Saturday August 31st, 2013
Question of the summer.
What rhymes with hug me? Girls play rugby. Photo by Anthony Georgis.
You can never have too many. Photo by David Bowman
What happened to all the thick girls?
Questionable finger foods.
Some things just need forks. Photo by Ashley Gieseking
High fashion browsers.
Elephants this way. Photo by Tom Parker.
Saturday March 16th, 2013
Virginia Commonwealth University Children’s Hospital
Memphis Beale Street Caravan
Thursday October 4th, 2012
Guten tag, Wonderful Machine readers! As you may have guessed it, this installment of our expatriate series has us heading to Germany to chat with our once Portland, Oregon-based photographer, Anthony Georgis. A little over a year ago, Anthony up and moved all the way to Berlin, having fallen in love with the city while on an international assignment. Below, we discuss living and working as a freelance photographer in Deutschland. Enjoy!
- Maria Luci
Where are you from originally?
My roots are on the West Coast—I grew up in California and lived in Portland for about 15 years before I moved to Berlin.
How did you first get into photography?
I took a job as a delivery driver for the local photo supply company. Photography had always been an interest, but I never had the opportunity to pursue a formal education. That delivery job was my Photo 101 because it introduced me to a wide range of working photographers. From there I went on to work as a photo assistant for a number of incredibly talented people before leaving to pursue my own work about five years ago.
How would you describe your photographic style?
My style is very natural, loose, and simple. I enjoy photographing real people and trying to capture the subtlety of a genuine moment.
How did you end up in Germany?
In the summer of 2011, I came to Berlin for a job and really fell in love with the city. I have been living here on and off for the past year.
Were there any challenges to becoming a freelance photographer in Germany?
The challenges that go along with legally coming to Germany—to live and work—have been relatively minor. I was able to obtain a freelance visa after presenting some financial information, a letter of intent, and my portfolio to the German immigration office. I also had to register to pay taxes in Germany and provide proof that I have health insurance. The bigger challenges have been adjusting to the business culture and building a new client base.
How did you start gaining clients?
I’ve actually been very lucky to continue working with a lot of my former clients and contacts from the US who have hired me to shoot in Germany. To add new clients, I am working with a German rep and a marketing team that is well connected with local agencies and clients. They are helping me set up portfolio meetings and promoting my work throughout the EU.
Any language issues?
Ja! Of course! Berlin is very English language friendly, and I do my best to keep up on my German, but there have been a few lost in translation moments during production or on set. To counter that, I’ve tried to come up with simpler, more visual ways to communicate and think. Working in another language is actually helping me refine the direction I give.
What are some of the photos projects you’ve worked on in Germany?
I’ve worked on a project for Levi’s in Berlin with Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, a project for Nike that I landed based on my prior work with them in the US, and an editorial feature for Marie Claire in the UK, who is a new client. I’ve also continued to work on my own projects, shooting test work with local crew, refining the imagery in my portfolio and on my website.
Has your photography style changed since moving?
Yes and no. I think the style is basically the same, but I feel like the cultural context shows in the images.
What are typical assignments for you?
Most of my work is lifestyle and portraiture-based. A majority of my assignments are for advertising clients who want images that are produced and controlled, but look very natural and unscripted. I also do a bit of editorial work that is reportage based.
How is working in Germany different from working in the US?
Production here runs a bit different and there are all kinds of rules and tax codes that need to be followed. But, as always, it’s essential to have a good crew and production team backing you up. I’ve been very lucky to have a solid team to work with here.
Do you plan to stay in Germany?
Yes, I’m working really hard to build a presence here and Berlin is starting to feel like home. But I have recently written a number of estimates for jobs that would bring me back to the States, so it is possible that I would be able to travel back to the US on a regular basis for work and perhaps even split time between Germany and the US.
What do you miss about the US? What do you like about Germany?
The things I miss the most are my family and friends. I could also really go for a good taco right about now and sometimes I wish that the grocery and hardware stores were open on Sundays. Other than that, life here is pretty amazing. Berlin is changing and growing all the time so it has a great energy. Plus, there are tons of bike paths and good public transportation so I don’t need to have a car. Overall it’s very affordable for an international city and makes for a great base of operations in the EU.
If you were giving advice to a photographer moving to Germany, what would you tell them?
I think the thing to keep in mind for anyone considering life as an expat is that it takes a lot of effort to deal with the challenges of living and working in a foreign country. Not only do you have to adapt to cultural changes just to live your daily life, but you also have to build new relationships as an outsider without a common language or cultural background. Some days are really tough. You have to have patience and you have to be willing to look at all the problems and differences as an adventure.
View more of Anthony’s work at anthonygeorgis.com.