She has grown with the industry, and the industry has grown to certain extent through her. For more than 30 years, Andrea Vollmer-Hess has been the creative eye of VOGUE Germany: She is a photo editor, a syndication and rights manager as well as a producer. She has worked with the best photographers in the world and is also taking the time to spot new talent as a juror of the GoSeeAWARDS 23.
In an interview, she shares with us what makes a good photo and what urgent advise she would give newcomers. Want more? Then meet Andrea on 25 May at UPDATE in Berlin!
Andrea’s journey began at Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and has led her, following short stops along the way in the advertising industry, to publishing house Condé Nast. Still with Miss Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the beginning, she soon moved to the photo editor’s office and into the hallowed halls of German VOGUE where she is responsible for image research and art buying, the organization of national and international photo productions, finding topics and pitching ideas for new content as well as the company’s photo archive.
What are the ingredients to a good photo for you? For me, a good photo has to be iconic, unique. A photo is similar to a composition, a choreography; the big picture has to be right. I can look at a good photo again and again, and it inspires me every time just like the first. Photography changes just like society does. It never stands still. A good photo captures the beauty of a moment. I am lucky to be able to work with the best photographers in the world at Vogue and get to discover new talent all the time and even get to work with them.
Which stages of your career have been the most educational? As a visual editor, I actually always learn something new. At Vogue, we produce globally, we share, view, discuss… in other words, we see new photos produced every day for all Vogue editions worldwide or we look for the best photos for different topics at photo agencies or in the Condé Nast archives. You also always learn from new art directors or chief editors, who bring their own individual style with them. As a society, we are in the midst of a great transition, which means that photography, our view of people, of our environment are also changing. As a photo editor, I have to have an eye for these changes, redefine the interpretation of beauty and make it palpable in images, or find photographers who can express our idea of beauty and strength.
What advise would you give new talent for their career? My advise to photographers is to move with the times, never stand still. Life is in constant transition, you learn something new every day. That inspires me. And that’s also the kind of inspiration the photos should reflect. I advise young photographers to always show their photo spreads at GoSees and not only individual motifs. It’s not about a single image; as producers or photo editors, we want to see if a photographer can photograph a story – that’s the only way to truly see their individual style.
A photo shoot is always like a theater production: One scene alone doesn’t make a story. Only when you have seen all scenes do you understand what it is all about. Only then do you see if a photographer can make a topic come to life in a photo spread. As a photographer, you should always be curious, continue to evolve, and you can only do so if you see a lot and are open to new things.
You can also learn quite a lot by assisting photographers for a while who have already made a name for themselves. You meet stylists, learn how to organize a shoot, what to pay attention to and how to fulfill the client’s requirements.
Andrea Vollmer-Hess grants us a glimpse at the May issue of VOGUE Germany here on GoSee – featuring Annie Leibovitz’ production with models Natalia Vodianova, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell. The world-famous photographer is represented by LGA MANAGEMENT, who will be exhibiting at UPDATE once again with a booth.
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