Get rid of your plan B in life — find inspiration in yourself
Nina Raasch is a photographer from Berlin, who has worked for clients such as Nike, Escada, ASOS, Polaroid, and many others. She has taken part in various exhibitions in Berlin, New York and London. Working on commercial projects with her analog camera is a value and statement Nina cherishes and employs.
Her vision is to build herself a distinctive style that speaks for itself and also stays true whilst collaborating with commercial clients. Nina’s style is sensual and pleasing even when the subject in her frame portrays little of these characteristics.
Hi Nina, how are you?
Hi Stasia, great thanks, how are you?
You have been working on some shoots for ASOS, whose target audience is young and vibrant. How is your work for those collaborations different?
Not at all actually.
I aim to keep my personal and my commercial work as close together as possible. Collaborating with ASOS is great, as they give me a lot of freedom and share similar visions.
They are one of the few clients who enjoy me working with analog film - it also requires a lot of trust especially when you don’t have your final image instantaneously before your eyes.
Before you approach a new photo shoot, you need an idea or a concept that will define the story. Can you describe the last story you worked on? How did you develop it? Where did the idea come from?
The last project I worked on, I planned in no more than 24 hours. I got a call from my favourite booker saying she has an amazing girl in town the next day. I called my team together, cycled down to the local bowling alley, where I've been wanting to shoot at for a while, got their permission, and we had an amazing shoot the next morning. It’s great to put together a story and plan every detail in advance, but sometimes the best things happen spontaneously and with minimal prep time.
In fashion photography, it is essential to capture a certain atmosphere, a lifestyle that the clothing brand stands for. How do you reach a perfect combination between the narrative, the designer clothes, and the frame you want to capture?
You need to be sensitive to understand the vision of someone else, and also sometimes jump over your shadow and leave your 'pride' to the side to be able to shoot certain subjects for other people. Luckily when a brand books me, they do so for the look & feel of my photographs, so usually, this is something I don’t need to compromise on.
What is your value as a photographer?
I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love all day long and even have people paying me for it.
Before starting my freelance career, I did some internships for different photographers, which were great, but already then I felt like I needed to be doing my own work and be my own boss. Whilst I was assisting, I always felt like jumping in the scene, stealing the camera off the photographer and doing it myself, it was so hard to stay quiet and just watch.
Your hobby? What do you do when you are not working on editorials and commercial projects?
“ Photography is my job but also my biggest hobby and a huge part of my life — If I have a free day, I would still choose to hang out with my pictures. People usually ask 'ah you have to work today? I’m so sorry for you'. I never get these comments”.
What fragrance do you wear?
Dior - Midnight Poison.
In addition to fashion photography, you are working on a documentary. You have directed a music video for Magnea. What is special about telling a story in a natural setting?
The music video for Magnea is filmed at the lake we used to go to as kids, it's a very special place to me. The music video is filmed in one continuous shot whilst the camera position stays fixed, it's like looking at a photograph where the subject slowly begins to move. I like that you can’t tell right away if the video is shot in slow motion or if Magnea is actually moving that slow. In photography, you need to capture a mood and everything you want to say within a single frame and then hope that the person looking at it afterwards receives that message. The video, on the other hand, opens up so many new ways of visual storytelling, I’m excited to explore more of this.
Name 2 tips from Nina for an aspiring photographer that can change his life.
Don’t look at other photographers' work too much - find inspiration in yourself and in topics that relate to you, your interests and curiosities.
Get rid of your plan B in life, put everything on one card - people can feel if you are passionate about something and that's the kind of energy you want in someone you are working with.
Tell about the Fine Art Prints idea.
“I like the idea of having my photos out there in the world. I always imagine where they might end up — in someone's apartment, in an office, on the fridge or maybe somewhere hidden in the cupboard? Who is looking at them, walking past them, are they creating an emotional impact?”.
What are you working on right now and when can we expect a new series from you?
I am working on some new documentary work in collaboration with another photographer.
Whilst my work is more sensual and clean, his work is louder and has good humour.
He brings out the weirdness in me and my photos, which is something that I enjoy and want to encourage more.