Hey Wicked Hunters,
This week we chat with Felix about his journey to get started in photography. How he was able to find inspiration from landscape photography and his big dream to pursue his passion for photography.
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Felix Gerz 0:00
After landscape photography, I feel inspired. You know, like, I feel absolutely I feel thrilled. I feel like recharge being out there in nature is what I’d want to do anyways
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 0:16
so again, this welcome back to the weekend photography podcast where we share our passion as a photographer, and how photography gives us hope, purpose, and happiness. Now, welcome back. And today we have Felix from Germany, who’s currently in Canada, and he’s a landscape photographer who work with brands all over the world. So hey, Felix, how you doing? Very good,
Felix Gerz 0:41
man. How you doing?
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 0:42
Doing well, doing well? Glad to see you again. It’s been a while. Totally. Yeah. So what you’ve been up to what you’ve been up to lately?
Felix Gerz 0:53
Oh, man, I’ve been living in a beautiful town of Revelstoke enjoying the small mountain community town and getting a lot of just scattering recently. Yeah, that’s basically most of my life right now.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:04
Man, every time I see your photo, you really make me jealous. It’s, it’s, yeah, I mean, it’s so beautiful. And I Yeah, wish I have more time to do a little bit more of that this year. But yeah, I got a little bit. My priorities shifted a little bit this year. So um, you are from Germany. And you came here, I guess. Give us a little bit of story, a little bit of background story about who you are, and why you choose photography.
Felix Gerz 1:38
Totally, totally. So originally, I was born and raised in Germany, other two for 18 years. But I quickly realised that Germany is not the place for me, like I quickly realised the German culture, the Western culture is not 100% where I feel at home, I feel a lot of pressure growing up. And I felt like I was pushed into like a little drawer. And yeah, I had to kind of follow up everyone else’s pathway in life, I guess, like to start really deep here. Which is like, yeah, studying, and then get a job, get an apartment, get the car and blah, blah, blah, you kind of kind of know what I mean, I guess. And this totally did not suit my personality. So that’s why as soon as I could when I was 18, I booked a flight. And when we fly back then it was to New Zealand and I, yeah, I was living there for a while. I just tried to rediscover who I am, who I was. And yes, it’s now been three and a half years since I’ve since I left Germany. And I ended up in Canada. To your question, why photography? That’s a very big question. I guess it all started actually, when I was really I think I was 13 years old. And we had to do this like really random biology observation project. We just had to photograph trees and the change of seasons in it. And yeah, back then I picked up my good old 450 D of my like, my dad’s camera. Good old Canon old DSLR. And yeah, it ended up it started off with me photographing trees for the biology project, but it ended up with me being in the forest for Thai days, just shooting deer mushrooms and stuff. And then from then on, it just developed you know, I got to know how a camera works. I went out of the auto mode. And yeah, I got my own camera when I was 15 then and good old T three I who didn’t have that in the back then. Yeah, and then just grew from there, man. Yeah, and I shot lots of weddings when I grew up grew up, when I grew up, and they kind of tried to find my style more and more and specialise in specific niches. And then at some point, when I left Germany, I combined it with my travelling so wherever I travelled, I tried to reestablish the business and work with tourism brands. And yeah, as you said, already, the landscape photography niche. Cool.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 3:59
Awesome. You just mentioned that you shot weddings as well. That’s, that’s a bit usually, I mean, you know, from most of landscape photographers, and as well as myself. Usually we don’t shoot weddings because and we should we choose like landscape. It’s like the two very extreme side of it, right? One of them is like with so many people are in pressure and one of them is like, do a one and it’s no one there’s like, chill. So like, how does that feel like, you know, merging between the two like going from one to another?
Felix Gerz 4:33
That is a very good question, actually. Because there is tension between landscape and commercial photographers and wedding photographers, for sure. And I had a lot about discussion it was about that. But I think it’s actually not it’s actually really, really interesting to cop combined those two together. Let’s say to get the scenic landscape photography way you look at the weather, you look at the sun, you look at landscapes, and just combine it with weddings, for example, getting in stead of having having different nature foregrounds having the couple as a foreground in the scenery. And I think that’s absolutely amazing, especially if you have people that are totally in for that and happy to wake up at 4am Just to hike a freaking mountain in their wedding dress, you know. And I think that is really cool. And I love combining those things. But yeah, you are right, like landscape photography is a very well your day in nature, you’re soaking it all in their silence, usually. And wedding photography is stressful wedding photography, especially on the wedding day has to do with lots of responsibility. Lots of people, you have to communicate with everyone. And yeah, but I have a passion for both. And I like to combine it and I think that’s a really cool niche as well. Yeah, that’s,
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 5:45
that’s really cool to hear. I mean, I never, I always say I don’t want to do it. But I guess I shouldn’t give it a try. Because I never know, um, I actually like it. But let’s, let’s not go into that. With landscape because, yeah, anyway, so I guess like with with the thing that with wedding photography, the thing that really stressed me is always the pressure. And it’s okay, I feel like if you find like someone who actually enjoy, who actually let you be the creative side, and actually along with your creativity, but some people are very, you know, they’re really close minded so that they want a certain type of shot. So if you miss that certain type of shot, they become unhappy. And that’s, that’s what I guess that’s what I really scared about. Have you come across that sort of people?
Felix Gerz 6:37
I say generally speaking, the couples I shoot are very young. And they stayed they they hire me because they like, what they identify with the style with that with my shooting style. So right, right off the bat, there’s a lot of trust, usually where they’re saying, okay, you know, what, we know your work, we trust you in there, you know, better than we do. And that’s ideal. That’s what we want to hear as photographers, right? Like people are having trust, and we can totally unfold our creativity. But yeah, and sometimes there, there are people that are saying, okay, hey, you know what, I had one person that sent me like, an entire Pinterest list of photos where they’re like, Okay, I want this, I want this, and I want this, and it’s totally fine. I mean, it’s a once in a lifetime day, hopefully, if everything goes right. And that’s totally fair. And I like to respect that and take Yeah, and make these put these expectations into reality as well. And that’s totally fine. And then there are just a couple of situations where you, yeah, we were, you’re just really focused on that one shot, but then I try to always guide people into a non stage uncurbed, unperfect. Atmosphere, what can they can repeat themselves. And I think that’s what is really special about wedding photography, because you are a stranger for them. I as someone who travels all around the world who’s not even speaking their language as my first language, you know, and I have just a very, very minimal of time to gain that confidence and to make them really comfort comfortable, that I can capture raw and emotion, raw emotions and unstaged photos. And I think building that bridge between Okay, I have no idea who you are, and you have no idea who no idea who I am. And hair, you totally trust me and everything I do. And you can totally be yourself in a very, very short amount of time. I think that is a really, really cool aspect in wedding photography. That is not happening in any other type of photography.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 8:30
Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. It’s definitely really difficult. One of the most difficult thing is to gain, you know, like, I mean, you kind of see that on a little bit on portrait as well as like fashion, but you don’t have that much of you know, different like, John, because, you know, with the wedding, you go from nothing to like, everything, right? So, I actually like came across these clients when I was doing portrait wear. And it was like a nightmare, because she’s like, oh, yeah, yeah, it’s good, it’s good. You do whatever you want and took a bunch of photos, send it to her and it’s like, it’s just not professional quality, like, it’s just not worth my money. And I was just like, Okay. And yeah, it’s just like, I don’t know, like, I mean, I felt like he was just wanting her money back. But you know, just have to move on sometimes and cut your losses. But I guess what, I know that you identify yourself as a landscape and commercial photographer and reason why I want to ask you a lot of this wedding question is I want to bring a contrast and then I want to see how you feel about this in comparison to landscape. So now, now that we’ve talked about that, let’s talk about the landscape and how are they contrast with each other like what what are the different feelings that you get or the different shifts or feelings that you get from from wedding that is, you know, Depending on people opinion and very, a lot of pressure to landscape where it’s like, man, like go for your life, do what you want, you know, the nature will never pay anything back.
Felix Gerz 10:12
Totally, I think, I think the biggest difference between it and I think that’s a question is that wedding photography drains me. And nature photography. If you consider the shooting part on set in nature and the type of photography I do that this really fills me up, if that makes sense recharges me. Because I’m an introvert. I’m when I’m around people. Yeah, I’m definitely getting drained and when I’m on my own or in nature and recharging, so I feel like, Yeah, I know, wedding day after wedding day, I’m actually pooped. I’m like, I’m just going to stretch a bed. I’m backing up the footage. I’m done for the day, after landscape photography, African inspired, you know, like, I feel absolutely, I feel thrilled. I feel like recharge being out there in nature is what I’d want to do anyways, and with my free time, you know, ski touring best example for that you just out there. So only you, your buddy. And then like just just nature everywhere, you know, and you’re in the middle of nowhere. So ideally didn’t know people around. So it’s yeah, as you said, it’s the biggest contrast that you can get.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 11:16
Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s actually true. I’ve never actually think of it that way. But it’s very true. You know, when I was working in Lake Louise as a portrait photographer, it was very, it was very draining. Like, it’s kind of nice to be able to, like, you know, like, talk to people and socialise a little bit in your photo shoot, but after a while, it just really get drained. You’re right, like, I’m not exactly sure why there. But yeah, wow, very interesting. And so, you mentioned that you work with brands as well and do a lot of commercial and how is that fit in with everything else?
Felix Gerz 11:55
Yeah, so it’s basically product because of my lifestyle, right? Like, wherever I go, right now. I see myself as an outdoorsy person. So wherever I travel is usually it’s usually mountains, it’s usually an outdoor outdoorsy area. And there’s always tourism wherever I go. And I saw myself finding potential in the tourism area, because that’s just where it was anyways. So that’s right off the bat, how does that fit in everything else? Well, how did it work? I approached a lot of brands, I have different pitch boards where I can be like, okay, hey, look, I’ve been doing that for a couple of years straight. Now. I have the references. This is this is what I do. This is my style. And then I basically prove, yeah, I approached brands basically on the spot, and sometimes in advance, but usually it’s really spontaneous as well. Yeah. And that’s been working pretty well, actually. And you know, it’s with everything you gain experience. In the beginning of it all, if I saw the email sent out in the beginning of like, four years ago or something, I would probably get my favourite headshot, if I saw that again, you know, but the more you do it, the more you get a feel for the industry, the more you chat with people that are like that, I might like mine, or the similar similar niche, the more you narrow down your portfolio to certain niches, or the more you just know how to how exactly, you can approach brands or tourism boards accurately. And it’s just a development process with everything, you know. Yeah. So to answer your question really quickly, I think it’s just how it just fit my lifestyle. And it just fit what I feel like I’m talented in. And that’s why I saw potential and then that’s why I kept following it.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 13:42
Cool. Yeah. Like Commercial is very interesting, because it’s coming. I guess, depending on the type of people that you work with, or the company that you work with commercial can really aligned with either the crazy side of things of wedding and also could align with the landscape side of things of, sorry, the chill side of things off landscape, isn’t it?
Felix Gerz 14:06
Totally. It’s very versatile. That’s what I love about it as well. Yeah.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 14:10
Yeah. So you get a lot of like, different changes is very dynamic. Not boring. Is that Is that what you’re saying?
Felix Gerz 14:16
Yeah, totally, totally. Like, you know, and I love the entire process of it. Like I obviously like, love going up with with with people that are on the team and just shoot the actual content, but I also like to go back and see okay, this is the situation right now. For example, now we have the pandemic and everyone is kind of itching to get out there’s a new consciousness for like, the outdoors everywhere. And I feel like that is so has so much potential for story and you know, going from okay, what’s the situation right now, when a pandemic, we want to promote this outdoor brand, how can we put things together? And yeah, create a great campaign or product that reflects that I think that process in advance is also really really cool. Um, Um, yeah. So it is versatile. Yeah, it is not really just heading out there, like 1010 years ago, like, putting your tripod down putting your gradient filter down and just shooting one photo. That’s it, and then you try to promote it. No, it’s more it’s the entire process that every like.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 15:15
Awesome. So you you came to Canada about a year ago? Give or take? Yeah. 50 month Yeah. 18 months. Yeah. So you say that you share with us a little bit story of how you your story in in back at home when you were doing your project and then you as soon as you kind of finished with that you took off to New Zealand and now you’re here in Canada. So tell us a little bit story about that about your adventure and how photography cannot have fit in and, you know, help you document a lot of those adventures within your travel.
Felix Gerz 15:58
Very good question. Photography was before was there before I travelled. So it was always with me when I travelled. And yeah, I picked up on the reason why I left Germany because of the let’s call it social pressure, let’s call it, let’s call it that I just didn’t know what’s out there. I just knew what I was used to. And I saw on Instagram on the page on YouTube and stuff, all these people being outdoors, and I was never really in the mountain. So I was like, I think I’m missing out. So that was one reason why I was like, Alright, I need to get out of here. And, yeah, then I went to New Zealand. And you know, I had a couple of Buck like dreams on my bucket list. I want to live in a car. I wanted to climb five peaks in the South Island, I wanted to go back then it was like things like bungee jumping, you know, I had a lot of things in my on my bucket list. I was like, Okay, I was never able to do it, I really want to do it. And then I planned backpacking trips around it, I was living in a surf town and how to surf and things like that. And the role that photography played in that was definitely just that I was able, and that was actually a major reason why I was able to grow in my ability as well, just because I took the camera along, wherever I was, and try to document how I felt and how what Yeah, on like, document the adventure itself, right, and the people that were involved. So what that meant was, for example, I I had it yeah, let me let me tell you very quickly about like something really, we really, you know, like I, I was back then I was only a backpacker, you know, I was only having a couple of bucks and spent that all on a car. And then at some point, the car broke down. I didn’t have any money anymore. I wanted to have a job, I really tried to get it. And in the beginning, I was obviously trying to work with tourism, tourism brands, that wasn’t a very, very beginning in New Zealand now. And in the beginning, it didn’t, it didn’t work. I was just not experienced enough. I didn’t have the portfolio yet. And I was just really last so I didn’t work. I tried to work in a for retail shops after that, and like stores and stuff. You know, I kind of went down all the time because things didn’t work out. And it ended up me going through malls and through anything and just actually at some point just getting a job. It didn’t really matter anymore because I was just broke. And yeah, and at some point, you know, I even got sick. My harddrive broke. That was like I still had the head of backup. But that was back in Germany. So I got really nervous here. It’s like the nightmare of every photographer if like, your main hard drive is not working anymore. So I was crushed, you know, and it was like, oh, what should I do? And then you know, at some point I got a job as a farmer like what I was never I can’t believe I’m telling you this right now but like you know, it’s like something never considered I never really enjoyed. And then after that it was a horrible time I worked 16 hour days and I got treated like yeah, not like a nice person. It was not a really friendly environment. After that I worked with as a dishwasher you know it like it was jobs that were totally not relating to what I’m doing right now. But it was just the situation that travel situation that put me into the circumstances that I did things like that, but I’m telling you, you know, after that things shifted and what did I do and during these times I took my camera along I documented you know was a format my GoPro my head and and filmed like how I chased chased the cars into the colour chips the things that would hold that I brushed the crap out of the shed you know like things like that and then afterwards like right now I’m in a position okay, it’s been a long time but have all this footage and back then I was already taking these stories that were already like always like it was not these dream stories of like, oh yeah, I travel I have the best time but it will also stories that way I was really like sad and really like drained you know and I took these stories and publish them. And beginning was only my channels you know on social media and stuff and it really like changed people and then I use my camera gadget to I visualise what I was feeling and to redraw people in my circumstances. And I think that’s where really like my, my passion for storytelling began, you know, was really just telling my story. And just making sure that there’s more reality on Instagram as well. Like, that’s a really big topic for me that, you know, like, we just share 1% That’s not really real, or real life, and people just assume it is. And I’m having a huge problem with that. So I really want to be more way more transparent, and that I want to be more real, because that’s not what life is. And I think the camera just helps me to tell to, to, to build that bridge, you know, to, to really tell that story of it and just make sure,
yeah, there’s more reality online. And yeah, from then on. In New Zealand, I learned so much like tele told the stories, and it just continued after. After that, when I went through Asia, I was in Nepal tracking. And that’s why that was the second time I was working with tourism brands, you know. And back then it was a clothing company in New Zealand. And they send us up there in the Himalayas. That was really cool. And from then on, we went to Java and Indonesia, and had a great time there with the tourism board there. And, you know, I think the time in New Zealand wasn’t amazing. And stuff was really leading up to that I learned so many things, I learned to appreciate these things and like really, how to really work hard so that the things I experienced in New Zealand, were not happening anymore. And the camera along the way, it was always a tool for me to bring to bring out to process it for myself, but also to prove to include other people and tell my story along the way. And yeah, that went over to dinner afterwards. I went to Norway, same thing worked with tourism, Norway out there. And then yeah, back in, I was in Portugal, same thing. And now I’m in Canada, and Canada has been a little different. But um, that’s been that’s been the last three years in a very, very, very short amount of time.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 21:55
Yeah, it’s crazy, isn’t it? I met It’s so crazy, because we have really sort of a similar story. In terms of like timing, like, I started all this journey about three years ago as well. So and, I mean, I started travelling way before I started photography, probably not long before that, probably about a year before that, where I took it really seriously. But yeah, I started to travel full time. And I left my nine to five about three years ago. So it was so crazy to hear all this story. And it’s, it’s exactly the same thing. Like I had the same feeling when I right after I left that lifestyle, I feel like I finally live again, like I finally, like, living like you know, the life that I want. And honestly, like when I think back the past three years is more memorable than the past 30 years of my life. So it’s been crazy to kind of see that it’s insane. And that’s one hour later, I love travelling, isn’t it? Like you just get to see. I mean, if you didn’t travel, you probably wouldn’t be able to, you know, develop your skill that quickly because you wouldn’t be able to see and face all that different challenges and adversity, isn’t it?
Felix Gerz 23:15
And I think if I didn’t travel, I would be a bank or broker right now in in Germany, that would be it would have been the worst thing that could have happened. So I’m pretty happy that. Yeah, you know, and the, you know, encounters like, like the one we had together, you know, that just really encourage you because you know that people are in the same boat, you know, and that are that you’re not alone with what you what you how you feel. And maybe I can just throw in a little story of a person I met on a on a grid walk in New Zealand. I was Thomas, he was 40 years old. And he’s been working for 20 years and a job back in, in Eastern Europe. And I met him on the trail. And he told me his story. And it was really inspiring, because it hasn’t had a big impact on my life. Because he said, Yeah, he worked 20 years for a development company. You know, he had what people in our culture just promise us, which is reputation, money, fame, let’s even put girls in there or whatever, you know, like, the car, and he had something he just broke down. He almost had a car accident, he just crashed down and he was like, hey, I need to change something like that’s not what I want to do, you know, and hit this revealing moment where he just had to sell everything, go to New Zealand, and he was a cherry picker. And it was the happiest person he has ever been. You know, and it’s like, I can totally relate. You know, it’s not about the things you have for the job you do. It’s like following your passion heart in that case, you know, and that’s just what you felt when I assume when you started three years ago, and you just went out and you felt so like, you know, and I think that’s just so inspiring. But I said, I don’t want to be 35 or 40 to realise that so like I wanted to just start a little earlier. Yeah, but yeah, encounters like that man just really inspired me.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 25:00
Yeah, you’re you’re really lucky to have kind of realise this very early on. I definitely, you know, if, if I were to go back, the one thing that I would change is that like, you know, I mean, I didn’t really regret anything that I’ve gone through because, you know, I’m in a position now where I, I a little bit more secured. And you know, people like you because I have, you know, the university and stuff like that, which actually, I think is a bad thing, because it can discourage me, sometimes I always go, you know, if things go wrong, I always have this, it’s really bad thing. And I only, it’s only just last year where I actually give up that option. I was like, I would never go back to that lifestyle period. You know, and before, I used to always say that, but never really kind of mean it always at the back of my mind. It’s like that.
Felix Gerz 25:54
It’s really interesting. That can I can interrupt you for a second. I had a lot of I had a lot of I had a lot of conversations about there were lots of filmmakers, you know, because let’s be honest, especially during COVID times, like things are uncertain. And we as creative sometimes. Well, yeah, we things are not, let’s be honest, like 2020 As a creative, opportune job opportunity year wasn’t like incredible for us. I had the best year but like, not out of this perspective. So having a backup, like you did, is something that would really reassure me a little bit, just give gives me a good feeling in my stomach. I think like, that’s what I would expect from it, you know, because, oh, if everything fails, if I can reestablish my business, your things just go down, I still have this as a backup Do you feel that gives you any insurance?
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 26:39
So I do, and I don’t, I. But a couple of months ago, actually, my old boss contacted me because he thought I was back in person offered me a job and a promotion from where I was. But I thought about it, and I turned it down straightaway. And here’s, here’s the good and the bad thing. The good thing is that people say always say that you always have a backup. And for my case, it’s a really, really comfortable backup, right? An engineer, like I could literally work anywhere as an engineer, really comfortable backup. And I’ve also worked like in business improvement and business side of things. I’ve been supervisor as well. So I have a wide array of skill that I could fall back to. Now, the bad thing about this is that sometimes when you don’t, sometimes when you have something to fall back to you don’t go all in and for that reason, you know, you get lazy, you get complacent. And a good example is I guess when, like so, the reason why I left my job is that when I started photography, I feel like I enjoying it. And I mean, before even that, probably three years into the I know that I want to build a lapstone laptop style lifestyle. But it never happened because it’s too much comfort. Like, I don’t have the push to go there. You know, like, it’s like, oh, yeah, I could wait till tomorrow, you know, I don’t need this right now. It’s like, totally, there’s always something. And I the reason why I decided to leave my job was that, I know that I don’t want that lifestyle. I I’ve known for a while, but there’s just so much doubt in myself, I know that there is something better out there. And I know that if I stay with my nine to five of never, I’ll never gonna get there, it’s always gonna there’s always going to be an excuse. So actually cutting cutting your your safety net is the best thing to get there. And it is really scary. But the one thing that I always come back to is going back to what you’re saying with the working farm. When I was after my trip in Indonesia and Australia when I first came here, I worked back in a restaurant where I get $12.50 per hour. Going back from from engineering job is like, you know, really good hourly rate to like to another 50 And now Right?
Felix Gerz 29:29
Like, it’s, it’s even worse.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 29:32
By the end of the day, I got like 60 bucks. I was like yeah, like it’s, it’s, it’s more, I think it’s that that lesson just taught me that. You know, you always have a safety net, like you know, like in this especially for our our world like you know, like for Australia and Canadian and all that really developed country like worst case scenario, just kind of a quirk And the restaurants like, it’s like, I could literally live off that if I just worked my ass off there and built, you know, on the site. So, yeah, it’s a bad it’s a good and a bad thing actually. Yeah, quite interestingly. So. And also when you’re on like yourself you have more hunger you have you have more energy and you have you have less, less desire for comfort, because you haven’t experienced yet as much as,
Felix Gerz 30:26
as I do. I totally, totally. Yeah, it’s true. It’s true. We get we get spoiled, you know, especially in these Western countries, the worst, the worst thing that can happen, you know, it’s, it’s something even acceptable still. So yeah, I’m with you.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 30:41
It’s really interesting, though, like, I really thought, I mean, I was born in Indonesia, and I was raised up in, in that culture, where, I mean, my parents was actually really cool. They have been supported me. You know, even when I was most Asian parents would say it’s like, all you either have to do the three things, which is Doctor engineer, and yeah, and accountant type of thing, which I, and my parents actually had been really supportive and just like, do what you want to do. I, I had at one point, I wanted to do like, social studies and become a politician, which I realised how much I hate and so glad, didn’t take that wanted to do. I’m so surprised that, you know, for a Western culture, like Germany, it’s like that as well.
Felix Gerz 31:37
Totally, totally debt there is there’s a lot of pressure going on. Like, I mean, that’s just my opinion, I’m pretty sure that this is controversial. And I’m definitely someone who doesn’t really fit into the pattern. That’s what I am very, I feel provoked, provoked for like to that but um, I agree. Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure pressure for achieving things for building up a reputation. And there’s a lot of competition thinking, No, I think in Canada, especially where we live right now. It’s more like, okay, let’s work together. Let’s, you know, like, make your passion big, and it’s okay. Even if it sounds weird, and it’s the same in New Zealand. But I feel like in Germany, it’s like, okay, if it’s not, if it’s not, sort of an official way of doing things, if it’s not something that people did in the past, and it’s proven that it works. You are your weirdo, you’re a little bit different. And, yeah, no, I really feel this way. And I agree, I think that’s not where I fit in. And I’m pretty glad your parents are not like that. For you. I’m pretty awesome. Like, I think it’s pretty awesome that they support you the way you want to build your future, you know,
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 32:45
well, they had a lot of doubts, and they were really worried. But it goes That’s
Felix Gerz 32:48
definitely Yeah, I agree. Same of mine. But, you know, like, we are spoiled, like, I don’t know where abouts from Indonesia you from? It sounds like you’re not from a very poor background. But um, I’ve been in Java, for example, as I mentioned earlier, and it’s been that’s what that was a poorest country after a poll I’ve ever been to and you know, people there I met people that was actually the project I was most proud of, of my life, I documented a group of a self reminding worker working in a volcano in Java, this mountain in Mount Egypt. Exactly. And I think that was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever that changed my life the most because yeah, just really quickly to carry up to 110 kilos on their shoulders on a bamboo basket. Before they after they dismantled it with them next to like 120 degrees solemn sour crater, like inside a crater and then it just balance it out and just get it down to valley and, you know, 700 metres on bare feet. And, you know, they have no insurance, no nothing, and they have no choice. You know, they were, I talk to the guys and they have no choice because they’ve been doing it for generations, and they’re not having the money to leave the country. The policy is corrupt. And yeah, it’s really sad, but that’s just reality. They’re, you know, and yeah, telling that story and realising how, and come back to that what we said earlier, you know, how spoiled we are no restaurant cultures now. And, you know, even the worst case, let’s say the worst case would be that working for a restaurant or something like that would be like an absolute luxury case for them something, something they could never even dream of. So and things like that, when you realise them, they humble you down and they bring you back back to the ground, you know, and I think I would actually encourage everyone to have experiences like that where you just really reset your mind and just see okay, hey, the Terex jacket I want to buy tomorrow. It’s not like it’s absolutely a luxury item. You know, it’s something people don’t even think of down there and yeah, do you know an hour an hour worth of was obsessed salary like in our daily daily wage for us, it’s like a monthly wage for them. So it brings you back to the grind On for sure. And, you know, that’s you appreciate where we are.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 35:03
Well, that’s, that’s the interesting thing is like, when I grew up, I mean, like, we, I wouldn’t say we were poor, but we’re like, okay, and my parents are working really hard to stay afloat, right. And so when I got my engineering job, it was like, like a dream come true, I finally have the money to you know, spend or get what I wanted. And, and that’s why it was really hard to leave that behind. Because I was like, wow, I really want to go back to like, being broke. But, yeah, that’s, that’s, it’s been an interesting journey so far. So one of one thing that I really like, hearing from your story, or your, the way you put photography, you always say feeling like, you know how, like the emotion behind and I feel like not many people in photography world talking about that. They’re more fixated about how good they look, instead of the emotion that that photo really evoke. So I really love how how you bring that up. Tell us a little bit more about your, your take on how photography and emotion kind of interconnected and how it helps you to capture the photo that you’re capturing, right now?
Felix Gerz 36:32
Um, yeah, sure. I think nowadays, it’s really, it’s really easy to take a photo without putting any thought and emotion into it. I think you know, you like you live in Lake Louise, you see that every day, people just going through, like, at like, a certain amount of time. And just like take that one photo. I think that’s the most, like, emotional. So thing you can you can do and caught while you call yourself a creative, you know. And I think photos, especially now, when we have an overflow of photos in on Instagram, where you can edit it like it was, you know, it wasn’t possible for like 10 years or five years ago that I think it’s way more important that we have motion or photos or that we display or focus on that, because I think that’s at some point, making a lot of difference. And yeah, I think how do you how you do get a motion in your photo, it’s just if your photo tells a story if your photo reflects something you are dealing with, or the viewer deals with. And I think that is something you can deliver with. Yeah, you can do it in the photo itself through comprehensive composition through like, telling a story with different characters and different emotions or like different facial expressions and people. You can also do it in a caption way, just tell the the actual story in a text. That’s what I do a lot.
And, yeah, and best thing you can do is combining those two things, you know, so yeah, maybe an example of how I feel like I did accomplish that. Let’s go back. Let’s go back to the to the example in Java and stick to that for a second. Like, you know, I could have said like it was it’s a touristy area by now. Like it’s people go there all the time to check it out. And you see a blue flame phentermine. And then yeah, just to go into the crater. But um, I really hated it. I really hated the tour. Like, we didn’t book a tour or anything. So we just walked up on the place. And we said, okay, who’s local here? Our taxi driver was translating for us. It’s like, okay, hey, please. Could you ask one of these guys, you and disability living in this village, if he’s working in this in this in this volcano, and maybe he can, maybe he can give us he can just bring us up there. That’s all we said. We didn’t say okay, we want to have a tour. That’s what should be what should be included. We didn’t get there with a tour bus or anything. And we really wanted to have the raw and the real experience of the place and the people that live and act in it. And yeah, and it actually happened. So I’ll check with you, I was able to communicate with them. One of the guys that works there, his name was Vito, and yeah, he took us up there. And I think that was the first the first step and bringing, and just really considering emotional photo because we weren’t there on like on our own, or like with like a big company or anything. We were really there because we wanted to experience the place. How the local student how it actually really is because tourism very, very often just blurs places and perspective. And I think that was the first step. So he took us up here he told us things that no what no tour guy would ever tell us. You know, he told us how people died in the volcano he told us how about all his any injuries he had while working there, he told us about the competition with within the workers and the pressure within the inter inter Yeah, the pressure within the people that work there is and he was actually also able to, you know, we rocked in up into place and all the tourists were gone at some point. We because we totally took took a different time to go to go there from the beginning of from the beginning. So we were really seeing the people that acting in it and like how they actually are because of when they’re tourists around, they’re different. You know, they’re like, you know, they try to sell them things and take photos with them. But when they’re all gone, they tried to focus on the work, because that’s what I had to get the money as well. Right. And, yeah, I think having that approach gave us the opportunity to see the place and the people in an authentic way. And having this local showing us around, there was a perfect door opener, because he couldn’t, he obviously knew every person and he was able to, you know, I had questions, for example, about the place and about the person I was I was photographing, because I wanted to tell the story in an emotional way again. And so he was able to give us information about that person and to talk to him and introduce us and really, like break the ice between that strange like between us with who was stranger to each other, you know, I think the approach definitely determines this the emotion you can you like the amount of emotion you can deliver in a photo as well. And it’s not like, oh, yeah, just walk up in a place and see how it goes. But it’s actually having a more intention into the story behind it and try to make an make making make an effort to experience that, that place in its real state, I guess. I don’t know if that makes sense. Yeah, no, for sure. Oh, yeah. And then And then, you know, I was able to tell the story. I was a person with a photo that day, you know, and even the shooting process was like, a lot more confident, confident, comfortable, because, again, we had that person that was connecting us to the workers. And also at the end of it, I just had more info. I had more info about the place, I have more info about the person’s back when I was shooting. And because we had that local app up there I was that veto that guy. I was able to interview him later on, you know, and ask him like more questions. And, yeah, again, get a real impression.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 42:03
That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. Like, really authentic? I mean, you know, not a lot of people can do that. I mean, I was actually, I was born in Java. So I know that, for sure. Yeah. I mean, it’s not, you know, it’s a big social difference there from, you know, people that really, really comfortable and rich to people that really, you know, can’t totally make, or put the food in front of their house, even though it’s only, I mean, for us probably like $1, yeah, probably less than $1 a day to cost to put in front of their family. So it’s crazy. But it’s quite interesting that you take that approach, because a lot of people are and including myself, because I was born there. And people. And my parents are like, be careful. Be careful, like, you know, like, because there’s so many people trying to take advantage of you’re obviously on a heart economy, you always hear me that. It’s, yeah, we’re what what were the thought of you kind of doing that? Weren’t you like worried that you get ripped off? Or you get, you know, taken advantage of?
Felix Gerz 43:17
Yeah, totally. I have to be honest with you, like I got ripped up a lot ripped off a lot. In the beginning, when I was in New Zealand, you know, I was a I was 18 years old, I just turned 19 or something. And, you know, I didn’t know anything about life. And obviously, people take advantage of that and take advantage of you. But you know, the more that happens, the more you learn a bit. And then the more you develop a resistance and a feeling where you’re like, okay, something’s wrong here. And I think until I got to just this situation in Java, I’ve been learning and like reevaluating a lot in that case, but yeah, obviously, it’s a different culture. It’s a it’s not a Western, western country. So yeah, obviously, there was a risk, but I think I was absolutely willing to take that risk and to be able to tell to tell the actual story.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 44:05
That’s awesome. Yeah, it’s it’s definitely, it’s definitely take a lot of courage, especially with you know, when you have that much gear that costs so much, right, it’s, it’s always Yeah,
Felix Gerz 44:16
it’s true. It’s true. I was actually minimalizing my demo gear, I brought up this trip because I was a little sketchy. But, um, you know, I, that’s something I felt during my entire travels through, like, I’ve been to a lot of countries, you know, and I think especially from where you’re from, where I’m from back in Germany, in Europe, and also in Canada, you get told, hey, the world is dangerous, you know, everyone in Germany this obviously, really general generalised and stereotypical, stereotypical now, but um, everyone who don’t know can be dangerous, so be very cautious, you know, and ideally, not have any contact with them. That’s how at least how I felt. And then you go into the world, you know, and as long as you have You know, obviously, you’d have to go into the world with a common sense. You know, there are places in South Africa, we shouldn’t be after 10pm In the evening. But generally speaking, if you have a bit of a common sense, I think, and if you have, if you have a smile on your face, and you have, if you’re a genuine, genuine person, and you approach people in that way, then you will be surprised how safe and how genuine and Hona friendly the world is, and how a lot of stereotypical things you thought about this world are actually wrong and how nice people are. I cannot tell you a single situation through my, in my Asia trip, where people wanted to harm me. You know, like, obviously, if you are in the streets in Nepal, and the main streets and the touristy areas, and you’re running around with the 5g for up over your head, of course, people will be, you know, people see them, they’re like, Okay, let’s, let’s rip the scope. But if you’re, if you’re a normal person, if you don’t do things like that, and if you talk to the person, you know, and you’ll be surprised, you’ll be surprised how open they are to share their own story, how I got invited to people’s houses, you know, I’m a white person, you know, over there, it’s different. And they sometimes didn’t even see a white person yet. But they just invited me to their house, I got invited once to wedding party on the spot, you know, and I was the firt, the one, the one that was my Kiwi friend, we were just totally confused about what’s happening. And I never saw a white person. And we were the first people that saw, you know, in a very, very remote village and Java. And then they had this one day of the year where they had two weddings. And I think they celebrated most birthdays of everyone who lived in the village because they were otherwise they were still pretty quick. Just do it once a day, once a year for everyone, you know. And then they sat us down there in the smart key in this tent. And we were supposed to be the first ones eating before even the bride or the groom, or anyone you know. So basically, you just have to imagine 250 People sitting on their chairs, looking at two white people, me and my friend, Caleb. And we’re supposed to, like eat something there. And everyone was watching us. And we’re like, Oh, my goodness, this is not good. I we were not feeling confident. You know, and for them, you know, it’s a big deal. Like they had meat there was slaughtering like animals. And you know, making sure this was an amazing meal. And then we were the first ones out there big being able to eat. And it was meant that was a life changing experience, like and then also myself, how non generous and like, egocentric will i am? And I also have, like I was about to hit myself in the face for that, you know, because I was like, Man, how can these people not have anything but give you everything they have and still be happy? You know? Yeah, there were crazy things. But it’s definitely coming back to. I’m just saying like, the world is less dangerous than you think.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 47:53
Yeah, no, like, definitely. I think coming back to what you’re saying there, there is probably a small percentage of bad things are bad people. But unfortunately, those small percentage is, you know, people are attracted to negative stuff and negative stories. So that’s why it looks a lot bigger. But yeah, once when you meet Indonesian people, they’re actually very genuine, and they’re very welcoming. And they will totally will put their guests in front of themselves. So that’s, that’s, that’s why you get that experience. I’m glad that you get you get a chance to, to, to experience it’s a it’s a genuine experience. It’s hard to get, especially as as a foreigner. So that’s, that’s good that you get to experience that. So I’m coming off to one hour mark here. I want to ask you a couple more question. And then we can wrap this up. So one question that I want to ask you is, I guess I want to I want to hear one of your most memorable moments in your travel on your photography journey that you that makes you feel like you’re on the right track or that makes you feel like this is what you meant to be doing.
Felix Gerz 49:24
I think I took it away already by stating that story off the cell for my new work as a job. I think that was a really life changing thing. But on the other hand you know, I tried to avoid your question a little bit now, but I’m saying I think that the confirmation that what I’m doing is right. And that I’m you know, because I’m doing something that’s not common from where I’m from, and it’s kind of a little wandering without purpose people would say from where I’m from, is that the response means it’s it is the response that I get from other people that is very encouraging. You know, when I share things like the story in Java, or with the silver mining worker, people see, like, you know, I share that with people like, I flew to Canada and on the flight, I shared it with like a teenager, like an 18 year old teenage teenager, you know, and he was like, oh, what should I do with my life? Oh, blah. And he was I saw myself in his situation. And I told him the story. And I showed him my photos. And then he said, you know, what? I think you really want I think you’re really walking in your, what did he say? I think you’re really walking in your calling. And I was like, what, you know that that was like, in your face, I was really like, whoa, okay. And like, sometimes, you know, when when I show people like stories like that people begin to be reflective about their own life. And they’re like, whoa, okay, maybe I should change something in my life when I after I saw this now, and just really getting this response that it changes people, because as you am, I’m so glad you you mentioned that I tried to really put emotion into my into motion shots. You know, when you do that, and it affects people, I think you making an impact. And I think that is one of the most rewarding things I just to talk to you like a good old DP in a debit debit, Whetstone. You know, and you’ve worked with like Patagonia, every and lots of brands like that. And he says, you know, he finds fulfilment and confirmation in what he’s doing. Because he has an impact, he changes people’s worldviews, he improves the you know, he, he just leaves the world as a better place. And I think that is getting this feedback is the most encouraging thing you can get. But on the other hand, I believe that you shouldn’t rely on feedback and comparison and things like that. And that can be really, really poisonous if you use it, use it in the wrong context. But then on the other hand, I see myself how I’m reacting on how I feel joy in this, you know, and how I can connect it to what my heart is beating for, you know, the outdoors with storytelling. And then combined with the response that I just mentioned from other people, I think that is really confirming for me, that I’m doing the right thing that I’m doing something that I made for, you know, sounds pretty deep. I hope that makes sense. But that’s just what I feel about it.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 52:20
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s awesome. I think, you know, that that what what he said in that person that you met in the plane is probably one of the best compliment you can you can get, isn’t it? Being knowing where you need to be, is probably the hardest thing I think in life. Because like getting to one place is is not necessarily the hardest thing. But knowing where you want to go is I think it’s a lot a lot harder, like knowing which path you need to be. Yeah, thanks for sharing that. That’s, that’s, that’s good to hear. And I think you answered that question really? Well. You know, that’s, that was one of my intention is to share a little bit more of that. So that’s great. Yeah, so a question that I always ask my guests who come into the podcast. If you were to think back through all of your photography, experience and storytelling experience through photography, what is the one thing that you would give as an advice that you know, that you would tell other people who want to start or want to get into photography world? The one advice that you you feel like it’s the most important for them to, to get whether or not they’re beginner, intermediate, or even advanced?
Felix Gerz 53:52
Very good question. Once again, you’re doing a great job. I think. I think what I would give as an advice is I give two advices. Can I give two?
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 54:13
Yeah, sure. Well, you get one.
Felix Gerz 54:17
Okay, okay. Okay. So first of all, my advice is ask yourself, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and why you’re loving what you’re loving. Because there will be times when you compare yourself and you think your work is not what you’re good enough, you’re not good enough and things like that. And then it’s good to remember why you’re doing things in the first place, and that you are having a talent and as soon as it gives you joy, it you know that there’s enough reason for you to do it. So ask yourself why you’re doing things. And what helped me in my career, or like in my pathway, I guess, to grow a lot was to reach out to people that are where I wanted to be, you know, and I’m doing this right now. I’m doing this current You know, reaching out to I want to be a DP working in Canada eventually. And what am I doing to get there right now, I’m trying to connect with DPS in the area I want to be at, you know, and I’m trying to ask them a lot of questions just to keep on reaching out. And don’t care where you are right now. Like, if you’re just shooting for shooting your pet in your garden, or if you’re doing a big campaign already, for a big company, it doesn’t matter. You know, reach out and be proud of what you’re doing, no matter where you are, in your path and your photography path. And reach out to people where they are where you want to be. And you will be surprised how open they are to tell you how they got there. And they help how they that how even they’re able to know that they’re there. They’re keen to even help you to get where you want to be. I think that’s the two things I would mention.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 55:53
Awesome. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s really powerful stuff right there. I think understanding the why is really important, not only in photography, but in life. So really good advice. There. Be like some thanks a lot for sharing that. And yeah, look, be an amazing conversation had a lot of fun there a lot of fun. Listening to your story. Really awesome episode. And for those people who want to see more of your work and who want to follow your journey and your story, what are some ways they can find you?
Felix Gerz 56:31
Totally got a website where I have the one double 0.5% of my life that I think is worth sharing creatively. If you want to have see my shell Look over there. If you want to see more inside, I’m pretty. I’m pretty active on Instagram. And I think, yeah, that would be a way of being in contact with me on more of a daily basis. Yep.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 56:54
Awesome. All right, cool. Well, thanks a lot for being here. And yeah, look, we can hunters, hopefully you enjoy that there’s a lot of inspiration. And also, like I opening story from what we’ve heard from Felix, so I’m glad that you listening to this episode, because, you know, as a traveller, it’s, it’s, it’s not always the easiest, it’s not always smooth sailing. And it’s very true, what he said, when you look at some of the stuff that we produce that we create, it can it can bring a perception that we have it all that life is easy that we enjoy everything, but I must say that every everything that we come to comes with the struggle, every achievement that we get, you know, we we just like you we just like everyone else, we’re just using. And yeah, and when when we come to these places, it’s because we have that struggle to get there. So doesn’t matter where you are like Felix says, you know, don’t don’t, don’t get discouraged to where you are, but just look up, look up and see where you can go and look back where and how far you look back and see how far you’ve gone. So yeah, thank you very much for tuning in. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, be sure to subscribe, but leave a comment and hit the like so that we know that this is the type of things that we’d like that you’d like to hear. But thank you very much for sparing your time Felix. I know you’re busy on your adventures. You’re out there making me jealous.
Felix Gerz 58:38
I spent I appreciate you having me. Thanks so much. Yeah,
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 58:41
all right. Fantastic, man. All right. Well, thank you very much we can hunters and until she I’ll see you on. Until next episode.