5 minutes with — Björn Lexius of Hafenliebe Photography

Hamburg Wedding Photographer Björn Lexius

Björn Lexius is a wedding photographer from the port city of Hamburg, in the north of Germany. We had his attention for 5 minutes to ask a few questions and find out more about his work.

WUN: So, for those who don’t know you, who is Björn Lexius?

Björn: My name is Björn Lexius and I’m from Germany, I’m old, I’m vegan, I love punk rock, tattoos and cycling and shoot mainly weddings with my friend Jesse, under the name of Hafenliebe, which is the german word for harbour love. For us this is the connection to our hometown, the seaport of Hamburg. For Swedish people, it is pretty much comparable to Gothenburg.

We have been shooting weddings together internationally for about three and half years now, but I have been shooting weddings on my own now for about six years, I think. Besides that, I do a lot of portrait work and cycling events, mostly in the fixed-gear cycling scene (bikes with no gears, editors remark).

 

I’m trying to get back to shooting music, because when I started out, I started with shooting concerts. But I lost track and stopped having fun at concerts, because I was only there to take photos and couldn’t enjoy the music anymore. Now I’m trying to do something different and instead of shooting the concert itself, I’m going behind the scenes and documenting everything that goes on around the event, shooting portraits of the artists themselves, the sound check etc. All the stuff that people generally don’t have photos of. So my plan is to, during the off-season, approach different bands and document things for the band itself and release it just for them.

It is pretty hard to find that stuff however, and there is no money in it. Not like with weddings, where you know people put a lot of money into it and you can charge what you need.

In music, there is hardly any money at all, so it is tough. It is more like going with friends, like I did yesterday. The german guy in the band is a friend of mine, and we have been friends for twenty years and were part of the same punk scene and now, everyone is involved with different things but follow each others work. Kind of similar to the photography community.

WUN: So do you feel this kind of work inspires you when you go back into the wedding season again?

Björn: I try to shoot the portraits in a way so I learn from it and can use that in the coming wedding season. Our style is very gritty and moody and during winter, we always try to shoot a lot of stuff where the lighting is very bad, go out around noon when the light is harsh. I then try to incorporate this into our wedding work, because that is who I am.

My work is not too bright but the base idea is darkness and a melancholic vibe and 90% of my personal work is black & white. Which for weddings doesn’t work, because most people just do not want all their wedding photos in black & white, even though I would love to do that.

People tell me that you can recognize my work, whether it is personal work or weddings so I think they have a connection, but it is always difficult to describe my own style, because you see different things in your own work.

WUN: So do you deliver both colour and black & white photos to your clients?

Björn: Yeah, for weddings, about 30% of the delivered photos are black and white. Most of our clients like that, but sometimes we get requests for some of the pictures in color and we strictly say no, we don’t do that, because we do not feel that is the best way.

This season, maybe one or two clients stuck out in the way that they were not a perfect fit for us. But all the others were great, and they trusted us and we could do whatever we wanted and they didn’t ask for more images or anything extra.

WUN: That’s great

Björn: That’s really great, this season was really amazing.

WUN: So have you ever delivered a full wedding in black and white?

Björn: Not yet, I’m hoping to but…

WUN: One day, someone would come around and ask for it!

Björn: Yes! I’m hoping for it. Actually, we have a client for next year that I could imagine would go for it, if we proposed that to them they might do it. I’m not sure yet, but I know they only asked us because they wanted only us. It is not going to be a traditional wedding with a white dress, it is going to be different, so perhaps they would be ok to only publish a black & white wedding.

I have a friend in the U.S. Levi Tijerina, and if you go to his website, you see only black & white images on the first page, because he want it to have a minimalistic look.

So yes, it is on my bucket list, haha.

WUN: Alright, thank you Björn Lexius for giving us an insight into what you do and we hope to see you at Way Up North in the future again.

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