Fictional Truths

Ivo von Renner

October 24, 2023

In his latest series for the Stuttgart Theatre, the Hamburg photographer reveals an impressive merging of techniques, aesthetics and fictitious narratives.
With twelve different scenarios, he presents the performances for the 2023/24 season. The series is accompanied by a second stage series titled Little Stages. This collage presentation includes scenes in which people run unclothed through fantastical settings.

LFI: Mr. von Renner, you have chosen somewhat unconventional motifs for your exhibition. What was the idea behind it initially, and how did you make it happen?
Ivo von Renner:
The assignment from the Stuttgart State Theatre was unexpected. I was once very famous for big scenarios and received many awards. I thought that advertising had long been a thing of the past for photographers. After being asked, last February, if I was interested, along came 12 productions with 44 actors. Being a Leica photographer, on my 5th day of working, I simply went to the gallery in Stuttgart and said, “Good morning, I’ve got something here.” That was the beginning; and considering that my Little Stages series is based solely on the performance of Leica lenses, and is also just 3 years old, we were soon at 25 Leica motifs. That’s enough for an exhibition.

Within the individual motifs, your protagonists always have a certain recognisability. What’s the idea behind that, and what roles do the protagonists play, in general, in your project?
It’s because of my photographic signature. For nearly 50 years now, I’ve had a very clear idea of how to stage people with a wide angle and, as far as unclothed people are concerned, a very clear selection process. My protagonists always tell a story. Even with frozen poses, they appear to be like random snapshots.

What role does light, as a creative means, play in this project?
Without light there is no picture; without light there is no drama. Light is not random. I always start with the space and the lighting; then the protagonists come into the motif.

You used the Leica SL2 for some of the motifs. What was it like working with this camera?
The SL2 is the jewel in the crown. The size, performance and menu are the best you could want. I’ve had some good cameras. Now I’m Leica. That’s how I’ll go on. As book illustrator and author Janosch says in one of his children's books: “Joy is beautiful for everyone.” Once you’ve worked with a Leica, you’re unlikely to put it down again.

From October 27, 2023 to January 13, 2024, a total of 40 photographs will be on display at the Leica Gallery Stuttgart. They are limited editions and available for purchase.
Tabea Hofmann
EQUIPMENT: Leica SL2, Super-Elmar-M 18 f/3.8 Asph

Ivo von Renner+-

Orig Portrait IVO 230610 L1050195 WF1
© Ivo von Renner

First studied book illustration and graphic design, and excelled in photography in his exams. Thanks to a photo spread for a winery on the Rhine, he caught the attention of the Die Zeit magazine. Stern soon joined the ranks, and photographic illustrations with staged scenes opened up the way to advertising. The next decades were defined by long campaigns, which he produced all over the world. With cars and people, he went on to work for advertising agencies in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain, the USA and China, making trips to a total of 29 countries. He also created his own work on each trip. More


Fictional Truths

Ivo von Renner