UG: Hey Sunve!
Sunve: Hey Grave!
UG: First of all a short summary – Please tell our readers who you are and what you do.
Sunve: In a nutshell, I am the photo fairy behind “Sunvemetal”. What does that mean? Since mid 2012 Sunvemetal is working professionally in the photo business specifically in the Metal scene. In other words, I am one of those who stick their camera into your nose, lurk in the shadows between PA and cables trying to catch a concert visually the best way possible. I also do of course other stuff like band shootings, specific project works, tour documentaries, filming, design works. More recently, I try to change everything more towards painting. Be about what is to come.
UG: I googled „Sunve“ and found nothing besides a Chinese drug-company and your pictures. What does your pseudonym mean and how was “Sunvemetal” created?
Sunve: “Sunvemetal” came to being in 2011. At first it was a photographic fusion of Caelumi Photography (today: MTHS VIS), one of my friends, and Lunarjyaworks, that was me. After just nine month my partner left due to lack in time and since then I am the sole owner and operator of Sunvemetal. Back then we worked for the BML (Berlin Metal Legion), an online magazine a friend of ours had established but on a very amateur level. After Sunvemetal becoma my own project I decided to take it to a professional level in the beginning of 2012 and work only as freelancer for other contractors such as magazines. That was the beginning of Sunvemetal like you know it today. „Sunvemetal“ per se is a neologism. It is intended to be a new but recognizable word, that you will only find my work if searching for the name. The abbreviation „Sunve“ came later. People just started to call me that way, so I have chosen it as my official artist name.
UG: You are currently studying psychology or have just finished, right? The question of interest to many is: can you make a living out of your photography and art? I mean do you want that anyway or what are you plans?
Sunve: Make a living with my art? Yes. Make a living with my photography, especially with regards to the Metal scene? No. I once tried if it is possible. My little experiment showed, yes, it is. Plus almost made me quit photography forever. Suddenly, you depend on something monetarily that is supposed to come from your heart. Thus, you are basically forced to take jobs you would never do otherwise. Compulsion kills all noble, freely given devotion. Compulsion kills art. There are already too many soulless pictures flooding the media. Mine shall never be among them. That is another reason why I want to brig everything more towards painting. To add another string to the bow the chance is much higher you will be able to choose between jobs that actually interest and inspire you. If I won't reach that level, well, I don't study (yep, still) for nothing. Having a day job for balance isn't the worst that could happen. But if it does you can apply the same principle like to my photography: only with my own business.
UG: A lot of photographers in the metal scene have a lot of stuff going on besides picturing concerts Interviews, taking pictures of politicians, weddings, nature etc. Is there anything in particular you would never? What do you in contrast to picturing bands and concerts?
Sunve: If you want to make a living with photography or earn a significant additional income, it is necessary to stick your camera into every field of photography. But yeah, I agree, even non commercial amateur photographers take pictures of nearly everything. In my opinion that just shows the immense passion for the subject. Nothing wrong with that. Haha, my contrast to Metal? Well, that would be political congresses, weddings, baby shootings, whatever you can imagine. But hat doesn't have to be far from the Metal scene itself – depends on who your clients are. I haven't discovered things I would never do with regards to photography, yet. In general I would never agree to plain boring or highly monotonous jobs but so far I could get enthusiastic about basically everything related to photography.
UG: Everybody who has seen your pictures might think of them of art rather than only „photos“ and I bet was stunned at least once. When you work on your pictures, where do you personally put the most effort in and how do you get the perfect picture?
Sunve: Thank you. Where I put most effort in depends entirely on the situation. Technically, the poorer the lightning the more work the post production requires. What you say about my work that it is more “art” than photos is correct. When it comes to live photography I don't see myself as a photographer. More as an artist as my live pictures aren't photos in a photo documentary sense. I aim to ban the atmosphere I have sensed at a concert into a picture – whatever editing it takes. Sometimes the lightning doesn't match. Sometimes the cable clutter on stage would totally ruin the picture.
Quite often there is a high level of editing involved. In principle, I create a picture on the basis of what I have witnessed on stage, how I have perceived reality at that moment. How exactly I bring all of this – subject, selection, level of editing – together is hard to explain work flow wise. In principle, music and artists show me each time a different way how to proceed.
UG: Are there pictures that are stuck in your mind and do you want to tell us the stories behind these?
Sunve: It is never photos I remember. Pictures are only the vessel to transport what matters: the atmosphere and energy present at a concert. That's what sticks in my mind, not the pictures. There are so many impressive performances I have witnessed it is hard to decide for one that sticks out. Besides, you can not compare them. But I can give you two examples of live situations that had an significant and lasting influence on me. One was Behemoth at their Full of Hate tour 2012, the other the summer solstice ceremony to the sound of Halo Manash.
The first picture shows Nergal. If you have seen a show of Behemoth since he recovered from leukemia, you know how absolutely impressive it is. The whole show was hard to beat for professionalism and perfection. It was perfectly choreographed and nothing was left to chance. Nonetheless, you would witness an awesomely tuned symbiosis of motion, effectively-placed exclamations and above all an amazing light show. Even if every single word was planned at the Full Of Hate tour, you got the impression Behemoth were playing an unique show for every single one of the audience. The very highlight: Before starting 'Conquer All', everyone got goose bumps when Nergal screamed, sticking out of the back light arms widespread: ”It feels good to be alive. It feels fucking great to be alive!” - his energy literally struck you down and showed how damn serious he was about it.
For the second picture I can't even find the words. I think, it sufficiently transforms what that night was about.
UG: Recently, I overheard that you - similar to bands – struggle with bootleggers. Does that happen very often and what are you doing about it?
Sunve: Yes. Sadly, you are right. Especially, in South America nobody seemed to have ever heard of the word “Copyright”. But that's something every band established there can tell you tons of stories about. From time to time there are also bands that just disrespectfully copy my pictures without permission, although that doesn't happen very often anymore. The word I become a raging berserk must have spread *laughs*. What has really shocked me is that some individuals had stolen my pictures, erased the watermark and re-uploaded them with their own signature. However, after some seconds anger gives way to pity. I mean, how badly do you have to be off mentally if you steal somebody else work calming it to be your own?!
How I deal with it practically is quite simple: less pictures on social media platforms, most only on my website where you cannot copy them because of the integrated flash format. If I post some work on social media then only in small size and with a watermark somewhere in the middle of the picture where it is hard to erase. Nevertheless, I try to make the signature as invisible as possible (not exactly easy when right in the middle). There is nothing more annoying than a watermark that destroys the whole composition of a picture.
UG: And are there any bands which are on your photographic bucket list which you haven't pictured yet?
Sunve: Funeral Mist and Burzum – sometimes it doesn't hurt to dream.
cc Mathias Kreuzer
UG: I think that might get tricky – But if you manage it just tell me so I don't miss it! But let's get real – The competition in the pit is quit high, what's the biggest bummer while taking pictures?
Sunve: The competition is high, is it *laughs*? Sure, there are a lot of photographers in the pit, professionals as well as amateurs but there is something very essential most of them miss completely : Even if you have top-notch technical skills and knowledge, even if your equipment is worth thousands of dollars, you need your own style. Something unmistakably distinctive in your pictures that when people see them they will have no doubt it is your work. The very reason why I do not care about people that try to copy my style. Aside from the fact, that such behavior rather stems from a pitiful lack of creativity, in the end it is an advertisement for my trademark instead of any advantage for those copy cats. For such people you do not need to waste your thoughts or energy. In my opinion, there not many photographers who I consider to be really good at what they do, who enrich the scene with their work. They have managed to develop a distinctive style you recognize instantly and I do not see them as competition, they are no competitors to me. On the contrary, they are colleagues, often friends whose work I highly value and I am happy whenever I see some of their pictures somewhere in print or online - in contrast to all that visual rubbish the media gets continuously flooded with.
UG: Last question is our traditional „what-if“ question. If you had the chance to meet your younger self 10 years ago – Would you give young Sunve any advice?
Sunve: I live my life along the lines of never having to feel the need of looking back and asking myself “what if?”. If you are capable of listening to and following your inner voice there will be nothing you have done you will regret looking back. For me, there is no better version of reality than the one I am living in right now. Hence, no advice.
UG: Well, maybe a selfie then *laughs*. Thank you for your time and see you in the pit!
Sunve: You can bet on it. Thank you for the interview!
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