Ralph Graef is a self-taught photographer and a cell biologist who was born in southern Bavaria, spent most of his life in Munich and currently based in Postam, Germany. “Yet, it was my move to Potsdam that triggered a more intensive involvement with photography, since here I found friends in the local photo club who gave me a great creative environment to spend a huge part of my spare time for my creative talents”, he explaines. Ralph shoots a lot of landscape, urban, travel, architecture and fine art photography. He uses digital cameras and analog medium format cameras with a wide range of lenses ranging from extreme wide-angle to telephoto and plastic lenses, and almost always a tripod. “Yet, to me the type of camera used to take the picture is usually unimportant”, he says. Graef’s favorite photographers are Gregory Crewdson, Nadav Kander, Josef Hoflehner, Andreas Gursky, Wim Wenders and Petr Lovigin.
Photography excites me since my boyhood and I have tried myself in various photographic genres. Meanwhile I found my focus of interest in landscapes, cityscapes, interior architecture and staged scenes. I prefer available light and clearly composed pictures with a discreetly arranged motive. I want to stimulate the imagination of the viewer and to tell a story that emotionally touches him, since sensing emotions is the prerequisite to keep pictures sticking in the viewer’s mind. In this context, image processing should only support the expression of the picture and help to mediate the intended mood to the viewer. I prefer working with a series concept in mind.
Ralph Graef won 1st prize in the ravel category of the Sony World Photography Award and the Germany National Award in 2017.
Within my series “Vacancy” on abandoned buildings I frequently encountered bathrooms. Maybe I’m especially fascinated by these rooms as their design evokes memories of my childhood. I found them inside abandoned manors, hospitals and caserns. Many of them still appear usable although there are always signs that they had their last use a long time ago.