Styrian (Austria) born and bred Michael Hochfellner describes himself as a true global citizen and as a photographer with every fibre of his body.
It was a small photo production during his studies which helped him discover his passion for photography and unsurprisingly, he is hooked ever since. This life-changing moment has been firmly embedded in his memory.
Michael is driven by perfection – “Everything I do, I do without compromise”. He draws his inspiration from landscapes, from nature and people. “I love transforming creative ideas into artistic images”. His main motivation comes from being able to do what he loves to do, day after day, and working on new, exciting projects constantly with the variety that each day brings, as well as working on his own creative projects.
Although he mainly works as a photographer in the field of industry, outdoor and landscape, he also sometimes verges into the field of still-life. His latest project “Feather Heads” is an arts project that he classifies as a step into still-life photography and a chance to use his photography as an outlet for his ideas corresponding to his ideas and creativity.
Everything I do, I do without compromise
I love transforming creative ideas into artistic images
His bread and butter work however is focused on the areas of industry, outdoor and landscape, where he enjoys supporting his customers to turn their ideas and expectations into perfection. His clients are extremely varied, and the main criteria is that he likes to work with people who share the same ideas of perfection and high standards.
When asked what makes his photography style unique, Michael explains that he tries to tell stories with his photographs. He wants to immerse the viewer in a world that they may not have known beforehand. He aims to reduce my images to the essentials, but with room for interpretation. They then become unique because of his personal point of view, transforming his visual habits into an image – a combination of reduction and puristic elegance.
His photography is also highly influenced and inspired by his passion of a variety of arts, whether it is modern painting, architecture, vehicle construction or even craftmanship.
Equipment-wise Michael swears by medium-format systems as only these match the look, feel and resolution required for his work. “Medium format has a certain look that cannot be imitated; this has also become part of my style over time. Since I also work very heavily in the field of large-format art printing, at some point there was no way around it.”
Prior to using Phase One, he worked with many different camera models including a Nikon D810 with all common lenses, however he emphasises that if you’re into photography intensely enough, sooner or later you can’t get around Phase One.
“I’ve never been completely happy with my Nikon system, so I’ve always tested different camera systems. I then borrowed and worked with a Phase One camera for the first time during a production. Admittedly, it was not love at first sight, but it takes some time to get used to working with a medium-format system. However, when it comes to quality, when it comes to productions where the last 10% makes the difference, the Phase One system is my first choice. Every time, it is amazing to me what extraordinary results this Phase One system delivers. Purist, ground-breaking and mercilessly accurate. A camera that is designed for the highest demands. And opens up completely new perspectives for me.”
Currently, Michael works with the Phase One XF IQ3 100MP camera system and the blue ring lenses, 35 mm, 55 mm, 80 mm and the 120 mm macro. His favourite lens however is the 80 mm one. It offers everything his heart desires when it comes to portraits, but it’s also a super-exciting focal length for landscape shots.
He recently borrowed the new IQ4 150MP for the ‘Feather Heads’ production and was very impressed with the quality. Since then he has been toying with the idea of an upgrade.
Looking back, he stresses that the system not only offers pure quality but it also enhances his workflow and reduces time and effort as he shoots more consciously and doesn’t need three exposures of every situation to play it safe due to the camera’s exceptional dynamic range. Also, he outlines that he loves the whole system, particularly in combination with the Capture One software.
It’s a system that works seamlessly and, above all, truly recognises my needs as a photographer and doesn’t just develop according to technical feasibility.
So what’s next? Michael is very open regarding his next projects and doesn’t follow any stringent list, he likes to be surprised by the next challenge. He would, however, love to continue to work on a project that was sadly cut short due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic and which focused on the people and landscapes of Scandinavia.
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