WOLFGANG TILLMANS
[b. 1968] German photographer

 
What intrigues me is the tension of the two key qualities of a photograph: the promise of it being a perfect, controlled object, and the reality of a photographic image being mechanically quite unsophisticated. - Wolfgang Tillmans
I got rid of everything that’s artistic in portraiture: interesting lighting, recognizably “special” techniques, and all the different styles that divide us from the subject and are usually considered to be enhancements of the subject or the picture. - Wolfgang Tillmans
Within me it is all one continuum. I’m not just drifting around, taking a picture here and there. Each type of work is carefully considered in its own right. On the other hand, the great advantage is my liberty to do all these things. - Wolfgang Tillmans
People haven’t developed much imagination over the past 150 years to invent new forms of presentation. And so it’s a pretty limited medium as an exhibition medium. It’s very much about, “How can I get this excitement that I have from a print lying on my table into the gallery?” - Wolfgang Tillmans
Photography is only a continuation of sculpture and painting. I see myself in the tradition of picture-making... Art that stays has invented new ways of picture-making. If I can invent something once a year, for 50 years, I’m very happy. - Wolfgang Tillmans
If you go into a shoot with an idea, you only get that idea and you cut yourself off from the chance of getting a much better picture. And I guess that’s the problem that a lot of photographers probably have—that they don’t trust the situation they are putting themselves into. So they have a safety net and they don’t even try to leave that. But I find it intriguing to expose myself to somebody that I’ve not met, and see what happens. - Wolfgang Tillmans
I think it’s much more radical to see and show things as they look instead of making them somehow subversive through alienation or estrangement. - Wolfgang Tillmans
The true authenticity of photographs for me is that they usually manipulate and lie about what is in front of the camera, but never lie about the intentions behind the camera. - Wolfgang Tillmans
I am interested not in individual readings, but in constructing networks of images and meanings capable of reflecting the complexity of the subject. - Wolfgang Tillmans
For me, a good portrait shows the fragility and humility of the person, and at the same time a strength, a resting in themselves. - Wolfgang Tillmans
It would be so easy to lose the plot now. It’s not about achieving something for its own sake, and taking pictures for their own sake. But to make conscious decisions and choices, and it includes this constant questioning—“Why am I taking pictures?” Because really, the world is... it has pictures enough. I mean, there are enough pictures out there. - Wolfgang Tillmans
Always take yourself seriously... it’s not the same as being pompous, or overly self-assured, but it is important to understand that the small little ideas that creep up in your mind, often contain the germ of a much larger project. All great art wasn’t born as great art. It first needed to be recognized by the artist him/herself. Through his or her belief in it, it became true. - Wolfgang Tillmans
My work is aimed at creating a world in which I wish to live. Consequently, it is about creating ideals with the aid of realistic techniques. My most fundamental motivation is a desire for unity, fusion and sense of community. - Wolfgang Tillmans
My staged work looks so real that people actually take it for documentary. But, in fact, that is my intention, to disguise the manufacturedness of it. Half of my work, or probably more than that, is staged. - Wolfgang Tillmans