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Q: What do you see as your greatest success from your eight years of personal work?
Dietmar Busse: The most important thing that came out of that time was that I found my own language as a photographer. There was so much I had to learn about who I am as an artist and as a human being. For example, I don’t like to be in a crowded place with a lot of people I don’t know — and I like it even less if I have to take pictures there. It makes me completely nervous and I just want to leave. On the other hand, I really enjoy being with just one person in the room and taking their picture. I learned how to create the right atmosphere for my shoots, and consequently my work has become much more focused.
MJ: What has your experience been now that you are moving back into fashion and commercial photography?
DB: In many ways it’s much easier now. Getting some distance has helped a lot. I think I am much humbler now, and I appreciate every opportunity to do my work.
The most difficult thing has been to get access to the “right” people. So much of this business is social networking, and it’s a real challenge to rebuild a support system. But once I sit down with an art director or editor, I feel really comfortable. I think my work has a definite point of view, and people either like it or they don’t — it’s pretty straightforward. I am almost a bit embarrassed to say it, but I absolutely love showing my work now, and I am sure clients notice that.
MJ: Do you have advice for young photographers who are in a similar situation to you when you started out?
DB: I think it is very important to know what you want. Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to be a photographer? Why do you take pictures? Are you interested in the money, the models, self-expression?
At least for me it took quite some time to figure this out in my head, and later to build a body of work that corresponded to that. But I believe it was totally worth it. As we know, so much of our culture is about being richer, more beautiful, more famous, and all of that. People are divided into winners and losers. It’s important not buy into that. I think building a strong sense of self helps you to be immune to that and will hopefully lead you to create something unique and photographs that are meaningful to you.