Behind the Scenes with Marcus Schwier

Spotlight-On-Marcus-Schwier-FullResFriend with Vision photographer Marcus Schwier will be participating in two photo exhibitions in Germany. Starting during Düsseldorf Photo Weekend from February 5 until March 12 at Benrath Castle, he’ll be presenting 5 works, each forming a series of photographs around the photographic genres of architecture, people and landscape photography. His works take up seven rooms and end up skilfully jelling the different aspects of the series together.
During his time leading up to his exhibitions, Marcus was kind enough to let us have a sneak peak behind the scenes of what is to come.

Ludwiggalerie, Castle Oberhausen: January 22 – May 14, 2017
Benrath Castle, Düsseldorf: February 05 – March 12, 2017


Marcus Schwier, born and bred in Düsseldorf, is one of the most famous German photographers, whose work is not only part of different exhibitions, but are also published in magazines and books on a regular basis.

First and foremost, he is known for his architecture photography, but his different exhibitions demonstrate that he masters more than just one photographic genre and keeps surprising his audience with each new series. At first glance, his series deals with everyday situations, but as it has turned out not just once, these commonplace situations end up being current and highly controversial throughout the course of time.

Photo Exhibition Benrath Castle, Düsseldorf


The five series cover the following topics:

  • NIGHTSHOTS – taken in different cities all around the globe, showing how light changes identity and visual perception
  • GREENHOUSE / AGRICULTURE – photographs covering the topic of agricultural industrialisation and mankind’s perception of order in nature
  • ROUNDABOUT & STRAIGHT AHEAD – photos, taken with a tall tripod to realize quite a surprising and funny bird’s eye view on people sunbathing in a park
  • CTLR-Space – photographs taken in Paris from the same height, but using a cavalier projection, thus changing the point of view when approaching the topic of surveillance
  • INTERIORS – photographs showing the dynamics of complex building structures in modern times


“I consider my photographic series long-term projects and I continuously add new aspects”, Marcus states. His subjects are often interlinked and almost seem like different chapters of the same book. A new chapter is based on another one, but may just as well be read on its own. Benrath Castle takes up this train of thought, as the location consists of different rooms, each of them right next to the other with no corridors in between, keeping them apart. Even the way the entire exhibition is presented was chosen on purpose and emphasizes this aspect of different topics adding to and jelling with each other.

The professional photographer showcases his series in various image sizes, different techniques and forms of presentations over time. “Variation helps us with a better perception. One experiences the different exhibits differently when there is variation.”

His avant-garde style series NIGHTSHOTS dates back to the celluloid days of time exposure. “Night photography already reduces a picture to the very basic aspects, as anything essential is being well-lit. I do however see the challenge in uncovering details in the little corners and nooks that seem pitch-black when just passing by.”This attention to and love for details, combined with a clear structure, making use of the opportunities presented by modern-day camera techniques, make his long exposures series a very special piece of art. Marcus began working on this series back in 2003 when he started capturing the mood and atmosphere of cities in Northern and Southern America, and he has travelled many continents in order to continue his NIGHTSHOTS project. “With the exception of Australia, I took photos in most countries of this world and I am still amazed by the different color temperatures and moods, varying from city to city. In South America, for example, there is a very warm yellowish kind of light caused by mercury vapour lamps, whereas many other countries use colder sources of light, providing the entire scene with a bluish kind of look.”


But how are pictures like these presented the best possible way? Back in 2000, Marcus realized very early on that his scans and the photos coming back from his photo laboratory didn’t match in terms of color. That was the moment he realized how important color management really is for his workflow. “I never work without a hardware-calibrated display as it’s the only way for me to ensure that the colors shown on screen and the printout match. I don’t like surprises when it comes to colors. When looking at my photo series NIGHTSHOTS, a calibration helps me to uncover details in the shadows and I can see exactly which details of my photo are going to be unprintable within the printing process”, Marcus Schwier explains. “Nowadays, my entire workflow is digital and thus, solid color management has become more and more important to me over the years. When I work on archived photographs, I use my Imacon scanner to help me achieve the best results.”

Exhibition Ludwiggalerie Oberhausen “Let’s buy it! Art and Purchasing Behavior

Marcus Schwier’s second exhibition, presenting 10 of his large format works, is taking place at Oberhausen Castle through mid-May. The exhibition showcases a large variety of different art forms, from copperplate engravings to video installations, and presents artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Andy Warhol and the most expensive living artist Gerhard Richter. This exhibition approaches the subject of art as the “most expensive luxury item in our culture” (Piroschka Dossi) and covers various centuries. It analyzes the question of originals, copies and fraud as well as peoples’ behavior during the purchasing process and breaking of traditions, such as Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol did in the 20th century.Marcus joins the exhibition with a selection of his night photographs taken in Hong Kong, capturing the view into street shops and uncovering details and colors in a surprising way only Alpa and digital medium format cameras can convey.He also presents some of his famous B&W photos of New York, taken with a 6×6 medium format camera. Once again, looking at his works makes one realize how abstract the medium of a photo actually is. It is capable of uncovering details the human eye would never be able to see when just passing by, as it leaves the opportunity to take the time to take a close look and start exploring the photo and thus uncovering new details over and over.In 2016, Marcus found a very spectacular and impressive way to show what detail is all about. He presented an installation that was more than 10 meters wide and certainly offered a lot to be discovered at the German Pavilion during the Janadriyah Festival in Saudi Arabia.

Please refer to to learn more about Marcus Schwier and his work. His website is available in both German and English.