Interview with Tobias Faisst
Interview with the Berlin-based photographer and graphic designer Tobias Faisst.
DM: Hello Tobias, how are you?
TF: Hey Dennis, I am very good and looking forward to the interview with you.
DM: Can you introduce yourself?
TF: My name is Tobias Faisst and I am a photographer and graphic designer based in Berlin. I grew up in southern Germany’s black forest region and I am trained in business management and media design. At 27, rather late, I started to study communication design in Potsdam and from there moved over to Berlin to work as a freelancer in the fields of graphic design and photography and with a focus on product design, furniture and fashion.
DM: How did you come to combine both photography and graphic design at a professional level?
TF: During my studies in Potsdam I mostly focused on graphic design, but tried to squeeze in as many self initiated photography projects as possible in my free time. My focus back then lay in the arts though, not necessarily in commercial work. It also did not cross my mind to maybe work in product photography at some point. After finishing my studies and being confronted with the “real” world, I had to decide pretty quickly to either get a permanent position somewhere or to try and become self-employed. While applying for jobs, I realized that working in an agency is not for me and that moreover the cultural field in Berlin is hopelessly overrun with applicants and poorly paid. So, I started to accept more jobs as a photographer and designer on a freelance basis. Due to my experience as a photography assistant and my design studies, I was able to combine the best of both worlds, so to speak. By chance, I worked in a few furniture projects and got hired by BOCCI as their in-house photographer. After working there for half a year, I made the decision to continue focusing on furniture and interior in my photography work. Since 2015, I am also working as a freelancer for the backpack label Ucon Acrobatics.
I not only shoot the look books, but also come up with the concepts and design, so I am firmly rooted in photography and graphic design.
DM: Can you tell us more about the EIDOS project?
TF: EIDOS is a multimedia project that I developed partly together with my publishing house “Transform” and the Berlin-based digital agency “NewNow”. Based on my photographic work, that captures the complex interrelationships between human, technology and nature and questions the production and perception of reality, we came up with two different manifestations of the photographic series. On the one hand, EIDOS was realized as an artist book that comprehensively gives an overview of the imagery, like you would expect it. On the other hand, EIDOS was realized as a digital space that overcomes the given limitations and linearity of a book. On www.eidos.digital the pictures are made accessible in a way that is inherently anchored in the virtual realm and that adds a three-dimensional layer to the pictures. By choosing to present EIDOS as a book and digital experience, the work’s main topic is mirrored in its outlets.
DM: How was your experience with Amos Fricke?
TF: Working with Amos is a pleasant experience. He is a calm and attentive person who also shows on set. There is no fuss or tension which consequently leads to better outcomes, I think. I am pretty sure that interning with Amos ultimately led to my professional career as a photographer. Accompanying him for almost two years as an assistant helped me a lot and I learned many things, not only technical stuff, but also how to work with clients, considering aesthetics and zeitgeist. We are still talking regularly and I cannot thank him enough for this.
DM: Do you have influencers in term of image aesthetic?
TF: I guess it is pretty obvious that Amos Fricke influenced me to some extent, but I also forced myself to find a unique aesthetic, since it is not desirable to be a bad copy of someone original. Something that always plays a role in my work is the mentioned zeitgeist and aesthetic tendencies that bubble up online. Since I am not the only photographer looking for inspiration online, I of course get inspired by photographers who work in a similar way and push a comparable contemporary visual language. For example, I often really like the works of anyone connected to ECAL. In Berlin, I like Christian Hagemann, Haw-lin Services and Alexander Kilian. Looking further around in Europe, I keep an eye on what Le Creative Paris, Carl Kleiner, LeLoi and Lane and Associates are doing.
DM: What do you like about Berlin?
TF: I moved to Berlin seven years ago when I was 27 to study in Potsdam. So, it’s been a while and by now I see the city in a different light. My focus shifted significantly over the years and I appreciate that Berlin still is the city in Germany that provides me with professional opportunities. And these days, I like many things that I did not even consider seven years ago. Berlin never gets boring, even though I would consider myself someone who constantly needs new input and inspiration. If I have cabin fever, I simply take the train somewhere else and feel like I am on vacation, since different parts of Berlin can have a very different vibe: in regards to the people, the architecture or just the general feeling. Further benefits of Berlin are the nature around the city, the lakes, the woods. I think in Berlin anyone can find his or her place, no matter what sexuality, origin or life story. It is a haven for anyone who is open for being open. Long story short: I know Berlin quite well by now, but it is still unknown to me in parts, which keeps it fresh and exciting.