Albrecht Voss, a commercial architectural photographer based in Leipzig Germany, and Hasselblad Master Award winning photographer, took a wish list of modern architecture and turned it into what became an award winning series gaining international recognition. He discusses his history, workflow, gear and the dream project he recently produced.
INOVATIV: Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in photography?Albrecht: I started photography at the age of 15 and quickly became obsessed with seeing the world through a lens. After graduating from school I went to Birmingham, GB to study photography for one semester, but soon I realized that the pace of the lectures was too slow for me and that I wanted to progress faster. So I decided to teach photography to myself. It was the high time of photography blogs in the early 2010s and I read every article I could find on fstoppers.com and slrlounge.com.
INOVATIV: Did you have any other interests?Albrecht: To calm my parents I got educated as a bank clerk and studied economics and psychology afterwards, which, in the afterthought, was a good base of knowledge to get my photography business going. During those years I worked as a freelance photographer for one of our local newspapers in Leipzig and did some smaller commercial photography jobs. This was a great combination of activities as I could build up a client list and had time to hone my skills during the low pressure years in university.
INOVATIV: The early years of starting a photography business are difficult, what was your path?Albrecht: After finishing my bachelor degree I had an agreement with my wife to commit one year full time to photography and see if it would feed our family. And it did. This was back in 2015. From there on I hustled my way up. I did a lot of free projects that I presented to my dream clients and more often than not, my work really impressed them which led to more bookings. Now I mostly work for architects, construction companies and upper class hotel brands. My skill set is not limited to photography, as I also produce short form videos and I am a trained drone operator.
INOVATIV: Tell us about the Hasselblad Project.Albrecht: As every commercial photographer knows, daily business life does not always consist of dream jobs at dream locations. I am an artist at my heart, and through my self assigned projects I want to show people the beauty in everyday life. In 2017 I started a bucket list on Google Maps of modern architecture that I wanted to shoot one day. As this list was growing, I realized that many of these buildings were located in the European Alps. I love hiking and climbing in the mountains and so the idea got born to create a photo series about modern alpine architecture.
INOVATIV: During the lockdown in 2020, you set out for two weeks to photograph nine buildings in Italy and Austria for the photo series. What was your goal?Albrecht: With my photo series “Modern Alpine Architecture” I want to make people aware of the fragility of nature and the constantly progressing influence that we as humans have on this system. My pictures are showing touristic architecture that blends in with the nature around it. The buildings are made of local materials and try to minimize their imprint on nature. This, for me, is a great message to eco friendly tourism that preserves the treasures of our earth.
INOVATIV: The series got some wonderful attention, correct?Albrecht: In 2021 the project got nominated at the Fine Art Photography Awards, it received recognition at the European Architecture Photography Award and another great result was winning the international Hasselblad Master Awards in the Architecture category. This was a real breakthrough moment for me to get chosen out of more than 60.000 submissions from a renowned jury.
INOVATIV: Congratulations on that awesome achievement! Tell us a little more about the series.Albrecht: Creating this series is an ongoing challenge. I always have a tight schedule with only one night at every location. So my shoots are completely at the mercy of Mother Nature. I shoot in fog, rain, wind and freezing temperatures. But I think this is also what is important about being out in the mountains. The harsh conditions give the images character. This of course is very demanding on me, my team and my outdoor photography equipment, which leads me to my photography cart partnership with INOVATIV.
INOVATIV: Tell us about your workflow and mobile photography workstation. What is most important to you and how do you prepare for the challenges a demanding project will bring?Albrecht: The data that I produce is the most valuable asset at my production, which is why I decided to take the DigiSystem Pro Ultra Kit with me. The system is centered around the DigiPlate Pro, a cheese plate with near endless mounting options. The plate holds my MacBook Pro 16’ 2021. On the bottom of the plate I attached a backup SSD drive and a battery charging box to be completely independent from electricity for two weeks. This setup is securely nested in a Peli Case specially converted from INOVATIV to work as a mobile photgraphy office, with space for a sunshade, cables and accessories and even my basic camera setup. To backup my camera I only have to open the water and hit resistant case and my laptop is ready to download the images.
INOVATIV: How did DigiSystem Pro Ultra Kit improve your efficiency while working on this project?Albrecht: For the shoots in the Alps, my assistant took care of the DigiSystem on a tripod, while I was concentrating on the camera setup. For on-location photo editing I put my Loupedeck CT console on the DigiMouse Pad to be more efficient. This came very close to my office setup with all the controls, backup and energy all from one case in the middle of the mountains. What more can I say? This really feels awesome. Knowing that my data is secure and I can work fast and easy really gives me peace of mind on my production.
INOVATIV: Tell us a story of when your photography workstation got you through a particularly challenging situation.Albrecht: I remember when we were shooting the Julier tower, which you can see here in the images, we only had a few hours before heavy rain came up the valley. We spent the night in the camper van, cooking some food and editing images and videos from the DigiSystem during a real downpour. But with the whole case being waterproof we had no concerns passing the case between cars during these conditions. That was definitely a first for me.
INOVATIV: What piece of advice would you like to share with other artists out there?
Albrecht: If I learned one thing from shooting my Modern Alpine Architecture project for the last three years, then it is that following your passion always pays out. I was only able to produce these shoots through complete commitment. I love photography, climbing and the outdoors. This is what kept me going and what made my images unique enough to get awarded and published around the world. The great thing is, when you create content that you are passionate about, you also attract customers that share your passion and eventually pay you to do what you love. It is not an easy endeavor and it takes time to progress. But in the end, it is the journey that counts the most.
Photos in the mountains: Mathias Pfützner, Mathias-pfuetzner.com, @mathiaspfuetzner
Video: Flightseeing - Daniel Zenzipér, Flightseeing.de, @flightseeing.germany
Photos in the office and general: Albrecht Voss, albrechtvoss.com, @albrechtvoss