The South African photographer Guy Tillim has been capturing Berlin’s urban landscape with a Leica SL – yet it is not the motifs themselves that take centre stage but rather his attempt to approach them in an impartial manner. The results are diptychs that reflect reality in so far as they neither show clichés, nor avoid them.
LFI: Could you explain your project in the German capital in a few sentences?
Guy Tillim: I’ve been photographing landscapes/cityscapes for some time, particularly African cities like Johannesburg and Addis Ababa. I’ve always been interested in Berlin, its history, its link to modernism, but the decision to photograph there was really based on a whim.
LFI: I recent times you’ve always photographed diptychs. Is one image not enough to show your perspective?
Guy Tillim: No amount of images is enough to show the view one has! But the diptychs seemed to disrupt the obsessive composition of the single frame and show a vista, not of my mind’s eye, but what is in fact, visible in front of me.
LFI: How do you conceive the ideas behind your work as a photographer?
Guy Tillim: Photography is a mirror of my life: not of loved ones, landscapes and objects that surround me, but in a speculative or metaphysical sense of the trials of life, the seen or unseen, intrepid voyages beyond my imaginary realm and consequences of that kind of thing.
LFI: How did you come along with the Vario-Elmar-SL 24–90mm f/2.8–4 ASPH., the SL system’s standard zoom?
Guy Tillim: I found the lens to be extraordinary, its speed, functionality and evident quality is amazing.
LFI: Can you sum up your experiences with Leica’s new SL camera in a few words?
Guy Tillim: It follows classic Leica tradition, just like my beloved M system. Flawless functionality and the picture data speaks for itself.
Find the complete interview in LFI 8/2015, available at 6th of November. For more information on Guy Tillim, please see the Stevenson website.