I was first attracted to Daniel Hachmann /chinastone as a result of his outspoken comments and helpful activity on Shadowness. I wanted to stop and chat with him, even more so after seeing his work!
Always looking at things with a fresh eye, Daniel shows us new ways to look at the ordinary, he takes angles, scapes and every-day vistas, transforming them into works of art that flip your perspective, giving you new and interesting ways to observe your environment.
Hi, Daniel, How are you doing?
Life is pretty crazy for me right now. After 3 years on dA nobody really paid too much attention to my work outside of dA. I joined 500px three weeks ago because my friend Dan /Damien-C was there. I posted some works, got one good feature and all hell broke loose!
Tell us a bit about your online experiences with Shadowness and dA.
Everything started in May 2008. I was always interested in photography but I had no professional Camera and no internet connection. I left home when I was 20 years old for the army, and I never really came back to my hometown until the summer of 2010.
I was living more like an American dude than like a German; I changed my locations with the jobs. So, in May 2008 I arrived in Zürich/Switzerland, a beautiful place. I had a nice apartment and an internet connection. I made a blog on Blogger with some of the pics I took in Thailand with my mobile. People liked them and suggested some online communities to me.
Can you link us to this early work?
Daniel: Nope. I don't know what happened. The name of my blog was: theworldunmasked. I hosted it not on blogspot but privately. After one year they wanted money for the hosting and I said "no", so I lost the url and somehow also the blog. I would love to still have it
So what happened with your introduction to Online Communities?
Well, first, I'd like to say another short thing that could be interesting. Where does the name "Chinastone" come from? Many people have asked me already.
Here is the story: I joined photo.net first and set up an account with my name and they generated a password for me. I could not choose it, it was just automatically generated.
They always use two words and put them together in the verification process, in my case "china" and "stone". So, "Chinastone" was born!
I liked the name and used it as my username for dA when I joined it on the same day ;-)
it's funny sometimes how things start. :-)
What is your primary 'motif' or communication with your work? What are you trying to accomplish?
After many years in several communities, I had seen so many pictures, so many different styles, that I wanted to create something unique. Something that is at least a little different than the works of other people. dA taught me the basics of photography, but it was ArtLimited that really made an 'artist' out of me.
If you just copy the works of others you might have success, but you will never really be happy with your work. And that, is, in my opinion, the most important thing! Success comes later.
What medium(s) do you use? digital and photoshop?
Yes, digital, with a wide-angle lens, photoshop, Macbook and recently Aperture and Lightroom3. I like photoshop, but I am not an addict.
SN: Do you find the medium to be restrictive in any way?
Daniel: A medium can never be restrictive. We (the creators) can have restrictions in our mind, that block us, but the medium is just the tool to live your creativity.
What do you think of the online communities and how they promote artists and art? How could it be better?
It depends on what you want. Communities are a very good starting point, probably the best one that you can have. The real question is: What are you making out of it? Are you a community-guy who only wants to hang around with his buddies or do you want a little more?
'More' as in, really proving yourself as a kind of a solo artist. There is no 'perfect community',
all have their flaws. You have to know what you want to do with it and where the best is for what type of work, or environment. For example: 500px is for me the better place right now to show my work. Shadowness is the better place to communicate with people and to keep in touch with friends. And dA; well, dA has basically no use for me at all anymore. (sadly)
I think many people have this feeling about dA.
Why did you choose photography? Did your early experiences and jobs have anything to do with your selection?
No, if jobs would have such an influence on me I would be a graphic designer. I don't really know where it came from, it was probably always in me and one day it broke free. The best things are the most of the time the ones that you have no real explanation for...
SN: do you engage in any other mediums?
Daniel: I do have a strong influence from Asia because of many reasons... I write poems, haikus and articles about photography.
Its amazing that you were able to travel so much...what did you do that made it possible?
I have always loved traveling. I am lucky, because traveling and photography are a great combination. I have spent altogether about one year "on the road" backpacking in Canada, the US and across Southeast-Asia. It was by far the best time of my life! :-)
To make the most out of it you should be alone and go by foot, avoiding expensive places. When you are alone, you are open for other people. When you are with a good friend or even your girlfriend you are blocked.
What are your greatest inspirations, so far and what are your greatest obstacles?
The best answer here is always: Life. Life inspires me. Obstacles: Also, Life;
The boundaries we have as human beings or the boundaries we think that we have because people tell us that we have to have them. fear is a great business.
I enjoyed the open manner of discussion regarding online communities, and what Daniel says is very true; or at least, I agree with him wholeheartedly.
Love that travel was mentioned. I believe that it serves as some kind of backbone to photography... at any rate it results in more interesting photography. A perceptive audience always just... knows... when the photographer was truly intrigued to capture something in a frame.
Also... I can't resist from mentioning. Keith still holds a fondly-grudge that you took zerocomplex.net ;P
the interview conceals more than images ever can,
between the lines it started to make me came aware of how things can go in life,
and if you are now in this stage of your life where you can share this beautyfull craftmanship of art, well.....you are blessed, lucky or just hard working.....
i admire the answers giving on the questions, it shows an kind and sweet honesty and openess i hardly see among artist,
succes with all your activities
and may you travel be long :D
thanks Meng for the interview, i really enjoyed this one.