Konrad is one of the most gifted individuals who struggles to label himself as a photographer. He was inspired by skateboarders & grafitti artists, anyone who used streets as their creative outlet. We sat down with him to talk about his art and what drives him to take such compelling city scapes. In the community he is known by the name @konaction
RV : Hi Konrad, good to have you with us. Will like to start off by asking you how did you get into photography?
Konrad : In 2013 I downloaded the Instagram app and discovered some great work in the community. As I was always out in the streets exploring unusual places I started to take my mobile phone to document my daily explorations. That’s how I started to take photos regularly.
RV : What got you interested in Urban photography or urban scapes?
Konrad : I was always interested in urban environments. As a teenager I was fully into Skateboarding for several years. Compared to now, that was already a way of interpreting and using urban shapes.
Also I think the diversity of manmade structures seem more interesting to me, than other motifs.
RV : Berlin as a city seems to have had a huge impact on your works. What is it about Berlin that you love the most?
Konrad : A good thing about Berlin is that it is ever-changing and you’ll find a lot of different neighbourhoods over the whole city with different styles and vibes. Also the historical perception often is an interesting part of my explorations. There are not many cities in Central Europe, that had such a moving history within the last century.
RV : What role did Instagram play when you were starting out?
Konrad : As I said, Instagram was the main source of inspiration for me, to document things with my smartphone in the beginning. Nowadays it’s also a motivation to constantly produce new stuff, even when I am busy or not in the mood. This helps me to get better in what I am doing.
RV : Do you think the community that instagram has built has enabled people to connect and express freely?
Konrad : To connect definitely. I have met more than 300 people only through Instagram and some of them even got into real friendships over the years. Especially in traveling the community is amazing and it’s always fun to meet fellow Instagrammers in other countries in the world.
Express freely yes and no. In a technical way for sure, as Instagram allows to show your art forms potentially to the whole world out of first hand. In a formal way, many people that take Instagram seriously are stuck in a certain style and chasing this causes often a loss of engagement.
RV : You have shot for campaigns in the past. Do you have a regular day job or are you doing photography professionally now?
Konrad : Photography is my hobby but yes, I did shootings for many campaigns already. Now I am more concentrating on my job as a Social Media and Content Strategist at a digital agency in Berlin.
RV : What do you do when you are not shooting?
Konrad : Spending time with my girlfriend and our dog, meeting with friends and I love going to rap battles a lot. The creativity and energy that people put into this artform amazes me every time.
RV : For someone visiting Berlin for the first time, what are some of the places that you would recommend to other photographers?
Konrad : I get this question asked a lot and my answer is always: It really depends on your interests. Not everyone is into architectural photography or street minimalism but if I would recommend places, I would take people out in the suburbs and explore mainly socialist modernism residential areas. It’s special bit I find these structures quite appealing.
RV : How much is photography part of your travels? Do you often choose places, which would be photographically inspiring?
Konrad : Yes, very often!
RV : When you are travelling to a new place, do you hunt for locations by yourself or you like to connect with local instagrammers, especially with the community that you have built?
Konrad : So and so.. I try to research in my own and find interesting neighbourhoods, that I can explore. Meeting up with locals is always helpful. The bigger the city, the shorter the time, they can bring you places that I wouldn’t find on my own.
RV : Lastly, what would your advice be to young photographers trying their hand at urban photography?
Konrad : Just try to find your style, get inspiration from others but don’t just copy stuff that you see. If you have a bit of uniqueness and innovation in your work, that will always help you to stand out at the end.
Another thing that I really realize, especially for my style of photography and for beginners is that the gear really doesn’t matter. You can do amazing stuff with only your smartphone and you can do crappy pictures with a 10K gear – the interesting things are outside the camera and your creativity behind the lens.
Thanks for your time Konrad. You can follow Konrad on his Instagram HERE
In conversation with Rohit Vohra/ APF