Heiko Gerlicher is a self taught landscape and nature photographer born in 1969, living in Ahorn in the District of Coburg, Germany. By profession he is field staff for a special steel wholesale trade. But for a hobby, he shoots photos. In fact, he is a award-winning photographer. Some Gold medals at the prestigious Trierenberg Supercircuit for example and several publications in magazines belong to his successes so far.
1. What was your path to become a photographer?
I came to photography in 2009, when my wife gave me my first Digital SLR camera as a gift. Although I photographed at analog times, but this was limited to mandatory Holiday Photos. The DSLR camera caught my interest, to get closer and more creative with photography. So I started to document the snowy winter of 2009 in our area from a more minimalist perspective. Just the predominant colorlessness of this season crowded for me, to make the picture as simple as possible. This simplicity continues to shape my image design and imagery today, but always with the view, to try something new.
2. Do you prefer to photograph close to home or do you find faraway places more inspiring? Are there any special places that inspire you the most to create new work?
Mostly I take pictures near my home. There are plenty of places to see and hidden corners to find that make exploring with the camera more than worthwhile. I rarely come back home and am dissatisfied with the picture yield. Of course I also find places that fascinate me on our travels. In a few weeks we will be back for two weeks on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Because I am a forest and tree lover, I am especially excited there to visit the wild natural forests. But most inspiration I find near my home. There I find motifs that may still never been photographed anytime before. This appeals to me much more than traveling from Hot Spot to Hot Spot and taking pictures, who have already been photographed several thousand times.
3. Are you a meticulous pre-planer or do you prefer creating images spontaneously? Do you revisit your favourite places many times to achieve the required result? Can you tell us more about your method of working?
In fact, most of my pictures are intuitive and spontaneous. Since I have been dealing with meteorology for a long time, I'm pretty much sure if a photo trip is worthwhile under certain conditions. In addition, there is also a certain feeling that convinced me to pack the camera. I visit many places at different seasons again and again when I see that the conditions there ideal. For example, it pulls me into the mountains when rain is announced. Then you will probably find wonderful mist moods in the woods.
4. Terra Quantum displays themes and series portfolios; do you like working to the project/series/theme or find creating individual images more rewarding?
I really like the idea of topics and series. Some time ago I had created several series for my account at Behance. That gave me a lot of pleasure. As well, I also like the one image that works for itself without being part of a whole. Worthwhile are in my eyes both ways of presentation. Just as it is in music too. There is the one song that pleases you and then there is the album that works best as a complete work.
5. Can you tell us a bit more about one chosen photograph – what is the story behind it, when/why/how it was created?
I think of the picture of the maple avenue in winter. On this little road I am regularly on tour with my racing bike in spring and summer. Many times I visualized the scenery, if there in winter, after a prolonged fog period, the trees are veiled in hoarfrost. On a New Year's morning this time had come. After two days of fog and a moderate snow shower appeared to me that a visit is there worthwhile. I was not disappointed. It was exactly as I had imagined. Even before the snow was cleared of the road and thawed shortly thereafter, I was able to record a series of this maple avenue.
6. Colour, b&w or both? How do you decide about the elimination or inclusion of colour and why. When do you decide about it - in the field or during the post processing?
Because I like both, color and b&w are used as well in my photography. Most depending on which time of year and day. For example, in autumn color is almost a must for me, while b&w is always the most expressive in monochrome winters. Ultimately, I decide on it in the post processing, how the final picture should look like. Surprises are not rare.
7. Do you find printing your images yourself as an integral part of image creation or do you use professional labs? How important is the choice of paper for you?
I work in cooperation with the Berlin gallery Photocircle. There the pictures are printed on a high-quality fine art paper. A first-class quality of paper is important, because you want finally enjoy your prints for a long time. In addition, the print should look like exactly of what you have experienced locally.
8. Do you think that social media is killing photography or playing an important role in promoting your work? How involved are you in your online presence?
I do not think social media will kill photography at all. Social media such as Instagram are similar to fast food. A fast image consumption, which is offered in abundance regardless of the quality. Anyone who appreciates quality like I do, will visit the websites of the photographers or equivalent high quality image portals such as Terra Quantum. The situation is similar with fast food restaurants. Anyone who is looking for a high-quality food, always goes to a real good restaurant. In addition to my own website, I also have an online presence on Behance and Instagram. From my experience, I can say that the most serious and sustainable inquiries are made through my own homepage. Most social media contacts are more superficial. Not everyone who follows me on Instagram is really interested in my pictures. Many only want that I will follow them back. What I find positive about is that social media easily draw attention to new photographers, as this medium is used by a lot of.
10. We are living on the most beautiful planet, yet it is over-burdened and over-polluted. As photography is an influential medium, do you use the power of your photographs to promote our Earth appreciation and environmental awareness? Any thoughts how photographers in general can become more involved in this important matter?
Yes, we photographers can use our pictures in some way to influence the abuses of our planet. On the one hand through the documentation of these, which are intended to stimulate reflection and of course to counteract with measures, on the other hand, however, the images should also show the beauty of many places that need to be protected and preserved. I'm involved with pictures of trees at the organization Tree-Nation. Tree Nation is a platform where everyone can plant trees. Their mission is to reforest the world, with more than 60 planting projects around the globe. I also sell fine art prints and calendars in cooperation with the gallery Photocircle in Berlin. Photocircle and the artist donate a part of the proceeds, which can be up to 50% of the sales price, towards educational and development projects in the region, in which the photo was taken.