“Black and white reduces it down to the subject. There’s less distraction from the thing I want people to see, what I want to tell.”
Alex Dietrich is a young Austrian photographer that focuses on black and white. In this interview, he tells us about the reason for this choice, the love for his city (Vienna), the work behind his book and much more…
Do you remember the moment you realized photography was your favorite way of expression?
When I was a teenager I bought a tiny digital camera for a reason I can’t remember to be honest. But from that moment on I was hooked! I started taking pictures of my friends and all the stupid things we were up to and soon after that I started taking pictures of bands and from then on I never stopped.
The photographer you feel to be more influenced by? Why?
There’s several but I would say it started with Henri Cartier-Besson of course, that was the first street photographer I got to know. But I’d say I’m way more influenced by the likes of William Klein, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Martin Parr, and Claude Norri. You get the idea!
You choose to photograph in black and white. What does this choice allow you that the whole spectrum of colors doesn’t?
It reduces it down to the subject. There’s less distraction from the thing I want people to see, what I want to tell. You get a more timeless look, I like the aesthetics a lot more. A thing I myself haven’t managed to achieve with color. There are people who can and I love those pictures just as much.
“Da letzte Schmäh”, your book. Tell us more about it, and what is the core of it.
The core of it is Vienna. My hometown, where I was born and raised and have been living for 32 years now. I want to show a side of Vienna which many people haven’t seen and never dive into and I’m also talking about people who have been living here for a long time. Let alone tourists. Everyday life off the beaten track. A part of Vienna I myself am not getting to see every day as well, but I love it when I do and I feel just as comfortable as I’ve partly grown up with it.
Sebastiao Salgado has recently stated that “cellphone photography has nothing to do with photography”. What do you think about it?
Though question. I know his pictures and I’ve seen the documentary about him so I get what he is saying. I would say just as digital photography has it’s eligibility so has cellphone photography. The cameras are getting better and better, there’s (music)videos being filmed with iPhones and they look incredible. I can’t see myself seriously taking pictures with my phone but I love filming 5 to 10 seconds clips with it for Instagram and would love to show them in an installation!
We live everyday more in a world saturated with images. What are the main consequences for people, as you, whose passion and work is photography?
There’s lots more competition of course and people who do your job for less. Which sucks of course but also forces you to get better! When it comes down to Instagram and other social media platforms you have to work a lot to be seen. But then it also gives you opportunities that have not been available before.
The shot -yours or of another- you are more attached to? Why?
The cover of my book I’d say. It shows you what I love about Vienna in one picture. And the cover of Martin Parrs Last Resort. Just perfect in so many ways.
A photographer you want to give a shout out to and suggest our readers?
Klaus Pichler. He helped me with my book and is such a talented guy overall. I love every project he has done.
Best advice you ever received as a photographer?
Don’t care about others.
Next and upcoming projects?
It will be a more specific project about Vienna and it will be in color!