After a long and successful career as an attorney and CPA in his native Hamburg, Germany, Axel Breutigam sold his company and relocated to Vancouver, BC to pursue his lifelong passion of photography.
Breutigam studied under Alan Ross, Ansel Adams’ former assistant, and the exclusive printer of Adams’ Yosemite Special Edition Negatives. Under Ross, Breutigam enhanced his technical skill and was taught how best to use digital processing techniques that emulate the darkroom prints of earlier decades.
Breutigam has established himself as an emerging black and white photographer with a distinct and technically sophisticated style. Intriguing perspectives, bold lighting and abstract geometric shapes are characteristic of his evocative, timeless compositions.
Breutigam’s subtle geometric abstractions, aversion to excessive digital manipulation, and penchant for sharply focused, tonally rich, and high contrast photographs draws parallels to the straight photography style pioneered by members of the West Coast Photographic Movement, which included renowned photographers Edward Weston, Paul Strand, and Ansel Adams. Breutigam’s motifs of abstraction and sharply focused forms make his photographs remarkably contemporary, while the traditional techniques he practices imbue his photographs with a timeless quality that recalls this earlier movement.
Buildings and structures are fascinating to Axel Breutigam, in particular, modern and contemporary designs.
Of his work, Breutigam states:
“Most often, capturing an entire structure doesn’t do justice to the beauty found in underlying details. The viewer’s eye is distracted by urban trivialities, things everyone takes for granted and – of course, we are talking about urban environments here – excessive clutter.
Exploring a building from all possible angles of view and finding the parts of the structure which lead to another layer of abstraction is what I am seeking visually. To do so it is often necessary to give space and put things into a reductive perspective.
When successful, an almost mechanical energy comes to light and the images get a ‘sculptural’ feeling. Isolating reality this way through the lens eliminates distraction and empowers viewers to reflect upon their surroundings, and enables them to appreciate the often overlooked beauty found in urban environments simply through artistic presentation.”