Ken Hermann’s images are pathways, connecting us to micro-worlds and challenging us to rethink ideas of photographic representation. He is passionate about individuals and their unique stories, and explores the fragile balance between people and their environment. His blending of documentary and cinematic portraiture, as well as his combination of artificial and natural lighting, results in dreamlike visions of everyday people.
The Amber Project
For his Amber Project, Ken wanted to tell the story of some ‘hunters’ of amber.
“Within the last few years, the price of amber has gone up by 4-500%. This has caused an ‘amber fever’ and has made it a popular thing to hunt for. People are literally waking up at three in the morning to collect these pieces of ‘Nordic gold’. My goal with the Amber Project is to tell the story of some of these hunters. I used the Blue Ring 35mm, 45mm, and 150mm for the shoot.”
“Creating an atmosphere in a photo is as much about the lens as it is about the location. The unique qualities of each lens allow the photographer to select the right lens for the desired result.”
The right lens for the job
Ken used an XF Camera System with Schneider Kreuznach Blue Ring lenses to capture the Amber Project.
“I invested in my first Phase One camera the day after I finished my education as a photographer. It was an easy decision to make, because the quality of Phase One medium format is way beyond any other 35mm camera.”
The right choice of lenses is imperative for Ken to achieve the surreal, almost dreamlike images he is known for.
“The Blue Ring prime lenses from Schneider Kreuznach are beyond anything else I have tried. They really get the most out of your XF system. I am particularly excited about the wide-angle lenses – especially the 45mm. For me, it is the most versatile lens. It is the one you always find mounted on my camera.
“When shooting portraits, I love including a lot of the environment in the shots. Whatever surrounds the person is just as important and inspiring as the person themselves. It enhances the story.”
I also shoot commercial projects. For these, the 150mm is a great lens. The bokeh and sharpness are unbeatable! Recently, I have tried to implement the field of view of the 150mm into my style. Still shooting portraits with a lot of background environment, but with a totally new depth of field, which changes the whole atmosphere in the images.”