What I'm Working On: Volkswagens and Helium with Lukas Grumet

My name is Lukas Grumet, and I am currently an Austrian-based scientist working on resolving structures of macro molecules. Since the constant juggling with numbers, diagrams, and chemicals can get a little too nerdy sometimes, I'm striving for creative balance. That's where photography comes in. I basically spend most of my free time shooting. Just like many photographers, I played with my parents' photo equipment during my teens but really started getting into it quite a few years later. I think I shot my first set when I started university. Today, shooting has become part moonlighting, part hobby. I tend to only accept jobs that allow me to stay creative, as I am terribly bad at following orders when it comes to capturing a creative process. I am happy for the feedback and attention I receive. It keeps me going and tells me that I am spending my time the right way.

The idea for the Volkswagen series originated when I spent a few months in Brazil, where the old Volkswagen Käfer (ENG: beetle, BRZ: fusca) is still a car of every day use. You see a lot of them driving around just by walking through the streets. I have a weakness for old vehicles, be it cars, planes, motorbikes, or even boats. I guess almost all of my VW beetle and other car shots can be filed under spontaneous street photography as I did not use anything else but my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and my 35mm F1.4. No flashes or reflectors, even though they would have certainly enhanced some of my shots.

The photo of the red beetle won a bunch of awards and was exhibited here and there. I also own a few large prints of it, which look fantastic. I do hope that more DSLR photographers would care about prints, as hard copies not only add value, but also character to the image. I know a lot of (great!) photographers who have never held a print of their own work in their hands. I warmly recommend to everyone not to miss out on this opportunity. Just go for the extra large canvas print. You won't regret it!

The Viagra Shampoo series is among my most favorite ones. The fun started when I had to carry the helium tank through the local tram. The look on the people's faces would have made its own fantastic portrait set, I am sure. I would like to repeat the shooting some day. We all didn't really know how much helium to buy, or how much you have to blow up the balloons so they would actually start lifting the hair. It was a big trial and error, but the shooting resulted in a lot of fun and nice pictures.

I am really happy that the Viagra Shampoo found so many fans in the internet. I had a lot of positive feedback when I posted it on various social photo platforms. This is something I would like to recommend to everyone who is into art: try realizing the craziest idea you have and always follow your passion. From there on, there is not much that can go wrong. Except if you try floating from a roof with 50 helium balloons attached to your dreadlocks.

I also enjoy other fields of photography, such as architecture. I often find myself lost in a sea of photographic possibilities, not knowing which shore I should swim to. A lot of photographers I look up to recommend picking a field of photography and start growing from there. While I partly agree, I am still stuck in the process of searching, and I am not sure if that will ever stop.

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January 2013