Chris Mock: ‘discover the landscape in front of your doorstep’

Cologne-based street photographer Chris Mock speaks to us about his love for black and white and rock ‘n’ roll!

How did you discover photography?

I discovered photography three times in my life. The first time was when I was 14 years old, and I got my first digital camera (a Sony Mavica MVC-FD7, with 3.5’’ Floppy Disk!). I was very much into computers and programming, and the camera gave me a chance to add another creative layer to my hobby.

The second time I was around 22. My flatmate and I both had digital SLR cameras and experimented with all kinds of styles, without really knowing what we were doing. I lost track when I went to the university to study sound engineering, while he became a very successful photographer.

Three years ago, I re-discovered photography while being on tour. A photographer was documenting the artist I was working for, and this was the moment I had an epiphany. It clicked again, and I haven’t stopped since.

I started with a lot of landscape photography but then realised that I don’t have the time and money to spend travelling to all those different places in nature. That is when I started to discover the landscape in front of my doorstep—the streets.

You seem to have a preference for black and white photography, what appeals to you about that?

First of all, it’s what I like. It’s like having a favourite dish or colour, or spirit animal. It adds another layer to the feeling of emptiness I’m often looking for in my photos. But behind this are probably several more technical reasons. Black and white reduces distractions, sets the focus on the composition and the subject. Geometry and forms become more important.

We first noticed your street photography, what is your method for taking great street shots?

When I go out with my camera, I start walking without a plan. I don’t have a route in my head; I follow where the city takes me.

I’m drawn to empty spaces and lonely places with few people around. I think what I’m longing for is some sort of post-apocalyptic emptiness with a few lonely survivors.

Next Level, an image selected for our ‘100 Days. 100 Commissions’ project

“I think what I’m longing for is some sort of post-apocalyptic emptiness with a few lonely survivors.”

I usually take one camera with a prime lens with me, and some batteries. Sometimes I have a second lens with another focal lens with me. That’s it. I leave all my gear at home.

What are your favourite cities to visit?

There are so many…some of my favourites are Budapest, Bilbao, London, Porto, Warsaw and Ljubljana. But I also like Cologne a lot. It’s not very pretty. Most parts have been rebuilt after the bombings in WWII and it’s not the most beautiful architecture. But even though it’s one of the four biggest cities in Germany, it feels smaller.

The people who live here are not typical city-dwellers. It’s more like a big village.

How did you discover Affinity Photo?

I was looking for software to edit my photos, so I started looking for a Lightroom/Photoshop alternative. I didn’t like their pricing and subscription model.

I found Affinity Photo and it blew my mind. It’s

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