In collaboration with his soul mate Hendrik Schneider, the lens of Till Janz has caught everyone from filmmaker Spike Jonze to soprano Anna Netrebko. A striking use of light and shadows is what draws our attention at first, but in fact, the power of the images relies on the personal approach to every character they portray. The German artist who recently turned 32 seems to find inspiration everywhere: Roman statues? Checked. Golden color? Checked. The secret probably relies on knowing how to take photography to the next cutting-edge level; but one thing is for sure: having fun is also mandatory. Keep your eyes open!
As a kid I always watched The Simpsons, even though I think the biggest influence on my visual aesthetic was my dad and his work as a designer.
That's about it. Except the fact I never wanted to become just a photographer and it took me years to fall in love with London. I have been living in a small town in Germany for almost all my life and, compared to my hometown, London felt so fast and exciting but so scary at the same time. The first day at Camberwell College of the Arts I met Hendrik and we became best friends. Instead of leaving London, we managed to stay for six years and work together as a team ever since. London became our home sweet home.
Defining one’s aesthetic has never come to an end, it is a constant progress. We don't have a formula or a master pattern; it's different with every new day. But let’s be honest, how boring is consistency?
I don't have a clue. I was never a very fashionable person, but that's probably why I can bring a new perspective into a completely different field. Fashion is a great environment to experiment in and a platform to meet very interesting people and collaborate with them. For the fashion people I am still the guy wearing a silly Jurassic Park cap.
Taking portraits is very natural if you are interested in someone instead of being afraid of them. I think if there’s any major strength I developed in my childhood, it’s to connect with people and make them feel relaxed. Being submissive or too respectful is awkward for everyone. It’s nice to talk, work and love on the same eye level with people.
My pictures will always be a piece of myself and I don’t think there is just one reality.
Absolutely, our ancient predecessors where masters in terms of lightning, color and composition.
Because we’ve been working together for such a long time, it’s a mixture of trust and security, but also competition and pushing each other out of the comfort zone. We have different skills, but a very similar vision on how we want to live and what we want to create. It is very rare to find someone to work with throughout such a long period of time.
The next big thing is the release of Janz & Beetz sunglasses in autumn 2014, a small label of manufactured sunglasses we have been working on for almost two years now. It's a good addition to our work as photographers. It helps us to stay focused and bewildered at the same time.
Everything is heading in a good direction. We want to continue to collaborate with people who love what they do and get better at what we do. Hendrik is a huge fan of Jack Nicholson and I've always wanted to meet Woody Allen, but the one from 30 years ago. I really like his sad and ironic humor.