Die Presse

Photography: Naked, stars and wild horses
July 17, 2017

The following article has been translated from the original German. Any errors by the translation librarians should not be attributed to the source.

Manfred Baumann is Austria’s main man for models, misses and celebrities. Now he shows pictures spanning 30 years at Leica - and Mustangs in the [Leica Gallery in Vienna].

Greetings from Manfred Baumann’s wife Nelly - or her bare side: she is undressed in the desert of Joshua Tree National Park, carefully set in a play of light and shadow. “One of my favorite pictures,” says Manfred Baumann - and no surprise. Nudes are one of the two major themes with which one connects the Viennese photographer. The other are stars. Both will be found in the exhibition at the Leica Gallery.

Baumann has been photographed with Leica for two years and the exhibition “The Collection” is now almost a kick-off for the cooperation - and the beginning of a tour of his pictures through Leica galleries from Singapore to Los Angeles. There, in America, especially in Los Angeles, Baumann is fond of and often, also show the photos. There is Drew Barrymore in the car on the way to the Golden Globe award. Natalie Portman at the table at the Palms Springs film festival, “where the stars rehearse their speeches for the Globes,” a few minutes before she goes on stage. Baumann teaches there and is one of the few photographers who are allowed to photograph not only on the Red Carpet, but also inside. “L.A. Stories “is the series,” which is actually funny, because it is indeed Palm Springs.”

In view of the many callsigns with which his work is usually advertised, Baumann tells his story astonishingly little about the market. As a Meinl salesman, the hobby (the grandfather had given him the camera) was a profession. How he put together a portfolio and knocked everywhere, asked the first acquaintances to act shooting (“My great role model is Helmut Newton”), the first stars before the lens got. The training as a merchant was retrospectively no disadvantage. “Many who come from the graphical side can not survive out there.”

Camper and Surfer

The new show now shows a cross-section of 25, 30 years: Bruce Willis’ head of the egg, only from the bald to the nose, photographed on the occasion of a Kinopremiere in Vienna, “we had 15 minutes with him in the hotel” (Willis himself found the picture right cool, “because rarely has a photographer photographed half of him”). But also an analogous picture of the Route 66, or disguised camping cars - Baumann and his wife travel a lot, are often even weeks with the caravan on the road. Even surfer he photographed with great passion. “Whenever there are great waves, we are there too”; CSI actress and surfer Jorja Fox usually puts him “where they are.”

He met Fox at a shooting on behalf of a Kinomagazin. But he also always strives to establish contacts with press agencies and agencies, Baumann explains how the stars are doing so. For instance, he is portraying his new actor for an agency - and in turn, the celebrity in the file. “As a photographer you have the ambition that your works are seen,” he says. And Hollywood stars are more helpful than domestic. In the meantime, agencies or celebrities would also come to him. “We know we are uncomplicated, fast, but with Austrian cosiness.” For example, he was allowed to photograph the 100-year-old Kirk Douglas at his home in Beverly Hills. “He made the last press photos with 93, and said he needed new ones.”

In the autumn, Baumann will once again have an exhibition in Vienna - in the Natural History Museum. There he shows photographs of American Mustangs. In the “Stern” he had read a report about the animals whose habitat is threatened by cattle breeding and fracking. Animal protection is one of his concerns, says Baumann. His scarce one million social media followers is no disadvantage. “There you can make something conscious between the pretty ladies and the people here and there.”

By: Teresa Schaur-Wünsch | Source: Die Presse