Ronny Behnert has been actively working in photography since January of 2007. The award winning architecture- and landscape photographer founded Håggard Photography in 2010 and continues to grow the brand today. His clientele includes hotels, restaurants, various newspapers, lifestyle, print and digital-magazines.
While continuously developing his skills and knowledge, Ronny never wants to lose his amateur spirit. To ground himself in his artwork, he tries to spend as much time as possible exploring the world. Recent series and photos from Scandinavia, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Japan and Venice, Italy have already been published in prestigious, national and international photo magazines.
His work has been awarded with the Sony World Photography Award, the german Photographer of the Year Award, the International Photography Award and the Monochrome Award. He also has been shortlisted for the Felix Schoeller Photoaward, was a finalist for the European Professional Photographer of the Year Award and has been nominated for the B&W Spider Awards and the International Color Awards, to name a few. Beginning in 2019, Ronny also works as Co-Photographer and ambassador for the filter brand Haida. He also was chosen as ambassador for different brands like Samyang Lens between 2020 / 2021.
Artrepreneur: How do you use light and shadow to evoke a specific mood or atmosphere in your photographs?
Ronny Behnert: In minimal long exposure photography, particularly during grey, foggy, rainy, and dark weather conditions, utilizing light and shadow effectively can play a significant role in evoking a specific mood or atmosphere in my photographs.
Soft, diffused light during such weather conditions can create a serene and moody atmosphere. The absence of harsh shadows allows for a more even distribution of light, resulting in a gentle, ethereal quality to my images. I try to make the most of this soft light by capturing the subtle nuances and delicate tones it brings forth. While soft light is often desired in these conditions, incorporating elements of contrast add depth and drama to my photographs. Look for subjects or objects that stand out against the subdued backdrop, such as a colored hut or a dark pole in vibrant attire. By strategically placing contrasting elements, I can enhance the visual impact and create a focal point within the frame.
Silhouettes can be incredibly powerful in conveying a mood or atmosphere. During low-light conditions, I capture the outline of a subject against a brighter background, such as the glow of a cityscape or a foggy horizon. Silhouettes can evoke a sense of mystery, solitude, or even melancholy, enhancing the emotional impact of my photographs.
Rainy weather presents an excellent opportunity to utilize reflections to add an extra layer of interest to my images. Puddles, wet surfaces, or rain-soaked streets can provide captivating reflections that enhance the overall mood and atmosphere as well. I often experiment with different angles and compositions to capture the reflection in a compelling way. Rain and fog often create a sense of texture and depth within my compositions, which depends on the duration of the exposure time.
The key to using light and shadow effectively to evoke a specific mood or atmosphere is to be attuned to the subtle nuances of the weather conditions and to experiment with different techniques. By carefully considering these elements and incorporating them into my compositions, I can create atmospheric photographs that convey the desired emotional impact I felt in the moment of shooting.
ATP: How do you find inspiration and maintain creativity in a world saturated with images?
RH: In a world saturated with images, finding inspiration and maintaining creativity can be a challenge. However, there are several strategies I try to employ to stay inspired and nurture your creative vision.
By exploring different genres of photography, discovering the works of renowned photographers, and studying various art forms beyond photography I try to seek new perspectives. By exposing myself to diverse perspectives, I can find inspiration in unexpected places and incorporate elements from other art forms into my own work.
Challenging myself to try new techniques, experimenting with different genres, or venturing into unfamiliar locations helps me to step outside my comfort zone. This option encourages growth, expands my skills, and opens doors to fresh creative possibilities. Engaging with a community of photographers, either online or offline, joining photography forums, attending workshops, participating in photography challenges, or collaborating with fellow artists to connect with other photographers helps a lot to find new inspirations. Sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, and receiving constructive feedback can spark inspiration and offer valuable insights.
Another wonderful and relaxing option is immersing myself into nature. Nature provides endless inspiration with its ever-changing landscapes, light conditions, and intricate details. I spend as much time as possible in natural environments, explore different seasons, and observe the beauty that surrounds me. Connecting with nature can be a powerful catalyst for creativity. Considering taking breaks from social media and a creative downtime helps to focus on personal reflection and introspection when I feel empty and demotivated. A few weeks doing something totally different is the perfect possibility to clear my mind and finding new inspirations. It all comes alone when the time is right.
I also allow myself to experiment freely without the pressure of achieving a specific outcome. I embrace my curiosity and try unconventional techniques to let my creativity flow without self-judgment. Mistakes and happy accidents can often lead to unexpected and captivating results.
ATP: How does your use of composition and framing contribute to the storytelling aspect of your photographs?
RH: The use of composition and framing plays a crucial role in enhancing the storytelling aspect of my photographs. The placement of my main subject within the frame can help establish the visual hierarchy and guide the viewer’s attention. I consider the rule of thirds or other compositional techniques to position my subject off-center and create a sense of balance or tension. By intentionally placing the main subject within the context of the environment, I can convey its relationship to the surrounding elements and tell a story through their interaction.
Using leading lines to draw the viewer’s gaze into the frame and guide them through the image can add a sense of depth and movement, enhancing the storytelling aspect. Converging architectural lines, or natural contours can act as visual pathways, directing attention towards the subject or key elements of my composition. The use of negative space can evoke a sense of isolation, tranquility, or introspection. In minimal long exposure photography, the grey weather conditions often lend themselves well to creating ample negative space. This emptiness can convey a mood or atmosphere, allowing the subject to stand out and become the focal point, while also inviting the viewer to contemplate the story being told.
My chosen point of view can significantly impact the storytelling aspect of my photographs. Experimenting with different angles and perspectives, like shooting from low or high angles, to convey a specific mood or viewpoint, brings a unique storytelling element, allowing me to express my narrative vision. Beside these options I pay attention to the details within the environment that can contribute to the story I want to tell. Raindrops on a surface, mist hanging in the air, or reflections in puddles can all contribute to the overall narrative and evoke a specific mood or atmosphere.
ATP: What techniques or approaches do you use to capture unique and compelling perspectives in your photographs?
RH: To capture unique and compelling perspectives in minimal long exposure photography I try to pay attention on different methods to create my photographs. Using a neutral density (ND) filter is my main technique since many years. This filter is a darkened piece of glass or resin that reduces the amount of light entering the camera without altering the color or contrast of the scene. This allows for longer exposure times, which can be beneficial in various ways.
One of the primary purposes of an ND filter is to extend the exposure time. By reducing the amount of light reaching the camera sensor, I can create longer exposures, even in bright lighting conditions. This is particularly useful for achieving the desired effect of motion blur in scenarios such as capturing the smooth flow of water or creating streaks of light in nighttime cityscapes. With a longer exposure, moving elements like water or clouds can appear as soft and ethereal in the final image. In minimal long exposure photography, this effect can contribute to a serene and atmospheric mood. In busy scenes with many people or moving objects, using a long exposure with an ND filter helps me to eliminate or minimize their presence. Since the filter extends the exposure time, any moving elements tend to become blurred or completely disappear, resulting in a cleaner and more focused composition.
Experimenting with scale and proportions can create a sense of drama and emphasize certain elements within the frame. Considering objects or subjects of different sizes to create contrast and draw attention to specific details can create a sense of visual tension and add intrigue to my works.
Looking for simple and uncluttered scenes that emphasize negative space is another valuable method. I use negative space to highlight my subject, convey a mood, or create a sense of calm and tranquility.
ATP: How do you overcome creative blocks or find inspiration when you’re feeling stuck in your photography?
RH: Overcoming creative blocks and finding inspiration in photography is always a challenge. Every artist knows these phases and I feel, the older I get the deeper I fall.
Sometimes, a change of scenery can do wonders for breaking through my creative blocks. Exploring new locations, whether it’s a nearby park, urban area, or even a different city. At least once a year I try to explore something totally new, I´ve never seen or done before in my life. I give myself permission to take a break from photography and focus on self-care activities and in hobbies unrelated to photography. Taking care of my well-being helps to re-energize my mind and open up new avenues of inspiration.
Creativity is a journey and not every photograph needs to be a masterpiece. Learning from different experiments and their mistakes keeps me motivated as well. By shifting my focus from solely pursuing exceptional results to enjoying the creative process itself, I can find joy and inspiration in the act of photography. Overcoming creative blocks and finding inspiration requires patience, openness, and a willingness to explore new avenues.
ATP: Are there any specific features or resources on artrepreneur.com that have been particularly valuable in advancing your artistic goals?
RH: First of all winning a competition as a new member was much more than I expected when I registered myself on Artrepreneur but I also I appreciate reaching a wider audience in public through Artrepreneur. As an artist that is one of my main goals here.
ATP: Have you found the platform to be effective in connecting you with opportunities, promoting your work, or expanding your network within the art community?
RH: Absolutely. After a few weeks I connected with some collectors and other artists, which is also very important in the whole process of growing and evolving as an artist. New contacts and new projects are keeping the motivation alive.
To view more of Ronny’s work please visit his Artrepreneur profile.