SIMON BOLZ

Confidence came naturally after a couple of years. It actually took me around six years until I had found my style and was able to take the photos that I had imagined to take. In university where I was studying design, I learned to think in series. Since then, this is something I always do. Single images bore me. I always want to create photo series and combining images interests me a lot.

I struggled a lot with myself in the beginning, but when Playboy commissioned me for the first time in 2012, it gave me a big push in terms of confidence. At first, I was afraid not to be able to shoot the way they like it, but they told me to just do my thing. It felt great to get accepted as a creative person by them.

Working on photographic projects doesn't mean that I just take my camera and shoot. When you think of photographers, you imagine they take images all the time. In reality, I only shoot once a week on average. The rest of the time, I spend with creating mood boards, searching models, planning journeys, or retouching images. I have a paper book in which I write ideas when they arise. Some of those ideas rest there for years until I find the suitable model to turn them into a photo project.

Being prepared helps me a lot in terms of confidence. As I think a lot before I begin to photograph, I can avoid awkward moments when you arrive on set and have no idea what to do. The first three motives or so are in my head from the beginning. I can guide the model and help her get into the flow. After that, things come naturally and I like to work spontaneously on further poses and interaction with model and location.

I try not to repeat myself too often. Of course, this is impossible, for example, when you are at your tenth shooting with a girl and a car. But still, I am always trying to find new poses and new perspectives, so my photos stay fresh.

 

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The good thing is, this process is less difficult than you might imagine. You have an idea, search a location and a model to work with. By seeing the portfolio of the model, you already get a vague idea of how she is personality-wise. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything 100% perfect, but this is impossible. So you have to take certain risks, like flying a model to an island and working with her for two days. Without ever having met before, this is brave, but I am a very diplomatic person and get along with almost everyone.

I believe the girls feel that I am prepared and through talking a lot before and during the shooting, they know what type of story I want to photograph. And I naturally radiate something like trust. I am a calm person, speak quietly, and care for their needs, e.g. not being cold. The models can definitely tell that I am not a horny guy who wants to see some boobs.

With some models you click better than with others. That's also natural. And it means, there's also a small bit of adventure in the air, when working on a project. This is like a connecting element between us always.

Oh, and what I forgot to mention: When shooting for my personal projects, the whole set is very intimate. There is no one else besides the model and me. No makeup artist, no assistant, no art director. Only us two. This probably is one of the secrets to fully focus on each other.

 

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Women simply interested me the most. Therefore, I chose them as my photographic subject. Maybe I was inspired by movie characters like Emanuelle (played by Sylvia Kristel). It fascinated me to see how a woman plays with her sexual attraction and is full of confidence and in control. Same with Madonna, for example. She became popular when I grew up and there was a myth around her and (on MTV) forbidden songs like Justify My Love. I like women with a strong mind and I got encouraged to help them express sensuality and erotism without objectifying them.

Looking back, I am very happy that I chose the subject of nude photography and must say that no other subject ever interested me as much. When people envy me for what I do, I can totally understand why. I feel very happy to have so much passion for what I do.

 

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Styling always is challenging. Baggy sweaters or super-wide culottes don't look good on any woman, I personally believe. Therefore, I am lucky that it is not so much about wardrobe in my images and that the girls are taking their clothes off to reveal their beautiful bodies.

In the end, "less is more" is kind of a key rule in my work. Sticking to one colour scheme helps. When I buy lingerie, I prefer it to be black. Then I can use it more often and not just in one shooting. I almost never use the stuff the model brings to the set, basically because I want to avoid that other photographers will take images with the same pieces.

In January I sold my complete wardrobe of lingerie and high heels. It was a big collection but I decided to start over with fresh styling and began buying new things. Whenever I run into interesting pieces, I buy them, for example, vintage sunglasses. They come in handy for every pool shooting. When I bring a certain styling to the set and then it turns out that the things don't fit the model or simply don't look good, it's a challenge to change your plan, but it's necessary to do so.

Funnily, a lot of models dress older than they are. I believe they assume they should represent a sexy lady while I rather style and photograph them how they really are. A wardrobe that is believable and suits the young and fresh spirit of a girl is always preferred by me.

 

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In Germany, times have changed over the past ten years. Since Facebook and other American companies dominate the Internet, nudity is broadly considered to be disreputable. The 70s and 80s were definitely more liberal. This makes it very difficult for me to get shooting permissions in Germany. I am truly grateful for how it is in Spain. In 2017, I worked on six different projects there and was warmly welcomed all the time. No one took notice of me, as nudity is widely accepted there.

 

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We live in an age of information overload. This makes us feel the world has become a worse place. Bad news is everywhere, from social media to television. We get bombarded with negative messages all day long. The world sometimes seems out of control, especially politicians seem unworldly. I was fed up with all this negativity.

And this is one of the reasons why I chose to work in the field of entertainment. There is enough bad news out there. I feel the need for shallow, superficial, and positive things out there. My photographs offer this: light entertainment, no political message, but aesthetics that please you naturally (without overstimulating you) and get understood universally (by both men and women). Optimism and curiosity drive me. So, yes, I feel very optimistic about the future and speaking of the nearer future: the publication of my new book in October 2018.

 

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The end of civilization will be caused by: mental enfeeblement.

 
















Simon Bolz // simonbolz // simonbolz.com

 

JUNNNKTANK is an online zine which has existed in one form or another since 2006.
For over a decade, the focus has been on highlighting the efforts of inspiring individuals and artists from around the world.

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Submissions are always welcome to junk@junnnktank.com.