Five Questions with Frank Rohrig
Current Occupation: Engineer/Photographer
Workshops: Project India, Project South Africa, Project Uganda
Nonprofit Assignment: Aasraa Trust
Instructors: Jeff Hutchens, Chris Anderson, Mary Helen Bobo, Jaime Windon, & Jamie Rose
1. What motivated you to take a workshop?
I became disillusioned with photo workshops. I wanted to attend one where you can actually learn something useful. Momenta’s workshops turned out to be just that, and much more.
2. What surprised you most about the country you visited or the experience of working with a nonprofit?
I was not prepared for the intensity of the work. If you want to cover an NGO well, it takes a lot of hard work and commitment. The other thing that surprised me was the emotional involvement you develop with the subject and the people you photograph. There were times when I would shed a tear, having learned about the personal hardships of the people I photographed.
3. What was the best lesson you took away from your workshop?
Jeff Hutchens on Project South Africa helped me really understand exposure. He was also an eye-opener as regards composition. Jamie showed me how professional projects are run.
4. What was your favorite photograph from this workshop & why?
It’s hard to say. Some photos are visually less strong but carry a strong emotional memory. I chose the photo of a girl in the slum of Dehradun. The light was good and when I saw the colours of the girl’s clothes against the wall, even the teddy has the same colour as the bricks, I thought this was a winner. It also showed exactly what I wanted to capture: The sweetness of a child in the harshness of daily life in a slum.
5. What would you tell a potential student to help them prepare for their experience with Momenta?
Pull your socks up and prepare for a professional photo project.
Frank Rohrig’s Biography:
I am originally from Germany but I currently live in Amsterdam. I worked in a variety of weird and wonderful jobs including civil engineering surveyor, care worker for the elderly, car transfer driver, office clerk and jack-of-all-trades in farming wholesaling, and as an intensive care hospital nurse. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to obtain a degree in Germany. This meant studying in the UK for a year, which is how I met my wife, Shona.
I always liked photos, art and pictures in general. I started with a Ricoh 10e in the late 80s and did my own b&w development, but my life was to change in such a way I lost sight of photography for about 15 years. Since moving from Scotland to the Netherlands in 2000, I have finally re-discovered the mindset for photography.
See Frank’s work: