“I think you need to find the story you’d like to tell. Images have the power to really speak to a person in a way words will never be able to…” – Hannes Becker
The Independent Photographer’s 2021 Landscape Award is now open for entries and will be judged by German-based photographer Hannes Becker whose extraordinary landscape images eloquently impart the magnificent beauty of the natural world.
Becker first began photographing in 2013 after downloading Instagram, which he used to share his love of the outdoors to what was back then, by his own admission, a modest group of followers.
“Slowly but surely, I practiced my new hobby by taking hundreds and thousands of images, developed my own style, and eventually turned this hobby into a very fulfilling job.”
Inspired by contemporaries, such as American visual artist Chris Burkhard (Judge of The Independent Photographer’s 2019 Landscape Award), whom he asserts, “has mastered combining outdoor photography with commercial, landscape, and travel,” filmmaker, Jeremy Snell and photographer, Sebastian J. Zanella, whose dreamy, cinematic visuals he proclaims, “stick to your mind like glue and tell stories without words”, along with a group of close friends, whom he affectionately calls, ‘The German Roamers’ due to their love of travel and adventure: Becker has spent the better part of the last decade traversing the globe, using his lens to chart and share his stirring experiences.
His practice is rooted in a deep appreciation of the natural world, one he has harbored since childhood, and which he accredits, at least in part, to his rural upbringing.
“Being from a small village, nature has always been around me and shaped my life in a great manner.”
Asperous coastal cliffs, shaped by the incessant beating of ocean waves; vast indigo-hued fjords, their surfaces punctuated by alabaster icebergs; dramatic snow-capped mountains; sweeping verdant valleys; glassy fjords, and otherworldly basalt formations; Becker’s breathtaking images vividly capture the almost incomprehensible beauty of the world’s most rugged and remote settings, places unsullied by the syntheticity and destruction that inevitably accompanies significant human intervention.
“I still find the greatest joy and a sense of serenity when being surrounded by the great outdoors. Nature has a way of putting you back in place. When standing in front of a mighty mountain, hearing the roaring ocean or getting to experience its force first hand by getting completely soaked in the rain…it makes you feel small and insignificant yet so very alive.”
Technically excellent, and deeply perceptive, Becker’s approach is uncompromisingly honest, contemplative, and considered. However, in spite of this, he always finds space for intuition, accommodating his own emotions and sensibilities within his creations, which invariably convey his profound affection for the subject, and evoke a sense of wonder in the very same manner as those captured by the genre’s greatest practitioners.
“When I am out on a mission capturing images for a client, I do have a certain plan in mind, however, I don’t get too specific about the exact image I want to shoot, it usually just all comes together and turns out different than anticipated.
For example, when I am close to the ocean and a storm is coming? That’s when you can find me running around, trying to take it all in and to capture what I feel in that moment.”
All images © Hannes Becker