They are the heroes of the bar and the Berlin photographer's new project: Berlin barkeepers ensure a mixture of care and entertainment for the well-being of their patrons. Florian Kolmer met Leo at the Wiener Blut pub in Kreuzberg.
“For my Berlin Keeper project I headed exclusively to original places: bars with tradition and faithful patrons, also referred to as institutions. The WIENER BLUT is a very good example: it looks back over a history that began at the time when the Wall fell. Leo stands behind the bar counter; she works here to counterbalance her office job. Being a barkeeper is her passion. As with all the other portraits in the series, I came alone to the photo shoot, equipped with just the SL2-S. It was important to me to create a personal and intimate situation, in particular because many of those portrayed had no experience of standing in front of the camera. For Leo it was the first photo shoot of this kind, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. I used the Leica System Flash SF40 for the picture and, because of the lacquered wall and the reflective artificial leather sofa, it really produced a strong effect. I appreciate the flexibility of the handling of the clip-on flash, but I also like it as a stylistic means. In TTL mode, you don’t have to worry about either the exposure or the light settings, so that you can focus 100 percent on the person and the motif in front of you. I consider these the best conditions for producing an expressive portrait.”
EQUIPMENT: Leica SL2-S with Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70 f/2.8 Asph and Leica System Flash SF40
Find more of Kolmer’s portraits in the LFI Magazine 7.2023. Also featured in the issue: William Daniels’ reportage on the individual and societal effects of statelessness, and an overview of the remarkable life’s work of Leica photographer David Hurn. Follow Devin Yalkin into the world of New York’s illegal boxing clubs, and immerse yourself in Alisa Martynova’s dreamlike portfolio. More
The photographer began his career in 1995 as an assistant to Kai-Uwe Gundlach in Hamburg. In London he focussed on fashion and portrait photography, before returning to his home city of Berlin in 2003. Since then, his work has appeared in international publications, including ZEITmagazin, SZ Magazin, Stern and Vanity Fair. He has portrayed numerous celebrities, such as Debbie Harry, Pharell Williams and Cro. In 2016 his work appeared in a solo exhibition in Berlin titled Florian Kolmer Portraits. More