5 Questions with Rolf Sachs

German-born artist, Rolf Sachs captures the passing formation of landscapes, and the transient nature of photographic images — often reducing complex scenes to simple lines and smears of colour. Elephant met Sachs ahead of Camera in Motion, his solo exhibition at Leica Gallery, Salzburg.

When did you first pick up a camera, and were you instantly hooked?

I was always surrounded by art when I was younger. I had my first proper camera when I was 14. It was a Fuji and operated manually, which helped me to learn the intricacies of photography. I have been pretty much hooked since! Over the course of my artistic career, I have engaged in various photographic projects. My early enthusiasm of photography and its possibilities has never left me. I approach every project with an unbiased and experimental eye.

When and why did speed become a subject for you?

I awoke early one morning and this idea popped into my head. It must have been slumbering there for some time, but suddenly it became very clear to me: taking pictures at a high velocity with slow exposure might bring an interesting effect. A train was the perfect solution and so I began my new and exciting project. The images went beyond what I expected. I was really surprised by the result!

What can we expect to see in Camera in Motion?

Camera in Motion shows images of the landscape along the Rhaetian Railway line from Chur in Switzerland, to Tirano in Italy. In 2008, the Albula/Bernina area was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The images I took capture a fleeting moment in time, portraying the striking landscape through the changing of the seasons. I worked on this project over the course of one year. While the foreground of the photographs is blurry, the background remains in focus, giving the photographs a painterly quality.

Do you prefer fast or slow living?

Given the choice, I would have to say fast and faster living!

Where in the world are you happiest?

I am happiest in my family’s mountain lodge in the Bavarian Alps. This mesmerizing place inspired me to my first photographic project The Wild Emperor. Through 2004, I set my camera to capture the amazing panorama every 10 and half minutes. Each resulting photograph is different to the one before and shows the wonders of the Alpine region and the beauty of nature, which make me feel so at home.

Camera in Motion opens at LEICA Gallery, Salzburg on 14 August and runs until October 17.

Rolf Sachs, Camera in Motion, 2012.12.01, 12.39.22
Rolf Sachs, Camera in Motion, 2013.03.19, 10.37.16
Rolf Sachs, Camera in Motion, 2013.11.16, 19.56.45
Rolf Sachs, Camera in Motion, 2013.03.18, 13.21.06
Rolf Sachs, Camera in Motion, 2013.05.01, 14.15.08