My name is Burkhard Bierbaums and I’m 54 years old. I live in Augsburg in the South of Germany. I take pictures to learn to see better. Often I try this with double exposures to get closer to the secret of a place.
I’m interested in everything that has to do with slowing down: I love films by Andrei Tarkovsky. When I travel, I enjoy it when I get lost and am forced to make a detour. The pinhole camera gives me the opportunity to slow down and be more accurate.
Why do you do what you do?
I try to connect the visible with the invisible. Two years ago, I photographed the interior of a church. The photo of its interior emanated a mysterious silence and I have often looked at it. A year later, I visited this church again and was disappointed at first, because when I entered the church I could not immediately see this mysterious atmosphere that I had captured in the photo. The atmosphere was invisible to the eye. Only through the photo was it visible. I try to enchant the world again with my pictures.
I like the picturesque aspect of pinhole photography and the waiting while photographing. Time may be the most important factor. The slowness of pinhole photography comes pretty close to my nature. Although I’m not the most communicative type, I’ve come to appreciate the conversations I’ve had with people passing by while I’m taking pictures.
Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice?
The connection between interior and exterior space is a recurring theme in my work. Often I have the words of the old Genesis song (Carpet Crawlers) in mind: “We’ve got to get in to get out…”
Has your practice change over time? If so, how?
My practice may not have changed much, but practice has changed me. When composing a double exposure, something arises that I may not have seen but instead, felt. It is then I have managed to capture some of the magic of this place.
“The fact that (in a conventional sense) technically incorrect photography can be more emotionally effective than a technically flawless image will be shocking to those who are naïve enough to believe that technical perfection alone constitutes the true value of a photo.” Andreas Feininger.
What is your dream project?
Perhaps to photograph in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in East Germany, at the places that were the source of inspiration for his paintings of Caspar David Friedrich.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I am immune to advice. I prefer to make a mistake a thousand times.