Only a few photographers still manage to impress us with their pictures. Adrian Greiter succeeds here regularly and shows us how beautiful the mountains in front of your doorstep can be.
I was talking to Adrian Greiter, professional photographer, about his pictures and the fun of being outside.
LvD: Hi Adrian, I’ll start easy, tell me how you have started with photography. What came first, the fascination for mountains or photography?
Adrian: The photography, of course, which I grew up with it due to my parents. That’s why it was never a question for me what I wanted to be after school: photographer! The mountains came much later, during my studies and I have separated the two areas from each other very strictly, because for me the mountains were always a room for recreation and I didn’t want to run around with the camera in my spare time and looking for the perfect image. At some point, however, I had the desire to capture my experience on the mountain (and the right people at my side, who also had fun with it and were glad to be available as “models”) with my camera that I threw all concerns overboard and began to take the camera to the mountain. Since then, I catch myself almost every day, when I am outside with my camera, asking me why I have not taken this step much earlier. Because working outside in nature, together with people who love it as much as I do, is the absolute fulfillment for me. But then I say to myself that everything has its time.
LvD: Many know your images of Flow Valley, where your “models” and the mountains are perfectly staged. How much effort and time is necessary for the planning and production for your images? Do you usually have a very specific picture in your mind, or does it happen spontaneously?
Adrian: Most of the things happen spontaneously, because you have a beautiful light in one place, or just a good perspective. Then occasionally even a downhill scene is staged artificially, although we are still just on the way up. This does not mean that there is not a lot of time and work in the pictures involved. Actually, all of our pictures are part of normal tours, which we do, so I have to react spontaneously to the local conditions as light, weather or topography.
“In principle, it can be said that most images are random products, but I do not leave anything to chance. “
But when I “see” a scene, I already have a very precise idea of how the picture should look at the end. And, of course, we are already trying to take the photography part into account when planning the tour. For instance, we start many times a few hours earlier, in the morning light to be already in the open area and to be able to use the light or head towards a more distant destination, because the weather there promises to be better. And of course, we use a lot of time on tour for the pictures. To find the right location, wait until a cloud has revealed the sun or even to ride at one place several times, until the position of the riders on the picture are perfect. Basically, it can be said that most of the pictures are a random product, but I leave nothing to chance.
LvD: Do you have certain influences for your kind of photography? Which photographers inspire you for good pictures?
Adrian: There are dozens of photographers as well as painters and visual artists, whose work I enjoy and admire. There is also no particular genre to which I would restrict myself. An Andreas Gursky is probably just as important to me as an August Sander, a Paul Klee or an Ai Waiwai. But also directors like Aki Kaurismäki or Jim Jarmusch. They and many others have left their mark, but I can not name any concrete name, that had a bigger influence on me than others.
LvD: How important is the feedback to your images, e.g. on the social media?
Adrian: Of course, I’m happy when I get positive feedback on my pictures via social media. But the number of “likes” for me is not an indicator for the quality of an image. A personal conversation is much more productive and probably I am my sharpest critic.
LvD: Did the attention around Flow Valley open up new possibilities for you?
Adrian: I can clearly answer this question with YES. As the outdoor industry uses social media quite strongly, my high presence helped me definitely to improve my position in the market and to draw the attention of new customers.
LvD: Don’t you often think when it comes to very good images that you would like to be more often in front of the camera instead of behind of it?
Adrian: Honestly not! As we say it in German: “Coobler, stay to your trade.”. I think I am a much better photographer than a mountain bike rider. And because I know how exhausting it sometimes can be for the riders until everything fits, I feel quite comfortable in my position behind the camera. It also satisfies me more, to say in the end: “I shot the picture.” than: “I am the one in the picture.”.
LvD: What would you do if you did not become a photographer?
Adrian: This becomes a very hypothetical answer, because the desire to become a photographer has been there very early. That is why I had never really a plan B, and I pursuit this goal quite straight after school with internships, assistants and my studies.
If not, I would certainly have done something creative, e.g. I like to work with wood, because it is great material. So I could well imagine that to become a carpenter would have been a possible alternative for me.
LvD: At Flow Valley you do not like to name specific summits, but what are your or your next projects/ideas?
Adrian: Basically it is just became a bit quieter, the big projects are ticked off for this year. There are few smaller things on both sides of the Alpine main ridge left for me when the weather comes in handy, but otherwise we will still enjoy the bike season in the Flow Valley as long as possible. The last two years we had a fantastic bike season until the end of year and now it becomes really nice here. It is not so hot anymore, it is much calmer on the mountain and the colors and the light are just amazing in autumn!
“It also satisfies me more, to say in the end: “I shot the picture.” than: “I am the one in the picture.”
We do not know yet what the next winter of ski and/or splitboard tours with the dudes will bring, but we are in the middle of the planning phase. But one goal, that is on top of my list for the upcoming months, is Lisbon – of course with bike and camera.
LvD: Then I’m looking forward to the pictures. Thank you for the interview.
Adrian Greiter does not only make beautiful pictures of people in the mountains. If you want to see more of his work, check out his website www.adrian-greiter.de. If you are more into trails or snow, than you also need to check out Flow Valley (website / Facebook), where you can see of new pictures on a regular base.