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Redefining Images (and Image) with Photographer Johanna Brinckman

Photographer can be a misleading title these days. Everyone with a smartphone believes that they are in fact a photographer while the real proof is in the artistry and ingenuity rather than the physical tools. German photographer Johanna Brinckman represents the modern face of photography with her work online and in high end print magazines. Her calling card is the bold and expressive personality portraits she manifests. From top models like Franziska Knuppe to television hosts such as E! Factor’s Jorge Gonzalez, Brinckman captures moods and attitudes in her subjects which require no words yet imply numerous thoughts. When German TV channel ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) wanted to achieve a modern online presence and image, Johanna was their immediate and first choice to realize this new look.


It’s actually quite difficult to define what makes a good photograph because it’s almost subliminal. The images we see that are confined to being aesthetic pleasing are soon forgotten while other may stay in our memory for ages. Johanna has worked with celebrities and models from many different backgrounds; what stands out about her work is its depth. Without words, she is telling a story. Bright colors, an intense look, a certain movement or expression; these are all production and composition aspects which surround the greater message of what the subject of the photo is thinking or feeling. The serendipity of capturing or perhaps enabling that moment to transpire is where the real skill is rooted from. ZDF recognized Brinckman’s expertise in this facet and wished to infuse the promotion of their programming with it.


Matthias Mattschke is the star of Professor T on ZDF. This German crime series about an eccentric professor who acts as an advisor to the police is dark and quirky. The challenge of this project was to create a still image which would transfer the mood of the show for print, billboards, online, etc. Johanna placed Mattschke seated in a dark armchair while wearing blue plastic gloves. The actor’s intimidating look contrasts the idea of him relaxing while the gloves present his inability to separate the morbid elements of his professional life from his personal life. Notoriously known for her attention to detail, Matthias notes about the photographer, “Johanna knows perhaps more than anyone else how to create an atmosphere of trust and creativity on set. This convinces you to show yourself in a way you would never dare when working with other photographers. Her work combines professionality and empathy.”


One of the most recognized personalities in Germany is TV host Steven Gätjen. His work hosting the “Oscar Red Carpet Show” for German TV channel Prosieben has garnered international notoriety for him as well. Johanna photographed Gätjen to promote his new ZDF series I Can Do That. Each episode of the program features six celebrities undertaking such daring challenges as juggling and fire-breathing. Brinckman designed shots that featured Steven juggling, as an MC, and even hanging off a lamp post. Regardless of the setting, Gätjen retains his confident and affable visage. While quite varied, all of these photos seem cool, modern, and timeless. Describing his experience, Steven confirms, “There’s something remarkable about Johanna. She’s able to locate something special even amongst the ordinary. She’s exceptional in relating to people and bringing out the best in you, no matter what the situation. Most importantly, she has an unerring eye for capturing that unique moment when magic presents itself.”



As eclectic as the projects she has worked on, you’re as likely to find Johanna’s work online, in print (Gala magazine, MAX magazine), and even in one of Hamburg or Berlin’s art galleries. Navigating the delineation between artist and industry professional is the nature of a modern photographer’s career. MAX magazine cited her as one of the “10 talents to watch” in the next decade, citing her unique style and prevalence in the industry. The artistic touch is no longer confined to galleries and concert halls in the 2010’s. You can find it on your phone, online, on the wall, and definitely in the photography of Johanna Brinckman.



Author: Kelly King
Redefining Images (and Image) with Photographer Johanna Brinckman Reviewed by JaamZIN on 9:14:00 AM Rating: 5
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