Rob Mainhattan Frank/ Capture and Release

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The ability to see a photograph before it is developed is what makes a great photographer. Rob Mainhattan Frank sees negatives where most people see only space and objects. The world is in color but he develops it in black and white. He has the gift of seeing both angle and subject and he gives life to structures by making them breathe. That is talent. That is the art of photography.

Ara: What inspires you?

Rob: My city Frankfurt/Main, Germany being foggy in the autumn. The opposites of modern and old architecture — everything which is old and trashy.

Ara: What divides you?

Rob: My personal view of photography: It is art for me and a kind of therapy that makes me feel free. I don’t have any idols nor do I want to do pictures like someone else. They are all my own. I don’t even think about if anyone likes them or not. Firstly, I myself must love them.

Ara: What are your favorite subjects — structures or people?

Rob: Trash, old architecture and opposites in the architecture and surroundings.

Ara: What is the most important aspect of any photograph?

Rob: My view on things: I never search for motives. They find me while I’m walking around the city of Frankfurt/Main.

Ara: How does a photograph differ from a painting?

Rob: The difference is: As a photographer, I need to make a decision on pushing the camera’s button within the blink of an eye instead of being able to make a break or paint from memory. Photography is more dynamic and straight.

Ara: Describe your first photograph. Where/when it was taken.

Rob: A moth — maybe 15 years ago. At that moment of “clicking”, I realized that this moment would be unique and never would happen exactly the same again. Similar maybe, but never the same! So, I’ve been fascinated by catching the moment.

Ara: What part of a person is lost and captured in a photograph?

Rob: People are almost rare in my pictures. That depends on moments.

Ara: Who is your favorite photographer?

Rob: Ansel Adams because he and group 1/64 fought for photography being accepted as art. That’s all.

Ara: Your favorite photograph by another photographer?

Rob: None

Ara: What makes a great photographer?

Rob: Seeing a photograph through the camera before it is taken. I know exactly before if it’s going to be a black and white. A good photographer knows all the rules but breaks them to develop his own style and escape the mainstream. Known mistakes in photography can be used as a method to make them unique — such as blur or droplines.


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