Martin Tscholl · Terrain

Nov 09, 2020

Martin is a German photographer inspired mainly by music and colour. Focused on the exploration of landscapes, Martin's work is a reflection on the natural and its infinite complexity. In his series 'Terrain', Martin presents nature as a metaphysical dimension that exists beyond the physical world and our immediate senses, and by presenting it as an array of images, the artist seeks to enhance this experience. In this way, 'Terrain' also serves as a reminder that nature has its own existence and goes beyond us.

am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

MT - My name is Martin Tscholl and I live and work in Berlin. I studied Fine Art Photography at the Ostkreuzschule Berlin at the seminar Ludwig Rauch and am a scholar at his masterclass. I hold a MA in Visual and Media Anthropology from the Freie Universität Berlin and am a research associate at the Natural History Museum Berlin. Here I focus on topics such as the mediation of nature, and environmental communication. At the moment, I edit a new photobook for my work “Terrain” and just finished a new series about lichens (a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship). They are threatened by the increasing extinction of species and rapidly disappearing. By loosing Lichens, an entire cosmos disappears, which in their diversity and aesthetics bear witness of interconnectedness and the sublime.


am - How did you start in photography?

MT - My first interest was in film, but soon enough I realized photography was in fact the right medium for what I wanted to do. In the beginning I started with a 35 mm and captured landscapes on long hikes and travels. One thing led to another and the projects got more ambitious.


am - What inspires your work?

MT - It always begins with an image on my mind that is driven by a certain tone of music or colour. I find lots of inspiration in ambient drone music by artists like 'Celer' or 'Forest Management'. Also paintings became a huge inspiration for me, especially by artist of the 'Abstract Expressionism' and the 'Informalism'. In both arts I find the idea of the sublime as a creative exploration of landscape and the natural, which inspires my photography. Growing up in the Black Forest in Germany, mountains and forests have left deeply rooted impressions on my aesthetical perception.

am - What is 'Terrain' about?

MT - I am outdoors a lot on long hikes and I generally enjoy being in nature. When I am wandering around, I am always fascinated by the infinite complexion  of phenomena that surround me: mountains, glacier, forests, they all are embedded in unfathomable time horizons that go beyond the limits of my perception. When I walk through landscapes, linger in places, an idea of the cosmic dimensions inscribed in every terrain, seems to be emerging within me. This reference to nature as a metaphysical reminder  has largely disappeared in everyday life. By making use of photography, I try to sensualize these phenomena, photograph parts of the whole and reassemble it as pictorial figures.


am - What was the main idea behind creating an array of images?

MT - It started as an experiment. I wanted to capture what I imagined and basically just tried different things. I searched for similarities in the landscapes around me and arranged them. Only afterwards I realized that the eye moves between the different images and starts to compare them. By doing so, if it goes well, one might have an experience of the mountain, glacier etc, which could not be captured within one single image.


am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?

MT - Like mentioned above, I get inspired a lot by music, and besides music I get inspired by the following artists:  Axel Hütte, Anna Cabrera & Ángel Albarrán, Wolfgang Laib, Gerhard Richter, Herman de Vries, Andy Goldsworthy, Marc Rothko and Fred Thieler.


am - What is your favourite photo book?

MT - If I have to pick one, I´d take Axel Hütte: 'North, South'. It had the most effect on me.


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

All images © Martin Tscholl


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