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The imagination of the viewer, with Florian Mueller

7 years ago

Florian W. Mueller is a Cologne based photographer with 15+ years experience of producing creative and inspiring photography. His work is exhibited and published internationally and has received numerous awards.

He specialises in landscape, architecture and abstract images, but also in portraits and still life. His work is represented by several galleries and his personal work is held in many private collections around the world. He was shortlisted in the Professional Architecture category of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards


Hi Florian, thanks for chatting. Tell us about your successful series ‘Paramnesie’

In this series I play with the abstraction of memories. Dreamlike landscape pictures, confronting the viewer with the question "Do I remember this?", 'Paramnesie' (false memory) is the psychological phenomenon in which a person recalls a memory that did not actually occur. I chose the round presentation based on early japanese photography and as a visual parallel to a keyhole. A keyhole to our memories, even if these are "false" memories.


Why photography?

My father was a physician, a scientist in neuropathology. He always took photos from his microscope-work and developed these photos in his darkroom in our cellar. That was my first contact with the magic of photography. A picture that appeares on a blank piece of paper, that was an adventure for me. He also gave me my first camera, a simple Kodak Instamatic and later a Voigtlaender and he taught me that little dance between aperture and exposure time, light and shadow, depth of field and so on.

I am mostly working as an artist and photography is a kind of communication for me. I love to talk to people in exhibitions about my work and what they see in it. After personal projects, jobs as set-photographer for TV production companies and advertising agencies I developed the desire to progress and to force and establish my way of photographing in order to extend my own artistic and photographically context. Influenced by the second important professional aspect – the communication – arose over time multidimensional and ambiguous images which almost demand an interaction with the beholder.


Do you have a photographic philosophy?

I don't know if it is a philosophy: In times of an endless flood of images and greed for perfection I see the necessity to look in an entirely different direction: The images are not enough, it is the abstraction and the individual view; together they reach into and below the surface of customary patterns of conception. In this case abstraction is focused on the reduction to certain facts, forms and objects but not as an experience of pure non-objectivity. The imagination of the viewer supplements what is absent; what thematically is not dissolved receives, an invisible layer through the observer. It is about the evocation of thoughts, associations, emotions and memories.


You’ve recently been to Photokina to see your images exhibited as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Travelling Exhibition. What was this experience like?

Great! Absolute splendid, I was flattered. It always great to see your own work exhibited. But during a fair like Photokina thousands of people see your work and that's just great. And for me it is a very big compliment for the World Photography Organisation team to show my pictures. Really, I am flattered and proud. Even more, because my work was shown in another exhibition at Photokina, with the BFF, the german association of freelance photographers, where I am a professional member.
 My work 'JellyBelly No. 15' was exhibited right beneath a work of Peter Lindbergh. That's fantastic!

Where in the world are you and what are you working on at the moment?

I am based in Cologne, Germany. Right at the moment I am working on two exhibitions: My work of the series 'Multivision Manhattan' and 'Multivision Hong Kong' will be exhibited in Paris and in New York in November and I will travel to New York.
 And I am going back to the roots: I will reactivate my darkroom and work on some middle format stills, shot with my Mamiya RB67. Exciting!
 For more informations, please do not hesitate to rummage through my website.