Greg Kiss is a professional photographer from Germany. After a Diploma and PhD in business administration, Greg started a career as a management consultant in the field of Marketing and CRM in Germany. But since his first job there was always a desire to escape from “life in the fast lane”. After several trips to Iceland, Norway and Canada a couple of years ago, things started getting more serious. Today, Greg tries to combine the precious life of a management consultant and the precarious life of a landscape photographer, with more focus on the second one and with unyielding devotion, creativity and commitment. Recently Greg finished working on his self-financed film & photo-book project “The Tropic of Capricorn – A Time-Lapse Journey”. You will have a chance to read more about it further down the page. It was a great pleasure for us to take an interview with Greg Kiss and learn some interesting facts of his biography. We wish you a pleasant reading and viewing of Greg Kiss photography.
AP: Greg, thank you so much for finding a time to give us an interview. That’s a great honor for us. So what got you started?
Greg: I started with photography more than 20 years ago. At that time – and today as well – I was totally impressed by the images of Art Wolfe, one of the best landscape and nature photographers in the world. His images are really art to me; he is excellent in composing and capturing these perfect moments before sunrise or after sunset when the light is so amazing that it is nearly impossible to catch the same magical moment again. Two to three years ago, I fell in love with time-lapse photography when I saw one of those vimeo/youtube milky-way videos that were viewed and liked by millions. From that time I knew that combining my visuals and images with great emotional music is exactly what I always wanted to do. Still and time-lapse photography started as a hobby and is now getting more and more serious with several contract works and the publication of my first multimedia book.
AP: What a wonderful start! Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?
Greg: I learned photography by trial and error. In times of analog photography this was quite difficult, because there were days or even weeks between shooting and analyzing of an image. The learning curve was flat. But since the breakthrough of DSLR cameras everything changed. Nowadays you can analyze your shots a couple of minutes after shooting or in the evening of a great photography day – and make things better the next day. Since I am working with DSLR I learn more in a single year then I learned in ten years of analog photography. And it is important for me to get better and better in what I am doing, because for me art and photography starts with getting some kind of perfection in what you are doing. But of course I very much enjoy traveling and spending as much time as possible out in nature, too.
AP: Yeah, nature and traveling can inspire you to create amazing things! What genre are your photos?
Greg: The focus of my photography is nature. I am a nature and landscape photographer, always on the track for the beauty of our earth. I am looking for unusual destinations, taking long walks and little sleep to present nature in best light. My pictures are never spontaneous, usually planned and always without taking any damage to nature.
AP: How would you describe your pictures?
Greg: I try to combine my knowledge and experience in still photography with everything I know about time-lapse photography. The perfect shot starts in my mind, mostly as a still image while I am making research for a new travel spot for example. I try to find something special of a spot, a way to make a shot of a place like nobody did before. Sometimes this needs weeks of imagination, but sometimes the new idea comes in the twinkling of an eye when I “feel” nature at a special place. Getting your 30-40kg time-lapse equipment to a single spot is the “dedicative part” of photography and getting the right camera adjustments is the “craftsmanship part” of it.
AP: Yes, absolutely. What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to take your pictures?
Greg: I am a Canon user since the day I have started with photography. And when you start buying serious and expensive lenses you will probably change the camera body once in a while but you will never change your brand again. Currently I used the Canon 1DX, which is the best camera I have ever used regarding image quality and speed. And shooting >10fps in RAW/SRAW is quite important for time-lapse photography when you need smooth movements of very fast movements. Moreover, I use the Canon EF L series of lenses between 14mm and 400mm and I use Manfrotto tripods as well as Dollies/Slider made by Dynamic Perception.
AP: Please tell us more about “The Tropic of Capricorn”? Why Tropic of Capricorn? What inspired you to create this time-lapse collection?
Greg: The idea for the project first came to me in early 2012, when I was preparing a several-week-long trip to the high plateau of Altiplano in western Bolivia. During my research, I realized that, in addition to the Altiplano, there are other beautiful landscapes right on or very near the Southern Tropic, many of which are among the most picturesque of our planet. I was surprised to learn that, to date, no photographer had dealt with this subject and was immediately enthusiastic about the idea of presenting the nature along the Tropic of Capricorn in a photo-book.
While starting with the preparations I thought this is the time to use my Marketing knowledge for myself. There are dozens of photo books out there, do the world needs another one from me? But while nowadays iPads and other tablets represent the future of book reading and publishing there was no single electronic book combining still and time-lapse photography. I immediately knew that this is the gap that I want to close with my project, and I really think that this is just the beginning for a complete new “viewing experience” of electronic photo books in the near future.
AP: So you are a discoverer who created a very unique photo collection. That is fantastic! What is the formula for success in your activity?
Greg: Well, everyone is defining success in his or her own way. So I never started with The Tropic of Capricorn project because I wanted to sell thousands of multimedia photo books. I had an idea in my mind, and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to realize my dream. Of course, I am participating in some photography contests and film festivals to get some additional promotion and visibility. But my focus is not necessarily winning an award but rather getting any kind of feedback that helps me getting better and better for my next photography projects.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Greg: Most of the time I travel and photograph on my own. But of course there is also a lot of support from my family and friends, well not by pushing my creativity but rather by helping and encouraging me to live my dream.
AP: Tell us three lessons you believe are really important for every photographer?
- Photography is always a craftsmanship and your learning curve should never end.
- If you think anything was photographed by anyone already and it is impossible to create a unique shot, you should think harder.
- Life (of a photographer) begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Greg, thank you so much for sharing such amazing experience! I am sure your story inspired many readers. We wish you great success, discover more beautiful place on earth and of course continued inspiration. To learn more about Greg Kiss photography and his time-lapse journey The Tropic of Capricorn, please visit his personal website.