2014-12-02 Martin Häusler’s first US exhibition promises to be something special, featuring a line up of A-List subjects all captured in their most iconic poses, many of them shot with his much-loved H5D-40 camera.
Martin Häusler is something of a rarity these days, a photographer who started off as a filmmaker, rather than someone who travelled in the other direction. Now he’s a fully established figure in the world of music and celebrity photography, splitting his time evenly between his native Germany and Los Angeles, and he’s just about to open his first big US Show. LA ICONIC’S will feature a selection of his best work plus some extraordinary 3D images, including a life-sized portrait of Meatloaf.
Having spent his formative years in a rock band the whole music scene was a natural place for Martin to gravitate to once his interest in the visual industry started to develop in the early 1990s, and his first move into that area saw him work as a designer for CD covers, posters, calendars and books.
“I used my connections in the music business to get started,” he says, “and was experimenting with filming for quite a few years before taking up a career as a music video director. I also shot documentaries about music artists such as Hilary Duff, travelling with them around the world. However, I always carried a still camera with me, using what I had learned in the world of filmmaking and applying this to my photography: such things as using lots of hard light, Fresnel lenses as opposed to softboxes and that kind of thing.
“After a while I realised I loved stills more than film. I’d become exhausted by the amount of effort it takes to produce film and music videos, with large crews involved, big budgets and the stress caused by tight deadlines. So I decided to take a huge risk and to move into still photography full time. Fortunately, because I had such good connections it was actually an easy transition to make and soon I had assignments to photograph the likes of Bon Jovi, Britney Spears and many others.”
Martin was working with medium format film cameras back in 2000, and progressed from there to full frame DSLRs, but was never fully satisfied by their performance. “At that time I started to rent out Hasselblad cameras,” he says, “mainly H2Ds and H3Ds, and was immediately hooked on the image quality they delivered and the difference in the feel of the image they produced. After a few years I figured that it was kinda stupid to be spending all my money on rental when I knew really what I wanted: it was also the case that by owning gear I could get to know it better. With lenses in particular you need to know how every one of them reacts in every possible situation.”
Now armed with an H5D-40 and a line of HC 35mm, 50mm, 80mm and 150mm lenses, Martin is convinced he’s got his equipment needs well and truly covered. “I did recently try out the H5D-50C,” he says, “and loved the freedom that the higher ISO provides, so maybe this will be my next move. But to be honest 50MP is more than I need: I’m more about the ‘look’ of a medium format image than I am about the pixel resolution that it gives me.”