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In addition to being one of the most successful jazz trumpet players around, Till Brönner also has a special relationship to the visual. Since getting his first Leica and discovering a love for photography, Brönner finds himself behind the camera as often as in front of it. His preference has been taking portrait shots of national and international celebrities; at the same time, the musician is often travelling, so his more recent pictures have turned increasingly to street photography. We spoke to him about the change to colour, favourite pictures and having your own style.

Classic portrait shots and very emotional street photography – how did it comes to this broad range?

With all my travelling, street photography is to be expected. My pictures show exactly the things I see when I'm on tour as a musician. The next thing will probably be a series on hotels! [Laughter]

Is the opening of an exhibition similar to a stage performance?

I don't think so. In both cases, however, preparation is key. Once pictures have been framed and hung you have no more influence. As a jazz musician things really get going once you get up on stage. So, I have both in my life – spontaneity before and during a gig. Making music during a vernissage is out of the question as far as I'm concerned: I draw a strict line between the two.

When do you choose colour and when do you choose black and white?

For a long time I was undecided as far as colour was concerned. First of all, because I just love black and white, because time doesn't play a role and the content all the more so. Then there's the problem of neon yellow wind jackets and pink fleece jumpers popping up in pictures all the time, when they're not welcome. Last but not least, it took a while before I knew how to work with colour in the way that my eyes see colour – warm and pleasant, but without being less bright.

Do you have a picture you're particularly fond of?

Yes I do. Funnily enough, it's often the early pictures that a photographer will speak of as important. No doubt, it has something to do with the enthusiasm and curiosity that makes up the DNA of an early photograph, and is immediately present once again for the viewer. My favourite picture is a portrait of the South African trumpet player, Hugh Masekela, which I still clearly remember taking.

The Faces & Places exhibition can be seen at the Jenny Falckenberg gallery in Hamburg as of April 1. With the same title, Brönner's work will also be on display at the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar as of April 22.
New York © Till Brönner
Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre © Till Brönner
Markus Lüppertz © Till Brönner
Tokyo © Till Brönner
Tokyo © Till Brönner
Udo Lindenberg © Till Brönner
Lenny Kravitz © Till Brönner
Hugh Masekela © Till Brönner
Hannelore Elsner © Till Brönner
New York © Till Brönner

Till Brönner

Born in Viersen in 1971. After a classic education he studied jazz trumpet at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. At an audition after just three semesters he was able to convince the head of the RIAS Big Band Berlin to hire him. In addition to his international, solo career, Brönner teaches at the college in Dresden. He lives in Berlin and Los Angeles.

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