Volker Hinz

BY Elisabeth Biondi, January 2, 2016

Photographs are Volker Hinz’s obsession – taking them, looking at them, and collecting them. It began when he was a photographer for Sven Simon, a German news agency; it continued when he was a staff photographer for Stern, the German weekly newsmagazine; and he remains, today, like a suitor in hot pursuit of his love.

Watching him in action is like observing a dancer immersed in his performance. Honed by years of picture taking, his reactions are intuitive as well as informed. He admired the great photographer Lisette Model and hoped for the opportunity to take her portrait. He finally succeeded shortly before her death. Proud and fierce, Model demanded not to be photographed with her cane in her hand, but for Hinz, it was an essential part of who she was at the end of her life. Her cane had fallen over; he picked it up and carefully propped it against the wall behind her, to be included in his portrait. As always, his quick reactions and ability to stick with his subject made this photograph a success.

Hinz never made much of a distinction between pictures he would take on assignment and pictures he took for his own pleasure. Never without a camera, he was equally enthusiastic about a photo-story he was pursing for Stern and an alluring image he might come across as he was walking back to his hotel room after the shoot.

Years ago, he decided to take portraits of as many of the great photographers of his time as he could manage to meet. Luckily for those of us who love photographs and are curious about photographers, his work and travels gave him plenty of opportunity to take portraits of some of the greats. Volker’s sense of humor and the affection of his peers make these portraits both pleasurable and revealing. The photographer’s portraits make up a small part of a collection of his work now assembled in a large volume, published by Edition Lammerhuber, that focuses exclusively on images that are about photography. Its title, Volker Hinz—In Love with Photography, could not be better.