Short profile

Florian W. Müller is a multi-award winning fine art and commercial photographer and creative director who lives in Cologne with his family and works worldwide. “I virtually always have a packed suitcase in the hallway.” In his images, he questions the status quo and searches for new perspectives. In an interview he reveals more about his work.

Portrait of Florian W. Müller.


Can you tell us how you got into photography?

My father developed his own microscope photos (he was a professor of neuropathology and involved in brain research) in our basement. When I was very little, I watched him do it, and when a photo emerged from a white sheet of paper in the developing fluid, something clicked for me. When I was 6, he gave me my first camera (Agfa Rapid with the settings "sun", "clouds", and "flash") and let me take it.

Then followed an old Voigtländer and he taught me the game of aperture, time, and ISO (ASA at that time). But it was still a long way to become a professional photographer. I worked for a long time as a journalist, speaker, and presenter but always took pictures. Also, on assignment and for agencies. After I had organized my own exhibition with two photographer friends and it was a great success, the desire to advance professionally as a photographer grew. Then followed the admission as a BFF-Professional.

Florian W. Müller in front of his work at EQUILIBRIUM, his solo exhibition.

Florian W. Müller in front of his exhibition work, Photo: Jan Ole Schmidt

Please share something about your images. What is your special interest? How do you choose the colors, composition, themes etc.?

It can be very spontaneous, I'm a big fan of the principle of "serendipity", finding something you weren't looking for. For that, you must have your antennas up all the time and learn to see the unusual even in the ordinary. When it comes to images, I am obviously a friend of dark tones and dark images. This, as well as many other things, however, often arises subconsciously. Many of my paintings also bear witness to my soft spot for expressionist artists, above all Lyonel Feininger. Again, this influence in my pictures is often unconsciously directed.

Florian W. Müller presenting and discussing his exhibition work.

Florian W. Müller in front of his exhibition work, Photo: Jan Ole Schmidt

How do you get inspired? And what inspires you the most? This could be films, books or magazines or anything that surrounds you.

First and foremost, what surrounds me. Whereby that is often only the beginning. In Cologne, I saw a concrete church designed by Gottfried Böhm and was fascinated by the interplay of sacred building, colorful church windows, and the concrete structure. This resulted in a series that I photographed after intensive research in Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland.

Movies are also a great inspiration.

animal photography in muted dark colors.

Photo: Florian W. Müller

You are currently presenting the biological diversity of animals and plants in your exhibition "Equilibrium". Where does this interest come from?

My parents raised me to be very nature-loving, my father knew every tree by its first name. When you then look at the interconnectedness of flora and fauna and see what we are doing to biodiversity, namely decimating it on a daily basis, it gives rise to the desire to show what we are doing with this diversity. Moreover, I was wonderfully supported in my work by the Senckenberg Institute, so it was a great pleasure.

Photo: Florian W. Müller

How do you go about choosing the right products for your motifs?

Looking, imagining the finished image, setting the light in my head, and thinking about how it will be composed. Then background research on the individual animals or plants (in the case of "Equilibrium"). This often results in another layer for the final images. Then the consideration of how the images should be presented. WhiteWall is a great sparring partner, because some ways of presentation are not even on your mind.

photo of an insect mimicking a leaf.

Photo: Florian W. Müller

Do you have any other photographic projects planned that you would like to share with us?

The series from "Equilibrium" are far from finished, I continue to work on plants and animals in parallel. Apart from that, there are other ideas beyond these motifs. Mushrooms for example!

Also, I still have many ideas for car photography, which I would like to tackle. There's so much more to come!

black and white close-up of a snake.

Photo: Florian W. Müller

Do you have any advice you would like to give to other photography enthusiasts?

Be open. Go through the world with open eyes. Demand more from the camera than just releasing the shutter. Play with motifs and techniques. Visit exhibitions! Experiment!

What else should we know about you?

I am 49, live in Cologne and work all over the world. Alone, in teams, on big and small projects. I virtually always have a packed suitcase in the hallway. I work as a fine art and commercial photographer (you can actually do that), preferably both in one, often as a creative director.

Together with other creative minds, I like to question the status quo, look for new perspectives and think outside the box. I get excited when clients want to try something that a hundred photographers haven't done yet.

I love what I do.

I like jazz and heavy metal (works too), am married with a young son and if you want to see how a photographer homeschooled with his little boy, check out my project "Homeschooling with a photographer".

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