Dear Ekkardt, you are a photographer offering locals and expats different services around photography. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Ekkie, I’m a German expat and I’ve been living in Amman with my family since 2008. I’ve mostly worked with the German Jordanian University, but also a few other places and also spent a lot of time on research of Jordanian society for some doctoral research until finishing the degree in late 2015.
And I’m a guy with a camera who sometimes gets carried away with the hobby a little.
You have been living in Jordan with your family for about 9 years. Please explain in a few sentences what makes you stay?
I ask myself that too sometimes, and the answer is probably – it’s been really working out for everyone in the family, in unexpected ways sometimes. There have always been new opportunities, new people to meet, new adventures. We never expected to be here that long, but it seems like there was always the next great thing around the corner. And the culture just has a very solid, deep friendliness and hospitality to it.
Taking pictures is not your main profession. How did you get into Photography?
Actually, I’ve always been a musician. And because I’m useless at anything that has to do with drawing and painting I always assumed visual expressions of creativity are just not for me. But when a friend sold an old FUJI S3-Pro as he was moving away from Jordan, something made me buy it (our first daughter was on her way and I knew I really wanted good pictures of her, better than what my iPhone 3 at the time would offer anyway). And I just loved it from the first minute.
You also have a little studio inside your home. Tell us a bit more about this.
Well, when my first daughter was born I started photography, when my second daughter was born I started messing around with Studio Setups. I had a lot of writing and editing to do during that time and got into a rhythm of writing 45 minutes and reading blogs I enjoyed for 15 minutes to relax my brain a little. I ended up reading photo blogs and found out how much fun you can have with light modifiers (even DIY ones!) and such. I think the starting moment was when I found a blog that described how to use a mic stand (which I had 2 of) as a light stand and then found an old strobe in my parents’ basement which my dad had bought when I was born.
I guess buying photo-gear when children are born runs in the family – or is a natural parental instinct?
Let me know your approach to engage with customers to get the best pictures for them?
Many people are friends or friends of friends or people I’ve met elsewhere in the community. So I think my MO is that I don’t have one really. I enjoy having interesting people over and getting to know them a little. Photography is what I do outside of my normal work (a self-financing hobby essentially), so I don’t even think of it as ‘work’; which means I have time, I’m relaxed, just enjoying my hobby. I found that, in an unexpected way, that actually produces good photos because everyone is relaxed and actually enjoying themselves, joining together in a creative process.
You offer a different type of Photography art, such as portraits, studio sessions or event photography. What type of services do you offer? Is there anything you explicitly exclude?
I offer studio portrait sessions for individuals, couples or families. And I guess I offer to try everything else that sounds fun – recently that’s been product shots, a big black-tie event, an engagement, and obviously I try to capture the beautiful landscape of Jordan when I get a chance. I want to do more street photography, but time always seems tight (+ I’m a bit shy, believe it or not). Anyway – if it reflects light, I’ll shoot it!
Is there a special event or promotion you would like to point out?
I’d encourage people to just message me and ask what they have in mind and I’ll tell you what can be done. Including pricing really –
for example, when Neyla from Kids Party Plus told me what she wanted, I realised: that will be the first time you try capture a burning soap bubble filled with lighter fluid.
So, hey, special price because I don’t have that in my portfolio! And you only pay if it works, but I won’t miss out on the fun of trying that, ha! (It did work, by the way. I’m a little bit proud.) I have weeks where my day job allows me to do more photography than others, so I’d also encourage people to follow me on facebook where I usually announce ‘photo weeks’. You’re just more likely to get a slot that way because I also sometimes have to decline for certain dates.