Bernhard Lang was born in 1970 in Crailsheim in the South of Germany. In 2015 he won the Professional Landscape category of the Sony World Photography Awards with his series of aerial beach resorts at the Adriatic coastline.
Hi Bernhard, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your photography
I was born in 1970 in Crailsheim in the South of Germany. Since 1993 I have been based in Munich. I am married and we have two sons. In 1993 I started an official 3 year apprenticeship as photographer at a photostudio which specialized in advertising photography. After this I worked for 3 years as a freelance photo-assistent for various, international freelance photographers in advertising and fashion photography. Since 2000 I have been working as freelance photographer. I was mainly doing people or advertising photography for various international clients. But now I work on my personal project ‘Aerial Views’, for which I take aerial photos out of small planes and helicopters.
Why photography? What does the mediu mean to you?
I have always aspired to be in a profession that combines creativity and technical skills - which I found in photography. I had been a late starter and didn’t find photography seriously until I was 23 years old. In the beginning of my apprenticeship I did not know anything about photography, but fortunately it turned out that am a visual person, and my passion for and to create imagery developed step by step.
Remind us of your successful series in the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. Why did you choose these images and what do they mean to you?
The series about beach resorts at the Adriatic coastline in Italy which won in 2015 is one of my favourite series. I still get requests from art collectors and magazines from all over the world, who are interested in theses images. When I was looking through the imagery for the first time after the photo-flight, I remember that I had been particularly impressed by the enormous variety and colourfulness and the strict geometric arrangements of the umbrellas of the resorts, generating a strong selection of different looking images.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
The guiding idea of my work is to display the transformation or sometimes destruction of nature, caused by human impact. At the same time there’s often a surprisingly formal beauty or a pleasant order in these transformations. I am trying to show this antagonism through my work.
What top tips would you give to budding aerial photographers?
You have to make your own experiences and learn from them. Try to find your own style of imagery, your own "picture language".
What has been your most memorable shoot or location?
For my last Aerial Views series I had been in Manila, Philippines. The night before the photo flight I saw a huge fire in the city directly at one of the areas where we wanted to fly over to photograph. The next morning when we were flying over this slum area, we saw, that this quarter was completely burnt down. I saw people crawling through their destroyed homes, trying to find their belongings. It was a sobering experience.
Where in the world are you and what's next for you?
I am still located in Munich. My next project might be in the south of Europe. I am working to make it happen at the moment. Organizing flights is the part which takes most of the time.