is a full time Design Project Leader in a consultancy and photographer living in Munich. He studied both design and photography and went with the design for a living and kept photography as his real passion. Instead of taking on photo jobs Robert Götzfried usually focuses on art projects and travel photography. With his Australian wife currently working abroad in Cambodia his lifestyle naturally comes with a lot of traveling. Sometime they even catch up somewhere where they’ve both never been before.
Thank you for being with us today! Let me start out by asking you: What inspires you as an artist?
I like to spend time on my own. When I go out to take photos I always do it on my own. Most of my photos are about locations without people in them. Somehow I enjoy being away from people. Don‘t get me wrong – it‘s not that I don‘t like people! I just feel more comfortable when I do things by myself most of the time. I guess that‘s why I‘m moving off the grid a lot and why I‘m able to focus on the here and now. When I take shots of church organs or swimming pools for example I‘m there all on my own. That allows me to focus on the topic I‘m taking
shots of. When I go traveling I hardly ever go to the hot spots. I‘ve been to New York but haven‘t seen the Statue of Liberty, I‘ve been to Australia – but I haven‘t seen Ayers Rock. Maybe that‘s why I come home with photos that are different in a way?
You have traveled to many different places all across the planet. How do you choose a location for your photography?
For a start I go to places that seem interesting to me. I don‘t have a plan what to shoot when I go to places. I just wander around and look for things that might make a good series. In the US it was a series about abandoned gas stations, in Cambodia I shot street barber shops. I‘m always thinking in series. I guess as a designer I‘m always looking for patterns in way. When I went to Morocco last year I found it hard to see something in the beginning. In the end I came home with something that I liked and it seemed that some other people did, too.
Which one was your favorite location so far and why?
I loved all of my trips – even the ones that at first sight didn‘t seem to be cool. Macedonia was great and of course the road trip through the Balkans I did with my wife. As a photographer though I have to say that the trips through the southern States of the US were my favorite. I‘m a big fan of Bluegrass and Country music and there‘s no better place to go than Nashville when you‘re into that kind of thing. That‘s where I shot my series „Fill‘er up!“ and „People of the South“. I met so many nice people and saw a lot great concerts! Check out Mandoline Orange – they are a blast! On the other hand – Cambodia has also become one of my favorite countries in the last few years. It‘s hard to say but when it‘s just about photography I would go for the US.
How is traveling as an artist different from traveling as a private person?
I never really do one without the other. In general photography for me is not a social thing. I shot some portrait series but my main work does not include people. When I‘m just doing holidays on the other hand I‘m quite a socializer and enjoy being around people.
What are three things you can‘t travel without?
A camera, good perfume and comfortable shoes.
How do you travel with your camera gear? Is it possible to travel light as a photographer?
When I go on trips with a plane I always take all of my gear. So there‘s no way for me to make it light. Once I‘m there it‘s different since I usually shoot series of the same angle the equipment that I need at a time is mostly the same. That means I don‘t have all of my gear with me in daily life. For my „Fill‘er Up!“ series for example I used my Canon 5DS and a 16-35mm lens mostly throughout the whole series. Lately I did a lot of landscape stuff because I‘m on the road with my motorbikes a lot. Most of the time I‘m riding through the Austrian, Italian, Swiss or Bavarian Alps. When that‘s the case I have a Canon mirrorless system with a lens lineup that covers most situations. It‘s light weight and great picture quality.
What‘s your craziest travel story?
Well, I never really experienced something really crazy but my favorite story happened in Sneedville, Tennessee. I was taking photos of a gas station when a car with a flat tire rumpled around the corner. I didn‘t have a mobile phone with me so I couldn‘t help the guy out by calling somebody. His name was Kenny and he looked like a typical southern guy. He drove 60‘s Ford F150. We took the flat tire off and I drove him to the garage where we met some of his buddies. On the way there we had an ice cold Dr. Pepper that I had in my Ice Box and listened to „Freebird“ by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Once we got there we had a beer, one of the guys fixed the tire and they let me take some shots of them for my series „People of the South“. In the end, the boss of the garage „Sword‘s Used Cars“ gave me his card and said: If you‘re gettin‘ in trouble `round here you let me know, boy“.
Thank you so much for talking to us today! We wish you very pleasant travels in the future, both as a designer and as an artist!