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Talks with experts and tips for the future: the yearly portfolio review at the Haus der Photographie in Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen took place in November. The winners of the Best Portfolio awards were announced on December 5. We talked with Eugen Steinbach who, together with Juliane Herrmann, came in third.

What were you expecting from the portfolio review?

I wanted to present my work – with such a large number of eminent reviewers I was, of course, excited to see what feedback I would get. I wanted to meet people, make new contacts. And, of course, I also wanted to experience Hamburg again. Looking back I can say that all my expectations were fulfilled. That’s a nice feeling.

Which of your pictures did you present – and which did you not show?

I presented a selection of the prints from my Maidan exhibition at my college this summer. In the winter/spring of 2014 I spent time at the Maidan in Kiev, Ukraine.
What I didn't show? Feels like tonnes of projects and ideas. Long-term projects, things that are still in development. I also showed a digital preview, a small cross section. I feel that criticism is important even during the creative process.

What was the silliest bit of advice you ever heard?

I don’t think any bits of advice are really silly. They’re all good and I pay attention to them. But I can remember some suggestions I really hated: reduce, Eugen, reduce! Boy did I find that difficult!
For weeks I’d spent every day at the Maidan, frozen through with the constant smell of burning tires in my nose. I risked life and limb. I photographed bodies burnt beyond recognition. And then I was told to reduce! And the full impact of my concept was built around having a certain number of pictures. You are also under pressure, or you feel a responsibility because of everything that's going on there, to reveal the whole iceberg. I had to learn to deal with it, to find the right form for it. I had to develop the concept for my exhibition and tighten up my capacity to take decisions.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to manage to get everything under one umbrella: to grow without the need for my studies, my projects, my time management and my hobbies declaring war with each other.
I want to spend this summer in Lugansk, to focus on the consequences of the war. I’m considering spending next semester in St. Petersburg, to get my BA in a year. There are still so many things to try out. My path is surely already laid out, but where exactly my journey is taking me I don’t know. And I don’t want to plan it so precisely either. At the moment I’m trying to master the small steps: to get ahead with my book; to create a website; to consider a domain name for the website, because there’s already a designer on the web with the same name. I need to find someone with expertise for that. Quite trivial things like that. Maybe some interesting contacts will result from this article. With that I mind, please email me at: ombrage@gmx.net
Eugen Steinbach: Maidan
Eugen Steinbach: Maidan
Eugen Steinbach: Maidan
Eugen Steinbach: Maidan
Eugen Steinbach: Maidan
Juliane Herrmann: The Hague

Eugen Steinbach

Born in Barnaul, Russia, in 1984, Steinbach has been living in Germany since 1997, and studying communications design at the Fachhochschule Würzburg’s Faculty of Design since 2011. His reportage on Kiev earned him third place at the Best Portfolio Awards.
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