“Hi Pixsoul, thanks a lot for your feature and interest in my work. My name is Markus Ulrich, born and still living in Berlin, Germany and I work as a press spokesperson for a German human rights NGO.
Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been photographing a lot, mostly black and white by the time. Nearby my parent’s house there was a lab, where I could develop my pics and make prints and such.
After school I played with the idea to study photography but in the end I was probably not self-confident enough.Furthermore, a lot of photography schools in Germany are private schools and therefore charge quite an amount of money. I couldn’t afford it. But maybe there would have been a way if I was truly convinced that I am good and creative enough to take that step.
Anyhow, I kept my interest in photography as a hobby. Since six or seven years I’ve begun to visit some photography classes which resulted in a couple of group exhibitions. Starting my Instagram two years ago pushed my engagement with photography to a new level, especially because it shifted my focus to mobile photography.
One year ago I started to exhibit printed photos from my Instagram account. I like the idea of transferring something which was produced originally for social media and the digital sphere into the analog world, the old-fashioned print.
“From the start I’ve shoot a lot of architecture and urban motivs. I guess because I didn’t feel so comfortable to photograph people. It’s is still hard for me. Unliving things don’t get nervous, you have all the time in the world, there is no social relationship involved, it’s just me and the motif.
Lately I am interested in landscape photography as well. But for my Instagram account I have a clear concept and look for a certain aesthetic. I only post photos taken with my mobile. Beiläufigkeiten is a German word which does not exist in English. It’s the noun of the adjective beiläufig which means incidental, casual or random.
It is hard to describe what attracts me, I definitly look for urban patterns, lines and shadows, a really clear, minimalist and sorted frame and aesthetic. I do think that in their neutral, concise and maybe even cold composition my pics often reflect some melancholic distance, sometimes tristesse.
That is really beautiful to me. I do like as well that you cannot really tell where I’ve taken these pictures. You could find these motifs everywhere, they are not really specific. It’s nice to recognize this in my exhibitions, that even if they have been taken in several countries and cities, a certain aesthetic and style, my point of view, connects them and holds the together.
There is this incident which maybe describes pretty much what I am looking for. When me and a friend where in Venice we walked around a corner and arrived at Piazza San Marco.
Everyone on this square photographed the old impressive buildings but I turned around and was fascinated with a scaffold and a red and white barrier tape, glowing in the sun, the background was completly hidden in a dark shadow.
My friend laughed so hard and said we are at one of the most beautiful squares in the world and you take a photopgraph of a scaffold. So maybe this moment really sums it up. I just love to find a certain beauty and aesthetic in inconsiderable places, things normally gone unnoticed.”
Where I normally go
“All photos you see at my instagram are taken with my mobile. That means I usually have it with me and photograph something which catches my eye. I try to keep my eyes open everytime.
So photography is part of my everyday life. Especially when I visit other cities my attention increases because everything is new and exciting, full of potential photopgraphs. Usually I am not so much interested in the touristic spots or fancy historical buildings but more in neighbourhoods where you couldn’t tell right away which city or even country it is.
Within my everyday routines it is harder to find new perspectives and motifs. I probably have photographed already everything which is interesting for me. But sometimes something catches my attention although I have seen it already a thousand times, just because a little detail has changed or the sun creates a new shadow.
When I have time I normally just stroll around in Berlin, take walks through new neighbourhoods. Often with friends or my boyfriend. I admit that it’s sometimes a burden or quite annoying for them, because I am not always fully focused on our conversation, sometimes interrupt our conversation to shoot a photo, or ask them to stay for a moment or go ahead because I see something around the corner.
There are moments when they could foresee that a certain location or spot is going to catch my attention. Then they look at me, waiting for me to see it or seeing me already looking. That’s always really funny.
I usually shoot a couple of photos from one motif or spot, trying to find the right angle and frame. Later on I select the best one and decide if I post it on instagram.”
“Oh that is really hard to say. As a teenager definitely Wolfgang Tillmans and Nan Goldin because of their aesthetic and their idea of art as something which happens during your everyday life.
I like the Becher school and Andreas Gursky in particular a lot as well, because of their highly calculated composition and neutral aesthetic. All mentioned are finding a beauty in things and buildings a lot of people just passing by.
Nowadays there are millions of photos and photographers out there, you just have to go to instagram and you will find amazing work from around the globe. Sometimes thats really overwhelming but at the same time a huge influence and inspiration for me. But this flood of pictures makes it harder to point to certain photographers.
I guess they are just melting to some kind of stream of consciousness and shape my aesthetic and way of seeing the world.”
By Pixsoul. Photos ©Markus Ulrich.
Visit his Instagram for more work and info.