“My work is quite spontaneous,” London-based photographer Anton Gottlob tells It’s Nice That. “The initial excitement of an idea or project is always the most exciting time for me. I don’t like spending days creating mood boards.” This quick-witted approach to the medium is evident when looking at Anton’s portfolio. Full of saturated colours, unusual compositions and plenty of high flash, his images are full of energy, feeling more like stills from a video rather than photographs.
Anton came to photography after graduating from high school in Cologne, where he grew up with his parents and twin brother. “I was a bit lost, not wanting to study,” he recalls. As the city has a thriving music scene, Anton was spending a lot of time at concerts and raves. “I thought, how great it would be to be paid to hang out there with my friends,” Anton explains, “a lot of my friends make music, but that wasn’t really my thing, so I started taking pictures of them at their gigs and festivals.”
It was after a month spent travelling around Asia that he realised it was what he wanted to do for good. “It opened up my eyes and engaged me with photography, I wanted to learn everything about it,” he remarks. From here, Anton began assisting various photographers, first moving to New York in 2011 for an internship with Martin Schoeller. “When Philip Seymour Hoffman died, the Rolling Stones Magazine published a large format picture that Martin had taken of him. I remembered seeing that picture in his archive. Photography is preserving history,” Anton muses, “that fascinates me.”
Four years later and Anton moved to London where he took up the role of studio assistant to Juergen Teller, where he still works. Learning not only how to shoot images but how to work on magazine layouts and exhibitions as well as receiving support his own personal and freelance work.
From images of privatised German airsoft gun bunkers in Friendly Fire to a series titled Buro 24/7 shot in one day, using models cast the night before on the streets of Kazakhstan, these personal and freelance projects are incredibly varied. Despite this, there is a visual succinctness to Anton’s work and a feeling that if he had pressed the shutter a moment later, he would have missed the absurdity happening in front of him. This vivacity is created by the relationships and interactions between Anton and his sitters: “It’s about finding that one moment between yourself and the subject, where everything comes together and creates a beautiful and interesting picture.”
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