by PETE LITTLEWOOD
The Ausseerland, in the geographical middle of Austria, is an area of outstanding natural beauty with its crystal clear lakes and impressive mountain backdrops. Beneath its picture-postcard appearance, the region and its inhabitants preserve a strong sense of tradition and heritage, while equally embracing change and progression. Austrian Leica S photographer Armin Walcher explores this fascinating region in search of the hard-to-pin-down sense of local identity via 30 in-depth encounters with local craftspeople, musicians, and artists. The personal stories are told via images and text in the beautifully compiled book “Zeitlos in Bewegung”, while an interactive website includes compelling videos, offering more insight into the 30 individual stories. Here we feature just a few of these local characters and speak with Armin about the challenges of capturing such an elusive concept as local identity in photographic form.
You used to be a professional athlete before you became a photographer, how did you transition from one career to the next?
It was more or less by accident. During my career as a professional athlete, I wanted to update my website with better photos. So I bought a better camera. I immediately fell in love with the feeling of photography, which I had not been able to imagine before. I really got obsessed and started to do more and more and more…
How did your passion for photography develop? Is there anyone in particular, who influenced or inspired you along the way?
The development went from nature to sports, then to commercial, people and documentary photography. It was a process, I would say. I had to grow as a person to go more into people and documentary photography. I could not imagine that when I started to shoot. It took me some time.
Nature photography is still a learning process for me. I gain new insights each time I shoot, I keep discovering new things and I appreciate it if situations have meaning in an honest way, not in a spectacular one.
I learn a lot from each kind of photography, which keeps my life and my life as a photographer in fascinating movement. I don’t want to stand still. I want to develop. I can’t say who influenced or inspired me in particular, but my dad is a big part of my career in photography. He loves photography and always has honest feedback.