When it comes to presenting a jar of face cream so that the viewer wants to reach out and touch it – Till Melchior from Hamburg is the expert. His specialism is still life photography. As the name suggests, he breathes life into his photographs of objects. And he certainly did that in our campaign for the coming Ambiente.
Till Melchior wants to make others feel the passion he has in his work. But how do you create a powerful picture from an idea or concept? Specifically, how do you visualise the elements of a trade fair that focuses on innovation in the consumer goods sector? “The basic idea in this case was supplied by the Frankfurt agency Mai Communications,” explains Melchior. “The concept was to create an overall space using polygons. At first this sounded really difficult, but when I saw the first drafts of the spaces it was immediately clear to me that here was an exciting, previously unseen concept.” The task of Till Melchior was now to photograph the objects assigned to each theme in perspective and shadow so that the post-production team would be able to integrate the objects easily in these spaces and possibly reconfigure the spaces in a 3D program.
Basically, it was a case of craft meets creativity. This preliminary experimentation with exposure, focus and the latest camera techniques not only requires the know-how of the photographer but also the vision and feel to enable the maximum freedom for subsequent creative processes. Thinking outside the box, visualising ideas in your mind’s eye, being a team player – for Till Melchior and his work these factors are equally as important as having the right equipment.
The Ambiente fair focuses on the future and innovations in the world of consumer goods and household products. Till Melchior explains the relationship that a photographer needs to adopt towards this design genre: “I think that anyone who chooses to concentrate on still life photography is inspired by design – whether product design, graphic design or architecture. As a still life photographer you have to use lighting, perspective and space to stage objects that others have created in order to present the product effectively. This requires me to work with the shape, colour and perspective of the object. I am, so to speak, a person who creates with light. I’m therefore also a designer. So I have a very strong focus on design.”
In his work Till Melchior is inspired by a wide variety of things. An exhibition, a film, music or another photographer can all be sources of inspiration for his creativity. “Good ideas can also come to me when I’m involved in sport or relaxing. When I have to deal with a particular subject, I naturally have a certain idea as to how it can be realised,” says the photographer and adds that at times it may not hurt to ‘compare’ his ideas. Here he asks himself the following questions: How do other designers and photographers tackle this subject? How can you present it differently? “Ultimately you also want to create a picture that conveys the impression of the unseen. There are millions of pictures of chairs, but how do you photograph a chair as it’s never been photographed before. The Ambiente campaign is a good example of this.” For this ‘comparison’ exercise Till Melchior not only uses his bookmarks, he also searches widely on blogs and creative networks “although the flood of images is sometimes more confusing than inspiring.”
The style of photographer Till Melchior can ultimately be summarised as being very clear and very much reduced to the essentials. This is doubtless partly due to his long fascination with the clarity of design and holistic design concept of the Bauhaus (Gropius, van der Rohe, Corbusier). “Later I was inspired by Danish and Scandinavian design – Verner Panton and Arne Jacobson. Dieter Rams, whose work informs many contemporary Apple products, was also always for me a lesson in clarity and functionality.”