Photography is a lot about finding one’s one style. Nothing more boring than shooting the Eiffel Tower. Everyone does it. Nothing more exciting than shooting the Eiffel Tower. So many unique angles and perspectives, different lightings and framings left to be explored and discovered! That’s the beauty of photography. Each and every moment offers a whole new empty white canvas, waiting to be “exposed.” Blessed are the photographers who found and developed their very own style. No one else does what they do. Think Edward Burtynsky. Or, on a more modest level, German photographer Menno Aden. Room portraitist.
That’s right. Room portraitist. While with our portraits we’re mostly concerned about skin tones and background, Aden takes a much more pragmatic approach. He shoots rooms from… above. A kind of miniature satellite photography. Flattening the world. Because Aden likes to look down on his subjects/objects — in about the least pretentious way possible. To him, it’s just another way of seeing someone’s personality, Aden told Slate. To him, as an artist, watching from a higher position on a small space is interesting because he can see someone’s “compressed personality,” Aden says.
It started with photographing rooms of friends, to make portraits of them without actually seeing them. Now many in Aden’s hometown of Berlin lead an unpretentious life. Rents are quite low, rooms and apartments are not the most organized. Shooting from above, however, can make even the most obvious candidate for a Hoarders episode look neat and organized “because all the things on the floor such as the furniture flatten into two dimensions,” says Aden.
The elevated view gives chaotic spaces an organized look. But above all the structure of a room has to be right. And while we ordinary photographers hardly ever care about what’s right above us, Aden has to check the height and material of the ceiling.
Sometimes he uses a boom, the camera is often controlled remotely. And Aden’s work isn’t limited. He’s photographing stores, in elevators, basements and parking garages, which are some of his most abstract work. Some of his oeuvres are rather abstract and remind Aden of calligraphy. One series, he says, could easily redefine the term “oil painting”…
For more visit mennoaden.com.