Meet Rick, a photographer from Germany who creates tiny little worlds full of magic and wonder. Rick goes on adventures into worlds of nature to find the magic in detail, the land of moss and fairies. You can find Rick on DeviantArt as Rick-TinyWorlds or on his website Tinyworlds.org. In this interview, find out what inspires him and so much more...
My name is Rick Hoppmann and I love the forest. I photograph tiny, magical worlds and create atmospheric games. At the moment I'm living in Leipzig, Germany, where you also can see my current exhibition "In the land of moss and fairies". You can see the digital version of my exhibition here. My dream is to inspire people to protect and explore their local nature.
While I invest huge amounts of my time in photography, I treat it as a professional hobby.
That means that I don't photograph because of profit, but because I'm fascinated by the process and the tiny wonders photography opens my eyes to. It's a wonderful way to see the world with different eyes.
In my work I try to capture the magic hidden in the tiny worlds around us - "The land of moss and fairies".
I love how the photos inspire other people to create art, dream and explore nature.
I got quite some confused reactions from photographers on my gear. I'm still using an entry-level DSLR (a SONY Alpha 58) with the out-of-the-box lens. Yes, that's right - I don't use a macro lens for my shots.
Besides my camera I often use a spray bottle filled with water. A great tool to get fine details in the background.
Sometimes I use external light sources, for example a LED videolight (cheap, also great for portraits) or even a flashlight. The tools for macro photography are usually very cheap, except the lens.
How did you discover Still Life Photography?
I think it started for me simply by experimenting. At the time I started with photography I wasn't really active on deviantART, although it definitively helped to refine my style and taste later on (and it still does).
How do you define still life photography?
I define it as a set of arranged objects. Some of my shots fit in this definition, most would better fit in macro.
This image is my most "still life" -like I think.
How can someone get started with still life photography? Is there a huge cost involved?
Use whatever camera you have at the beginning. At first it should be all about experimenting and finding your style. Then focus on a set of skills and get really good at your style.
Pro tip: Good artists copy, great artists steal. Don't simply copy the standard still-life images, get creative, steal ideas and combine them.
What's your favourite thing to photograph?
I love snails, because they can twist their bodies in any imaginable way. Very interesting tiny animals.
I also really like to photograph winter-cherry fruits and groups of mushrooms.
Is there a particular shot that you feel shines above the rest? Was it difficult to achieve?
"What if fairies would live in tiny acorn homes and cultivate beautiful moss gardens?"
I usually use this image to introduce people to my idea of "tiny worlds". Together with the description this image is very powerful in making people dream about the magic hidden around us. While the shot itself was easy to achieve, I had a good amount of luck to find this on my travels. I spent the night alone in the forest of a friend and woke up to the songs of the early birds. I then decided to go for a photography trip in nature and found this beautiful world right next to a small cliff.
Are there any deviants or groups that you would suggest could inspire someone?
projecteducate of course! So much amazing stuff happening there I've also launched recently the group ForestRefuge which aims at bringing people together creating magical art about the forest. I aim to inspire the community by featuring very creative, unique artworks and inspiring wildlife photography.
Could you explain the process that you do after you have taken a photograph?
I like to do as much as I can manually in the camera, including the white balance ("colors"). Sometimes I use the curves tool of the free GIMP to tweak colors and contrasts, as well as the sharpening tool.
Is there anything about Still life Photography that you don't like or enjoy? Any frustrations?
I once destroyed a smartphone I used for lightening The fine waterdrops from my spraybottle got right into the phone, making it slowly rust from the inside. The good thing was that this created some very interesting glitches.
What inspires you?
Above all nature. There are so many interesting stories to be found if you go with open eyes trough the world.
Another thing are definitively my walks trough the streets when the sun sets. There is something magical about walking that helps you to think and dream more clearly.