All images by Michael Moeller. Used with permission.
Photographer Michael Moeller hails from Oldenburg, North Germany. He’s 53 now and a former quality control manager for an automotive supplier with Volkswagen as a customer. Michael tells us that it was a really hard job.
Then he quit, and started working with kids and tried to relearn photography. You see, Michael has been into photography since he was 10 years old, and he got back into shooting street photos and much more. But his wife wanted to start a food blog, so he took it on himself to do the photography.
In time, his photography started to become recognized, and he even won the EyeEm Mission. “Flavors of the world.” And as he tells us, food is a big passion of his.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Michael: I’ve been photographing since I was 10. I learned it in my old school and my teacher (Elk Knaake) was an photographer and an artist. He told us a lot about harmony and balance in his projects.
My father was photographing too and he always has an old Leica in his pockets. So there is much influence for me when I was young but there a big long breaks in my photographing history. I started again maybe 4 years ago with an 365project. I thought it is a good way to learn photography but I saw that taking photos as a beginner in only one community is not good for your photographic improvement.
I was trying five or six different communities, sometimes three at the same time.
I was using Flickr as a storage tank, Tumblr for fun and EyeEm as the main platform. EyeEm gives me a lot of influence and inspiration.
Phoblographer: What got you into food photography?
Michael: Oh, that’s easy. The best of all wives.
She wanted to make a food blog for fun and I was to take the photos. I had to learn that food photography is hard. Really hard.
In the beginning of my photography addiction I was taking street pictures, architecture or banal scenes of daily life. That’s easy–light, scene, object or subject. Everything was predefined here. When you are making food photos you can change everything. Every time you can make a better scene, a more precise light.
I had to learn to say: “That’s good enough.”
I was working as a quality manager earlier…That’s bad.
Phoblographer: What’s very unique about your images is your lighting–that truly looks like it’s lit with a giant apartment window. Talk to us about this and how your inspiration dictates the lighting in your images.
Michael: Mmmh… I love natural light because I am very lazy.
And the daylight gives a scene a very realistic touch. This depends on the fact that I never learned to use a flash or studio lamp. I have a softbox, diffusors and some reflectors but I cannot deal with them. Never learned it.
The other problem is that you have more problems that you have to build up and arrange. I love to put the food on the table, arrange it, see how it looks and take the photo. Quick and dirty. That’s all.
Phoblographer: What inspires the scenes that you create before you shoot them?
Michael: We have a house full of cooking books and we are reading a lot of blogs. A lot of ideas and inspirations are from other food photographers. Further inspirations are coming from other genres.
Phoblographer: Talk to us more about the gear that you use and why you choose it.
Michael: I use Olympus cameras. I had the OM analog cameras and the Olympus 35 RD.
Later I changed to digital photography but I stayed by Olympus and the MFT format. The quality is good enough for food photography and they have many good lenses. Most photos are taken with prime lenses from Olympus like the 45mm f1.8 or 25mm f1.8. Sometimes I use Sigma prime lenses.
Okay, I am a fanboy…
Sometimes I think of a Sony full-frame camera but the lenses are really bulky and expensive. The other reason is that I do not want to have two different systems at the same time. Maybe later. I must try it out.
Phoblographer: Your images feature lots of blacks and darks contrasting heavily with bright, vibrant colors. How do you feel this adds to your signature as a photographer?
Michael: No ideas… 🙁
Phoblographer: What makes a photo specifically a photo that you made. By that, we mean what are some of the top 10 things going through your head as you create these images?
What would my wife said all about this.