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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Karin Claus: Experimental Techniques with Lensbaby

  • 5 min read

Karin Claus is an experimental photographer from the Netherlands. Her work has been described as abstract, experimental, faded, and even disfigured. Her distinct perspective lends itself to a unique set of inspirations. Read below to find out what inspires Karin, and how it translates into her amazing photography.Karin Claus Blog photo

How would describe your work?

Experimental with a twisted mind. I like strong colors but also black and white with a lot of contrast. I like to experiment with different techniques and make them my own. I want people to not only see the image but also kind of study them and find the story behind the image. Create fantasy worlds not like a photographer but like a painter.

How has your work evolved over time?

From normal(and at that time favorite aperture of F8) landscape photographer, where I want to develop my fantasy landscapes, to a higher level, creating dreamscapes with a surreal twist like a painter (with my new favorite aperture as wide as a lens allows it). When I started as a Landscape photographer I wanted everything tack sharp. Now I want to create moods or messages in an image.

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Tell us about any new projects or assignments youre working on, and how youre executing them?

A few months ago I started a new project called Forest Spirits. I spend a lot of time in nature and when I'm out there, I somehow feel free and it is easy for me to get rid of daily stress. I feel that nature keeps an eye on me while photographing trees, branches, and landscapes, etc. I often feel that I'm being watched and sometimes I even see faces in the trees, roots, etc. Back at home I review some of the photographs I take and it freaks me out that indeed a lot of little creatures/spirits are hiding in the forest and are visible in the photographs. I edit them mostly in black and white then dodge and burn them so that the spirits become visible to the rest of the world. A lot of the images are mirrored so you can see faces. What kind of faces you see often depends on your current mood (inspired by Rorschach inkblots). For this blog I went with color photos because my black and white series have been submitted for an award that I'm hoping for. In the black and white series, the spirits/shapes become more visible. Not all images are mirrored and with some I use different techniques or gear. I like using a prism to create a more mysterious world. In some images I dont see anything (only nature) but some people are starting to see creatures in the branches or roots or even in the negative spaces.

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Double exposure in Photoshop + Edge 80 f2.8 + Sweet 35 f2.5

Who/what inspires you and why?

Rorschach inkblots
I like the Idea that you see different things in a painting or a photo depending on what your mood is.
For his surrealistic paintings with a message.
MC Escher
For his creation of something that is not possible but looks possible and playing with your mind.
Joel Peter Witkin
He is one of a few photographers I like because he creates something beautiful from what most people think is ugly and shouldnt exist or may not exist. Sometimes he shocks people by making stills from pieces of corpses. He doesnt go with the flow and has his own vision of what he wants and likes. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions), and various outsiders such as dwarves, transsexuals, and physically deformed people. All are themes that most people avoid or want to avoid. If you see his images you have to look twice or spend extra time thinking about it.

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What are your goals for your own photography career?

To get better at creating fantasy worlds using unusual photography gear with a lot of fun and fantasy. My biggest goal is to become a famous fine artist, and if possible, exhibit my work to large audiences all around the world. (I keep on dreaming to) Teach other photographers to think outside the box and help them to take their photography to the next level. If all of this is not possible then Im gonna do the things I like most- having fun and creating my own fantasy worlds while sharing my experiences.

How were you initially introduced to Lensbaby lenses, and how do you use them in your photography to
help realize your vision? differentiate your work?

At the School of Photography we worked with a technical camera for product photography and I liked the fact that I could decide where the focus was. A Technical camera was to expensive for me and I was searching the internet for alternative gear. I spent hours making my own technical camera/lenses. I have a lot of old vintage lenses and I took some apart to start making my own technical lenses and did a lot of free-lensing with those lenses. Finally I saw a topic about Lensbaby gear. I thought why not give it a try, so I bought the composer pro with double glass and was hooked from the first minute. First I was using it for product photography and later for landscapes and portraiture. I even shot my final exam with my beloved Lensbaby Sweet 35 and the Double Glass 50mm. For the last three years I've only shot with Lensbaby and my old vintage lenses. My three auto focus lenses are currently gathering dust and are only used once or twice a year.

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Share an interesting (PG-rated) interesting fact/story about yourself that is not directly related to photography
but has shaped who you are as a person and artist.

As kid I was always drawing and busy with glue and paper. I had more than enough creative ideas. I graduated as a fashion and graphic designer and after I was finished with school, I couldn't find work in my industries. So I worked in a factory as a process operator for almost 20 years. I was mostly spending my free time walking in the forest and enjoying my long holidays far far away (usually in Asia). A couple of years ago I had to leave my job because of knee problems. I went back to school and graduated as DTP-ER (a publisher). A few years later as a professional photographer I only had one problem - I had total creative block when I was on an assigment (I discoverd this just a few months before my graduation). I need my freedom to get were I want. It takes a long time to get there but I know that I will be there someday. Never give up your hope and see everything in a positive way. With my little son growing up so fast I love taking it slow and having fun with him whereever we go. Im hoping one day he will love nature as much as I do and will respect every little creature on earth.



Check out Karin's website Here

Check out Karin's Facebook page Here