PHOTO JOURNAL // PAUL HILLER - Europe's Pastels

January 28, 2021 // Photographer: Paul Hiller // Photos


What moments are you trying to capture?

What moments are you trying to capture?

My work is kind of a report or maybe landscape photography of so called "happysad places". these moments could be sceneries in amusement parks or robot statues in shopping malls. Sometimes these moments are funny, sometimes its full of melancholia. some of these moments looks so staged that it is hard to believe it is all real an not manipulated. I like it when people ask themselves this question and then maybe look at the picture a little longer and more closely.



Do you have any good stories from taking these photos?

Behind every series of my photography there is a journey. So, of course there are many stories within my pictures.


Unfortunately you couldn't travel that much and far this year, that's why many new pictures were taken in my immediate environment.


For me it was interesting and exciting to watch how everything was different from usual. My hometown Munich for example is famous for the Oktoberfest. Because of the pandemic it was canceled this year. In the summer there were still a few attractions in the city. It actually happened that in the year in which i couldn´t travel to these strange places all over the world, some of these places literally came to me.


For example, a Ferris wheel was set up only 5 minutes away from my apartment! It was built up on a place where a Ferris wheel has never been set up, and perhaps never again. It was really an extraordinary opportunity for me to take photos this year.



Are you looking for anything specific when taking photos?

I'm looking for places around the world that remind me of feelings of a dream, a memory, or maybe childhood. I am chasing unreal looking places with candy pastel colors. I like big and crazy sculptures of creatures that could come from a movie. but i also like landscapes that look like on the moon or colorful buildings that look like from a comic.




What makes the city you’re shooting so beautiful?

First of all it is not about any specific city. The beauty I want to show in my photographs can be found anywhere - for example a candy coloured building in the backyard of my neighborhood or in an old almost forgotten amusement park in shanghai. the pictures I look for and find are bizarre and strange all by themselves - so sometimes i just have to wait for the right weather/light and choose a good angle - that´s it ;)


For this pure an raw look I choose to shoot on film with an old analogue medium format camera. This esthetic helps me to create my own visual language.





What’s the best memory you have with your camera?

my camera, a 70 year old swedish hasselblad, is always a good way to get into conversation with people. creative people all over the world appreciate the quality of special vintage cameras. I have nice memories with my friend hideaki Hamada from osaka talking about our cameras and technique.

But it's also always funny when totally strangers ask curiously about the functions of my hasselblad.



Are there any photos that got away?

Due to the fact that I'm shooting on film and with a very old camera, it has often happened to me that photos fail.


this is of course very annoying if at the end of a trip it turns out that something in the photographic process on the camera or film did not work.


It happened for example in summer last year when i visited an amusement park in Germany - I noticed that my camera was broken on most of the photos after i picked up my pictures from the lab.


Anyway, or maybe even because of this, it is even more valuable when my pictures work well and sometimes even exceed my expectations.