour and i like energy. Although inadvertise myself as a fashion photographer, its more about the people than the clothes. I like people with natural style and character. The clothes come with it. I snap away and chat as i do, its also my social life half the time. I dont over think things, i just like to do. I suppose again it is my rejection of a certain view of the UK – I like celebrating the concrete and the clash of old and new here, as well as the changing face of the UK.
Photography is an art form but i don’t take it too a seriously in that sense. I see it more as documentation, documeng people and doing it in a colourful way. I like people, i like bodues and i like personality
FIV: You working as a photographer, is that your biggest dream or do you have another bigger dream? Now looking to your career, what is your next goal?
Marucs: Photography and video are my passion. I love stills photography but i always want video to go along side with my photography. I always shoot video on every shoot. I tend to edit the video first as i really enjoy the process. I would like to make a feature documentary on the people of London, also one on sex and erotica and also try my hand on a narrative film eventually.
FIV: You write on your website. »too many cooks spoil the broth« Is that’s the reason for you using small teams. How many people are working with you in your team?
Marcus: Normally i try to keep it as small as myself and the model. Sometimes theres an MUA and stylists, sometimes not as i tend to shoot people who have a natural intersting style in their wardrobe. If its a bigger shoot with a stylist i try to keep the team as small as possible and limit extra people on set. I just find sometimes the atmosphere changes when everyone has a view. It’s always best when people feel like they are free on set and give more direction as the shoot goea kn and everyone feels more settled in their roles.
FIV: Did you ever was in Berlin? If yes would you say that you can compare Berlin as the german fashion metropole with other fashion metropoles like London, Paris or New York?
Marcus: Yup! I used to spend a bit of time in Berlin and recently went back. I’ts a great city. I used to want to move there but as i said before, I fell in love with London. I think it is true when people say the Berlin look is a bit grungier although i do not feel confident enough to say this for sure. I would say that London and New York has much more variation in styles as the people come from all sorts of fields.