Erik Chmil (born 1968) is always on the search for the meaningful detail, whether in urban architecture or the cantilevered landscape of the mountains. As a distanced observer with a penchant for helping himself to graphic formal language, he opens still views of nature and culture’s changing relationships. “Who are you to dare come up here among us,” the bright mountains in the background seem to admonish. And thus teach us humility amidst such mighty, indeed romantic scenery.
|1968 ||born in Leverkusen, Germany|
|1983 ||started interest in photography|
|1989-1991||assistence in Dusseldorf, Germany|
|1991-1994||Visual Communication,University of Applied Sciences, Dortmund, Germany|
|semester abroad, Ecole des beaux arts, Besancon, France|
|1993 ||first studio, Hilden, Germany|
|started architectural photography and reportages|
|since 1995||studio in Cologne, Germany, mainly advertising photography|
|1998 ||first car shooting|
Since then, Chmil hast been working worldwide for various clients and agencies in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US. He is member of the BFF and AOP
|2010||200 Best Photographers, Lürzers|
|2010||Red Dot Design Award and ADC Bronze for book publikation|
|2004 ||Kelly Award Finalist, Porsche campaign, USA|
|1987-1989||Award German Youth Photography Price|
|1994 ||Galerie Lichthof, Dusseldorf, Germany|
Picasso once said, “You don’t make art, you find it.“ Where do you find your art?
Inspiration, self-realization, and tranquility come to me during long walks through the forest. Exhibitions and architecture also influence me heavily. Aside from the aforementioned, inspiration evolves while working on other projects.
From concept to creation: How do you approach your work?
The rule is: perceive and observe!
After ideas spontaneously arise from feeling, craft and materialization follow. This process yields extensive online research and, ultimately, on-site research and scouting. Given proper lighting, through which exposure and image process are determined, my underlying emotions should be effectively conveyed in my images.
What’s your favorite book?
Ralph Gibson: The Spirit of Burgundy
Which artist would you like to have coffee with and what would you talk about?
On Kawara! I’d love to discuss his inner strength in painting an image with the date every single day…
How did you develop an interest in art?
Through an early enthusiasm toward developing a feeling from a subjective experience to a permanent embodiment. The unforgettable moment of developing film and slowly watching the photo materialize is a sensation that has yet to fade – even in today’s digital age.
Who in your life influences you the most?
Practically everyone who has assumed a position in my life and is willing to live a meaningful life.
If you had a time machine, where would you go?
Never back! The past has passed.
What is your greatest passion, aside from art?
Traveling, Hiking, Yoga, Cooking…
What are you working on at the moment?
On a project involving snapshots of nature, which facilitates a holistic sensation.
Imagery, smell, sound - perceptions of silence, for heightened awareness and, ultimately, introspection.