ARTICLE

Jörg Kyas

A model in an enormous parachute skirt taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R.
"What would you do, if you happened to be a fashion photographer and have an old parachute in the basement?" asks Canon Ambassador Jörg Kyas. "Through its colours and its form, this enormous skirt gives us circus vibes." Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/160 sec, f/8 and ISO200. © Jörg Kyas

A sought-after photographer and filmmaker with a technical eye and a long list of high-profile clients, Canon Ambassador Jörg Kyas's work focuses on people, often to the exclusion of the world around them.

Jörg, who runs a studio in his hometown of Hanover, Germany, became obsessed with the technical side of photography when he was a teenager. He would spend time in a local forest taking photos of birds with a friend, before developing the black-and-white pictures in a makeshift darkroom. It was there that he learned how important it was to get the photograph right in the camera, rather than relying on processing. He says that, at the time, he was more interested in the technical side of photography than in the image itself.

Portrait of Canon Ambassador Jörg Kyas.


Location: Hanover, Germany
Specialist areas: Fashion, portrait, commercial
Favourite kit:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Jörg's technical eye and methodical way of working have served him well and he is now a sought-after photographer and filmmaker with a long list of high-profile national and international clients, including record labels, advertising agencies and magazines.

Jörg became an apprentice photographer in 1993, before becoming a photographer's assistant. He went on to study photography at the University of Dortmund in 1997 and, after graduating in 2003, became a full-time photographer.

Initially working as a freelance photographer, Jörg shot for music companies who would send him across the globe to photograph artists. These included musicians in the clubs of Havana, Eric Burdon of 1960s group The Animals on the streets of Paris and Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura on top of a skyscraper in São Paulo. Jörg's early life on the road enabled him to hone his skills as a portrait photographer. Today, his studio shoots a range of portraits, from beauty and fashion to commercial work and children.

A model seen through coloured smoke, taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R.
"This image was taken with a Canon EOS 5DS R, to prove that this camera can focus even through smoke. I like to combine different elements such as smoke or water, even if it's a still picture, because they create emotion," explains Jörg. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens at 1/160 sec, f/8 and ISO200. © Jörg Kyas

Jörg relishes new challenges of all descriptions and loves coming up with creative solutions for the many unusual and varied situations that he faces. He'll be using a gyrocopter to get a different view of a model one day and photographing a surgeon carrying out open heart surgery the next. As he puts it, this isn't the sort of work schedule that you get in a 'normal' job.

Like many photographers, when he's not pursuing his professional work Jörg is exploring personal portrait projects, and he enjoys the freedom that comes when time constraints are removed. He avoids planning these personal sessions too tightly and explores a more 'freestyle' approach to his photography.

Jörg is a big fan of photography books, but says that he tries to avoid being influenced by the work of other photographers. He believes that it's important to discover your own aesthetic rather than trying to chase current trends in photography.

Jörg has used Canon cameras for many years, and as a Canon Ambassador he regularly speaks at events and holds training workshops. He has come to rely on Canon's high-quality portrait lenses for his style of close-up photography. And as a self-confessed 'light-lover', he cites the rise of radio-triggered Speedlites such as the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT as having a deep impact on his work.

A model with water falling in front of her, taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
"Water has been one of my favourite topics for quite a while," says Jörg. "Being a photographer allows you to 'freeze time' and see each and every drop. It's incredible to see the shapes of the water although this picture was made with a relatively open aperture." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lens at 1/250 sec, f/5 and ISO200. © Jörg Kyas

How would you describe your style of photography

"I've previously described my photographic language as 'eloquent Esperanto', and when it comes to composition and lighting I'm very classical and old school."


What was the most important lesson you learned during your period as a photographer's assistant?

"That while good ideas, passion and inspiration help, good organisation and a well-considered plan will always lead to a good picture."


Where do you find your inspiration?

"I think it's hard not to be influenced by all the things I'm interested in, in some shape or form. So I think it is a mixture of books and graphic novels, music and movies."


What is the most enjoyable part of the photographic process for you?

"I enjoy planning a shot and, in the majority of cases, I love spending time with the people I'm photographing. If both of these aspects work out well, then I look forward to seeing the printed result. Working up images in software is definitely the part I wouldn't miss at all."


If you could spend the day with any famous portrait photographer, alive or dead, who would you choose?

"A tough question to answer, as there are many great portrait photographers whose work I admire. But I imagine that it would have been a lot of fun to take part in one of David LaChapelle's earlier shoots – there must have been an extraordinary mood on the set to get such amazing results."


Facebook: @kyasphoto
Website: www.kyas.de

A model poses against a wall, taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mk III.
This picture was taken during a fashion photo shoot in London. "Even if it's a simple story, it has a special character – through the intensive look of the model, the picture gains emotion," says Jörg. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens at 1/64 sec, f/4 and ISO800. © Jörg Kyas

One thing I know
Jörg Kyas

"The way to get people to open up in front of the camera depends very much on the mood you want to create and the way you want to portray your models. For instance, if you want them to look self-assured, you can build their confidence by showing them the results on the camera display as you shoot. If you want them to look relaxed, you keep talking and encouraging them. If you know that they don't have much time – which is often the case – you just work quickly."

Jörg Kyas's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Contents of photographer Jörg Kyas's kitbag, including cameras, lenses, cap and torches.

Cameras

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Designed to perform in every situation, this flagship full-frame DSLR is an accomplished all-rounder. "This has many new functions that I have been waiting for," says Jörg.

Lenses

Accessories

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

A Speedlite engineered for fast frame-rate shooting, which performs in the most demanding situations. "Together with the Speedlite Transmitter, this is a brilliant combination that makes life much easier for me."

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