Who are you Mr. Wittig and what inspired you to be a photographer?
I always had two tracks in my life – the social and the creative way. I loved pictures as a child already; I loved to paint, especially to draw and later to photograph, too. I bought my own first camera at 16 or 17. But at that age I did more drawing. The reason why I started studying social pedagogy was that I didn’t get a place to study at an artistic university.
So the next years my way led me more in the social direction. During and after the years at the university and my work as a social worker, I began to organize events and to do public relations, first accompanying work and later as my business. I worked as project manager for marketing and in music business, re-educated and did more creative productions in Advertising and Marketing Companies – photographs also, when there were too small budgets for external professionals. I never left the social part during the more “business-based” professions and everything I did, it flows from one into another, and in the early 2000 years I changed back to my first profession at a social worker in the youth employment. Parallel to the advertising job I began to experiment with photography and the next years I did more and more private and later also paid photo shootings beside my daily work. The thing changed from a hobby to a passion and became a real profession (michael-wittig.com) – after I was 40 years old.
Before my removal from Germany to Austria 4 years ago I started presenting some of my works in exhibitions and taught photography in a high school. The inspiration for my photography is the interaction during a photo session, trying to keep moments alive. Of course one focus in my work lies on humans, but while experimenting with several subjects it is also very exciting making things to say something. If this succeeds I did my work. If a photo is alive and telling a story, it is a good photo.
Please tell us that is the story of June 2014 shoe session. Who had the idea of such enterprise?
At an exhibition in Gmunden I met Gerd Wermescher and while we were talking it became clear that this man was a true shoe connoisseur. He told me about his shoe passion and I was impressed how enthusiastically he talked about such ordinary thing as footwear. A few months later he showed me his collection, most of it from the deduction of the Hungarian master shoemaker Gyula Kiss. We talked about how it could be possible to present the collection appropriately and individually. I made my concept, found the right location and so we did it.
As we both were really impressed about the results, I decided to make an exhibition. Gmunden and the whole Salzkammergut has an artistic tradition for a long time now. Gustav Klimt worked nearby at the Attersee and lots of other Artists found those rests and strength for the right inspiration in this area. In Gmunden there is a really alive organic art scene, wonderful artists live and work here. I was proud and thankful to be able to work in the beautiful arts hall of the Hipp company, where we did the shooting of the shoes. Hipp is a world famous producer of baby food and they transformed a former warehouse into an “event” location. They also support artists and their charity events have a fund raising character.
The shoes belong to whom? Are you a friend of the shoe’s owner?
Yes, I became a friend of Gerd, the owner of the shoes. His grandfather was a famous shoemaker in Rhegin/Siebenbürgen/Romania before World War II. Fortunately the family could escape in time and finally landed in Austria. Gerd, who was born in 1969, got his excitement and passion for the trade on the lap of his grandfather, when he worked in his small workshop.
To be continued …