The Fascination of Actionsports Photography – Interview with Lorenz Holder

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Lorenz Holder

The internationally renowned action sports photographer Lorenz Holder was born in Munich in 1979 and lives with his family in Freising. His pictures invite the viewer to discover. The action sports in the images often only become visible at second glance. Holder's works are always characterized by their very high level of conceptual content, where he strives to break new and creative ground. On one hand, this is partly reflected in the methods he uses for his photography, where he applies unusual techniques such as infrared cameras, but it also comes through the older, large-format professional cameras he uses to translate his ideas into images.

Portrait of Lorenz Holder.

"90 percent of my images are created in my head" – Tips and tricks by Lorenz Holder


Photo: Lorenz Holder - BMX rider Senad Grosic stands in the Spanish apartment complex La Muralla Roja.

You've been working as a photographer for more than 15 years now. What matters to you most when it comes to action sports photography?

For me it is insanely important that I use my pictures to show where athletes do what they do, the beauty that this environment has to offer to a certain extent. I think it's always nice when you get a little extra kick from the athletes and when there is also something to discover in the pictures. That's why the athlete is often a bit smaller for me. For me, action sports and action sports photography in particular is an incredibly creative process where I can completely let loose. And for me, it's simply the arena that offers me the most room to play and where I can let off some steam. That's why action sports photography fascinates me so much.

How do you prepare yourself to create a symbiosis between the environment, architecture, and athletes in your images?

I would say that 90 percent of my photos are created in my head before I even pick up the camera. I then research where to find good angles, where there are some great interesting objects. Essentially, when I get to the location, for me it's mostly just putting the pieces together that have been prepared at home and through research.

What advice would you give someone who has also stumbled upon a great location and is thinking about capturing that special place with a camera?

So, a good tip for anyone who has somehow come across a great location is for them to really absorb it first, to let it sink in. I always say to breathe in the location. And this also lets you gain a very good sense of where the fascinating spots, the fascinating points are in this location. So a good tip is just to take your time, let it sink in, and only get out the camera after that.

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Original Photo Print Under Matte Acrylic Glass

Do you have a favorite lens you use in your shoots?

My favorite focal lengths are actually always relatively long. I like to work with 70 - 200 mm. This is my dream lens. In the La Muralla Roja apartment complex, where my current shoot is taking place, we are a little more limited because everything is a little tighter and more convoluted. We use a wide-angle lens here from time to time to see if we can get some nice perspectives.

You have been a WhiteWall customer for a long time. Why did you choose this photo lab?

The simple reason is because I was incredibly intrigued by the quality of the prints. I'm always a huge fan when I later see my pictures on the wall. When I ultimately stand in front of the finished product that I had envisioned in my head, it's just an unbelievably wonderful feeling.


Photos: Lorenz Holder - BMX rider attracts attention with tricks in apartment complex

Which products at WhiteWall have you chosen recently?

I really have two favorite products at WhiteWall. The first is the Original Photo Print Under Matte Acrylic Glass, the brilliance is just great and there isn't a lot of matte acrylic around. This is an incredibly wonderful medium. And my second favorite product is the Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl paper, which has such a velvety surface, a cool feel and it's just fun to look at the pictures on it.

Spectacular photo locations by Lorenz Holder

Our WhiteWall Ambassador Lorenz Holder finds locations right on his doorstep in Bavaria, but also travels to the most diverse countries for a picture idea. His suspenseful works reveal breathtaking backdrops, such as mountain panoramas or mighty buildings. Here is a selection of his best photographs - get inspired for your next shoot!

Lorenz Holder photographs the BMX rider Senad Grosic in the La Muralla Roja residential complex.
Surfer riding through a water and stone landscape taken from above.
LORENZ HOLDER - Bavarian Playground - 2019 Allgäu, Germany (Athlete: Felix Georgii).

The work "Bavarian Playground" is able to fascinate water sports enthusiasts as well as hikers and mountain lovers. The natural landscape is not located in the Caribbean, but in the Allgäu. At a very specific time of the year, the lake is not completely filled with water, but reveals a fascinating landscape formation. "My athlete Felix Georgii had never seen the location like this before. He was thrilled that we were able to take the shot near his hometown," says Holder. The drone photography shows the wakeboarding action in this surreal landscape, with a beautiful view of the Bavarian Alps in the background.

Skater doing an ollie in a viaduct as a photo in a gallery frame hanging on a wall.
LORENZ HOLDER - Inception Flip - 2019 Viaduct, England (Athlete: Vladik Scholz).

Anyone looking at the work "Inception Flip" might initially think that it is an optical illusion. However, it is actually symmetrical arches of a viaduct constructed for a railroad line in southern England. Lorenz Holder was able to take a unique photo of athlete Vladik Scholz with the right camera perspective: "The location has an amazing architectural structure that inspired me to use it as a surreal backdrop for this skateboard shot."

Product shown: photo in Gallery Frame, on ultraHD print with white border under acrylic glass

Skater doing a trick on a platform on the water shot from bird's eye view.
LORENZ HOLDER - Mystic Flip I - 2015 Lake Cauma, Switzerland (Athlete: Cedric Romanens).

"I took this picture in 2015 at Lake Cauma in Switzerland. I was fascinated by the crystal clear water, where the rocks on the bottom of the lake stood out and formed a stunning blue pattern around the athlete Cedric Romanens. I took the picture with a drone to shoot directly above the skateboarder. However, I had to wait until the shadows were at the perfect angle to show the skateboard trick while also being able to show the clear water."

BMX rider showing a jump trick on a road in a dark forest as a Hahnemühle Fine Art Print in a passe-partout frame.
LORENZ HOLDER - Kings Road - 2018, Stranocum, Northern Ireland (Athlete: Senad Grosic).

In 2018, Lorenz Holder traveled to Northern Ireland to photograph the famous BMX rider Senad Grosic for his series of works "Riding Thrones". Holder staged the action athlete at various filming locations of the cult series "Game of Thrones". This photograph reveals the mysterious landscape of Northern Ireland with its constant weather changes. "When we took the shot, it was still early in the morning and raining," says Holder. "This subject on the famous 'Kingsroad' became a very special image for me."

Product shown: Photo in passe-partout frame, on Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl with silky shimmering surface

Man walking his dog on a snowy street, in the background on a roof a snowboarder landing a trick.
LORENZ HOLDER - Taking the dog for a walk - 2010, Umeå, Sweden (Athlete: Anton Gunnarsson).

In 2010 I was taking a walk in the Swedish town Umeå and came across a car park with an open deck, which inspired me to build a quarterpipe against the chimney and shoot the action from the street view. The guy with his dog walked right into the picture setup while I was waiting for Anton Gunnarson to do the jump. It was an unplanned situation, however I felt the picture became much more interesting in this way.

Discover more product recommendations from Lorenz Holder

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close up of several fine art prints on Hahnemuhle, Epson and Canson paper.
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Standing Acrylic Block Print with Surfer image on it.
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